A Nominal Mystery at Drexel Law

Drexel University Law will no longer bear the name of donor Earle I. Mack ('59), who donated $15 million 2 years after the school graduated its first class. Made available in full-text glory here by an anonymous Drexel Law alum and blogger, the e-mail the school sent out regarding the decision was congenial to a fault and leaves many remaining questions.

Why, for example, didn't Mack "simply liquidate some of his portfolio, or place it in the instrument funding the naming rights," the blogger wonders. "He must have actively wanted his name off the school." Perhaps he didn't want his name on a program that is beginning to manifest some foreboding signs of illness: below average first-time bar exam passage among other area law schools; the lowest employment score of any law school in the state other than Widener; a significant slip in U.S. News and World Report's national rankings; decreasing enrollment rate, etc.

If you prefer, suppose Mack doesn't keep track of these numbers. Maybe the school alienated their donor through neglect. As the above-mentioned blogger notes, Drexel Law has no dedicated development staff. According to the blogger, if schools don't properly massage donors like Mack, they

will feel no reason to continue funding a gift, or to ever give again, or to suggest their past beneficiary to their rich friends... [I]t really looks as though someone at Drexel Law dropped the ball in this particular relationship, and that is a huge blunder.

Another question is whether or not Mack intends to put his name on some other school instead of Drexel. If so, which? Beyond his involvement with Drexel, Mack doesn't have much business with Philadelphia or Pennsylvania in general. If he's still interested in getting his name plastered elsewhere, it will probably be in New York; he's much more thoroughly connected there.