Penn State Scandal Fallout Could Extend To Donors

Monday, July 30, 2012

One major Penn State donor says he might write the university out of his will, while others say neither the Jerry Sandusky child molestation scandal nor recent unpopular actions by the university's leadership are making them rethink their financial support for the school.

But how those issues resonate with alumni and other financial supporters -- groups whose philanthropy has sparked a building boom on campus in recent years -- could have repercussions for decades to come.

The university says it's too soon to gauge the effect on fundraising of the recent decisions to tear down Joe Paterno's statue and acquiesce to severe NCAA penalties, but there are signs of discontent.

"I happen to believe that giving money to this particular board of trustees and this particular president is flushing it down the toilet," said Chicago venture capitalist George Middlemas, a $10 million-plus donor and Joe Paterno loyalist since they met in the 1960s. "The university says, `Well, our contributions are up.' That's because people are fulfilling their pledges, but they're not going to offer any new pledges, as far as I can tell."

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