And one thing it can't buy you is a Yale degree, as is clear from a story
in this morning's New York Times, first reported in Friday's Yale
Kudos to Richard Levin, a distinguished economist and for a decade and a
half (now an almost unheard of tenure as an educational CEO) president of
Yale University, for having bucked the trend in which American educational
institutions -- and the Louvre! -- lease out their names and reputations to
oil-rich polities in the Middle East. This match was supposed to be
between Yale and Abu Dhabi, one of the mini-states in the Gulf that has an
insanely wealthy minority indigenous population but whose brains and
muscles are those of woefully underpaid foreign workers.
Actually, it was almost becoming a joke. So many American universities
setting up shop in so many foreign societies.
Now, Yale has had an educational presence in China since the 1830s, save
for the three tempestuous decades from 1951 to 1980. Motivated at first by
Christian missionary impulses, Yale ultimately ran a medical school in
China as well as other academic ventures to which it had no hesitation in
attaching its imprimatur, precisely because it was much more than its
imprimatur that legitimated the activities carried out in its name.
Linda K. Lorimer, secretary and vice president of the university, very
respectfully explained why Yale could not confer a Yale degree out of
programs "that would be value-added for cultural development. But, in the
end, they wanted degrees. And ay this point in time, we just don't think
we could mount a faculty of the same quality we have here, or attract
students of the same caliber."
Which is a polite understatement. It takes a culture to make Yale and a
history, a specific culture and a specific history. Dare I say a
Protestant culture and history?