Seeing the presentation of your gift today at the University of
Pennsylvania's Van Pelt Library was exhilarating. YOU are wise.
Thank you for a splendid step forward. Congratulations.
The POINT of your brilliance is that you are adding on to the capacity
of a great EXISTING EXISTING EXISTING institution that is bringing
leaders into the world who hopefully will treasure and preserve our
systems of government. And you have selected a world class top 10
school of the world. Nothing could be finer.
America's libraries, museums, historical societies MUST merge in
recognition of the dwindling resources that are coming. The rest of
the world has every right to demand a greater share for their hard
work and burning desire to succeed and build reminiscent of Americans
in the 19th century but not now. We have become a nation of money
spinners and investors. YUK!
Starting new institutions is obscene and egotistical and should be
strongly discouraged. YOU, Jay have elegantly avoided that Siren call
of towering egotistical psychosis. And you have my great admiration
for that. Thank you Jay Kislak.
You have NOT built a stand alone monument to your skills making or
inheriting money which is what Tom Touchton has just done in Tampa or
Alice Walton has done in Arkansas or what Dan Terra foolishly did in
Chicago or what Armand Hammer did in Los Angeles. It is what Albert
Small has done at UVA and Harold Osher at the University of South
Maine and Bernard Osher has done at over 100 Universities with great
success. What Touchton and Walton and Terra and Hammer have done will
not reach the people that are most important today - our college
students at our top schools. New stand alone museums and libraries
will be lucky to get one visit per person. A venue like the Van Pelt
Library will get considerable multiple visits from students that can
be pulled in with great teachers (YES, it is pulling a sting to get
them to buy in but the rewards are great) ALLURING signage, friendly
curators, consistent exhibitions, significant and steady publications,
lectures and events AND elegant, compelling women and men in charge
that are role models.
Put simply our 3600 4 year colleges and universities are the towering
achievement of the people of the United States and it deserves the
main part of our resources and attention.
You have selected the best possible location on the planet for your
munificence. The University of Pennsylvania is lucky to have you for
a son. Your example is the definition of a "well" man in our society
And, yes, THIS is the message that they should be giving about your
gift. Mostly what was said last night was pandering, insipid and
missed the point. It was unfortunate. Your leadership role and
humility should be the template that Penn uses going forward to
celebrate what you have just done.
Your faithful admirer,