Cornell Alumnus Is Behind $350 Million Gift to Build Science School in City

Chuck Feeney has been a major donor to the Irish university system; the NYT reports on his latest gift in the US in this article.

16 thoughts on “Cornell Alumnus Is Behind $350 Million Gift to Build Science School in City”

  1. From the article

    Cornell officials revealed in 2007 that he had given some $600 million to the university over the years, yet nothing on its Ithaca campus — where he graduated from the School of Hotel Management in 1956 — bears Mr. Feeney’s name.

    The $350 million gift, the largest in the university’s history, was announced on Friday, but the donor was not named. Officials at Atlantic Philanthropies confirmed on Monday evening that it was Mr. Feeney, a native of Elizabeth, N.J., who is known for his frugality — he flies coach, owns neither a home nor a car, and wears a $15 watch — as well as his philanthropic generosity, particularly to medical research

    A truly awesome human being

  2. @ Ernie Ball

    Let’s not be mean-spirited. Chuck Feeney is great.

    What’s missing is an analysis of “distortionary effects of tax” versus the “distortionary effects of philanthropy”. Slap them both into google.

  3. @Ernie I’ve never met the man, dont know anyone who has, dont work in the areas he gives so generously to, but I think he’s awesome… first to make the money, then to give it away and best of all to do it the way he wants… I wouldnt regard flying economy or wearing a cheap watch as eccentric but I like to think thats the engineer in me.

    Anyways I hope Mr Feeney enjoys many more happy years doing things his way.

  4. Ah, Enrie, you are being a tad mean-spirited allright. I know ‘twould be great if effective competition were applied, taxation systems were enforced and governments didn’t grant exclusive concessions so that one man couldn’t make an excessive fortune of this nature, but it can’t be all bad if he decides to give almost all of it away – even if some of the beneficiaries are a bit quirky.

    For example, his money supports the ‘progressive-left’ TASC Network. Surely you don’t have a problem wth that? And he provided a nice bundle for a bunch of luvvies, PR and consultant types and pol sci dons to run this ‘We the Citizens’ initiative. It was supposed to transform politics in Ireland by demonstrating the benefits of participatory democracy and a Citizen’s Assembly. It earned the leading protagonist a Senate seat on the Taoiseach’s XI. Not a bad return on his money, eh?

  5. Sorry, I still don’t see what’s awesome about him and I also don’t see what’s “mean spirited” about asking the question.

    His chief virtue seems to be: he’s both rich and unselfish. That isn’t enough to inspire my awe. Unselfishness, admirable though it is, is common enough. Indeed, only a bunch of neoliberal economists, who think selfishness and acquisitiveness are the core human motivators, are in awe of such behaviour.

  6. We all have a choice where to spend money, in general helping others lifts our spirits.

    Chuck Feeney worked hard to get his monies – they are his – as for the greedy savage posting above: you want the State to do your robbing for you, but dress it up as a wealth tax.

    Wrt Mr Feeney’s Irish donations: they’ve been targetted and subtle, often intending to cure deficiency in society – and he has spent his money a lot smarter than FF would have.

  7. @Ernie

    You read like the fella you currently have on your blog page.

    Any man that creates the amount of wealth Chuck Feeney has made is doing something right and deserves to be applauded, unlike a lot of the knockers here and in the Irish media. The fact that Mr Feeney has and continues to donate the majority of the wealth amassed to Academic Institutions with the possibility of encouraging more wealth creation by educating people is truly remarkable by any standards. University of Limerick has benefited very significantly from his generosity since inception.

  8. When I see the bits by “Ernie Ball” I think of the phrase “give a man enough rope and he’ll hang himself”.

  9. What the story with the moderation on this site? It’s completely inconsistent. Crackpots and tin heads get free rein, but when someone challenges them the “moderator” intervenes. This site is quickly turning into politics.ie effort. Good luck with your efforts.

  10. There is absolutely no doubt that Chick Feeney has been an invaluable friend to Ireland and in particular but not only to the education sector.

    I can vouch for the fact that he was (and probably still a hard worker). Arriving in Ireland from the US at approx 7.00 am, his usual routine was to immediately commence his working day.

    He had an unusual method in addressing financial issues. He tended to start from the detail, and concentrate of fixing the detail, then work up from there. The practice for many people is to start at the top level and work down.
    Like all business people he didn’t like losing money.
    This country needs the support of people like Chuck Feeney now more than ever. Like most of us he must be appalled at the mess that Ireland has made of itself.

  11. Feeney has had a particularly close relationship with UL. Ed Walsh’s book Upstart details the burgeoning relationship between UL and Cornell under Feeney’s guidance, especially pages 286-288.

  12. Ah, folks. Go easy on Ernie. It’s very difficult being on the left and having to deal with the crooked timber of humankind when, as we all know, everyone on the left doesn’t have a single selfish bone in their bodies.

  13. @ Erne
    ‘He didn’t “create” any wealth. He expropriated it. And we’re supposed to be grateful that he spreads a fraction of it around?’

    Chuck Feeney has committed to giving away all of his wealth during his lifetime – which he estimates will end in 2020. Your argument is bordering on the capitalism v socialism argument.

    http://www.atlanticphilanthropies.org/about-atlantic

    @ Des
    ‘Wrt Mr Feeney’s Irish donations: they’ve been targetted and subtle, often intending to cure deficiency in society – and he has spent his money a lot smarter than FF would have.’

    +1. It is only in recent years that CF allowed his name to be mentioned / publicised by beneficiaries because he hopes it will encourage other billionaires to give away their wealth.

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