From the turncoats to the east:

Two graduates of Amherst College have pledged separate gifts of $100 million and $25 million to their alma mater, it was announced Tuesday. The two gifts are the largest in the history of Amherst College, and the $100 million pledge is believed to be the largest unrestricted cash gift ever to a liberal arts college.

1) Frank Uible ’57 writes, “hwc: Do these two gifts save Amherst’s financial bacon?” Excellent question! One issue is determining whether or not these gifts were already factored in to Amherst’s $425 million comprehensive campaign, which started last year. If they were — if, that is, Amherst already knew about these gifts, was, indeed, counting on them to make the $425 million target, then they don’t really tell us much. If Williams can raise over $500 million in its recent campaign, then getting “just” $425 million is not overly impressive, especially if you are committed to increasing the size of the student body with lower income students. But, if these gifts came out of nowhere, then they represent a huge win for Amherst.

2) Williams collected no (?) large donations as a part of its recent capital campaign, even though the official targets sought multiple gifts over $25 million. Why wasn’t Williams able to snag any very large donations?

3) From a purely economic point of view, perhaps the worst aspect of Morty’s departure was his failure to seal the deal on a $100 million gift from any of the richest alumni whom he had spent the previous decade building relationships with. Greg Avis, Jon Kraft and others — judging from their public comments about Morty — were all huge fans. But Morty can’t ask them for money anymore, unless it is for Northwestern. We will never know how much money Morty cost Williams by leaving, just so he could become cheerleader-in-chief at a Division 1 school.

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