November 11, 2005

A Perfect Ten

This year, the U of C did not rank in the top ten in the U.S. News and World Report list of national universities. In addition, whenever another publication (such as the Princeton Review) mentions the Top Party Schools, we are nowhere near the list.

Two alumni, Paul Grana and Pat Richards, sought to change both of those rankings when they held the “10 for 10” party in their Ukrainian Village apartment last weekend. Since alumni giving is tied to universities’ rankings in U.S. News, they aimed to get the U of C back into the top 10 by asking each guest to donate $10 toward the cause.

Richards and Grana themselves put much more than $10 toward the party. Figuring that altruism would go much better with alcohol, the hosts stocked their bar full of everything from Skyy vodka to amaretto to Jell-O shots. But the chance to catch up with old friends proved even more alluring than the promise of intoxication.

According to the Office of Annual Giving, older alumni classes from the University are smaller than our peer institutions—meaning the U of C is already at a disadvantage, statistically (and U.S. News is all about statistics). But by getting their class into the spirit of giving, Grana and Richards are trying to close the gap between the University and its peer institutions. And by encouraging their friends to give to their alma mater—without, it should be noted, any initial push from the University—these grads are showing that living “the life of the mind” has not gone unappreciated.

A similar party has already been planned for the Class of 2003 in New York. The Maroon would love to see other classes get into the act—because a great idea like the “10 for 10” party proves that the U of C has qualities that U.S. News and World Report will never rank.