The main rational for using College funds on local good works like Mount Greylock Regional High School is that it helps in the recruitment and retention of excellent faculty. Since everyone agrees that Williams needs good faculty, the argument goes, everyone should agree that these gifts are a good thing. See here for Morty Schapiro’s version of that argument and here for Ralph Bradburd’s.

Again, this is not unreasonable. Certainly everyone would prefer that Mount Greylock High School be better rather than worse. My concern is about the size of the gift relative to the size of the benefits to Williams.

Can anyone point me to a specific faculty member whose decision about whether or not to come to, or stay at, Williams was determined by the quality (or lack thereof) of the local high school? I doubt it.

Consider some of the professors (Cook, Jacobsohn, Fleischacker, Muirhead and Garsten come immediately to mind) that have left Williams. Does anyone argue that had Mount Greylock High School been better (10% better, 50% better, whatever), they would have stayed? I don’t think so.

Consider William’s recent recruitment efforts. Morty reported in the Alumni Review (sorry, can’t find the link) that the College was getting, essentially, all its top choices in recent faculty hiring. Given the oversupply of faculty applicants, I certainly believe that Williams does this well.

But if it has done so well (over the last few years), why does Williams need to start giving money to Mount Greylock High School (and other local works) now?

If giving millions of dollars to local charities is neither sufficient for faculty retention nor necessary for faculty recruitment, then what is the point?

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