Philanthropy as a force in placing memory

Colleges and universities depend heavily on philanthropy for funding for buildings as well as programming. While the institutions are grateful for this support, it does generate lasting effects on the everyday experience of every member of a college or university community, as these names become embedded in the everyday life for all of us. In so doing, their economic power becomes also about the power to place memory. Several of the building on campus are honorific, but many of them are named for donors. The commemorative landscape at Southwestern resonates with a few names of donors that seem to be present everywhere on campus: Cullen, Brown, Prothro, McCombs Lord, Garey, Olin. But who are these people, how did places come to be named after them here, and what are the implications?

After Herman Brown’s passing, George R. Brown decided to continue to express his brother’s interest in Southwestern through the Brown Foundation’s Matching Gift proposal. In September of 1963, in a special meeting with students in the Fine Arts Building, President Fleming reported that…
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