homespun threadbare suit, stepped off the train in Boston and walk
timidly without an appointment into the Harvard University President’s
outer office.The secretary could tell in a moment that such backwoods,
country Hicks had no business at Harvard and probably didn’t even
deserve to be in Cambridge.
“We’ll wait,” the lady replied”.
For hours the secretary ignored them, hoping that the couple
would Finally become discouraged and go away. They didn’t…. and the
secretary grew frustrated and finally decided to disturb the president, even though it was a chore she always regretted.
“Maybe if you see them for a few minutes, they’ll leave,” she
said to him.
He sighed in exasperation and nodded. Someone of his importance
obviously didn’t have the time to spend with them, but he detested
gingham dresses and homespun suits cluttering up his outer office.
The president,stern faced and with dignity, strutted toward the
The lady told him, “We had a son who attended Harvard for one
year.He loved Harvard. He was happy here. But about a year ago, he was accidentally killed .My husband and I would like to erect a memorial to him, somewhere on campus ”
The president wasn’t touched…. He was shocked.
“Madam,” he said, gruffly, “we can’t put up a statue for every
person who attended Harvard and died. If we did, this place would look like a cemetery.”
“Oh, no,” the lady explained quickly. “We don’t want to erect a
statue. We thought we would like to give a building to Harvard.”
The president rolled his eyes. He glanced at the gingham dress
and Homespun suit, and then exclaimed, “A building! Do you have any
earthly idea how much a building costs? We have over seven and a half million dollars in the physical buildings here at Harvard.”
For a moment the lady was silent.
The president was pleased. Maybe he could get rid of them now.
The lady turned to her husband and said quietly, “Is that all it
costs to start a university? Why don’t we just start our own?”
Her husband nodded.
The president’s face wilted in confusion and bewilderment.