All well-provisioned universities need access to an Emergency Title Reserve, a list of names they can immediately slap on a professor with a named chair when the original name on the professor’s chair suddenly becomes… well…

Take Mary Waters, the socially conscious Zukerman Professor of Sociology at Harvard until it turned out Zukerman had stolen around fifty million dollars from the United States government. When it looked likely Zukerman would go to prison (that is in fact his current primary residence), Harvard was able to scrounge around in its ETR and come up with the name of some schmuck willing to sit there until he or she was needed (Theirs not to reason why/Theirs but to do or die).

Zukerman stole from the poor to give to the rich, as did the fascinating Esformes family, long one of the filthiest nursing home operators in Chicago, but now, in the person of Philip Esformes, “charged … in what has been touted as the nation’s biggest Medicare fraud case.” These named chair donors don’t think small – if you’re going to steal from America’s struggling taxpayer, steal tens – hundreds? – of millions! Then spread it around among the deserving rich so you can get your name emblazoned in some hoitsy-toitsy joint like Harvard, the University of Chicago…

Nothing says whitewashing like a university chair. If Bernie hadn’t suffered a reversal, hands down there’d have been a Madoff chair at Yeshiva University.

So Nir Uriel, once touted as the Esformes Chair in Medicine at Chicago, has been re-named the Block Professor.

UD of course has nothing against universities scrambling to dump crooks and replace them with saints. She has only two comments to make about this.

1. Better make sure the second-in-command is pure as the driven snow. It would be positively Rube Goldberg to have to keep giving their professors new names.

2. Instead of just quietly doing it, UD thinks universities should announce the change. Disclosure matters, and there’s a way of writing this sort of news release that makes it honest and unembarrassing.

For many years the University of Chicago has been pleased to be the recipient of financial generosity from the Esformes family, which endowed a professorship in our medical school. We have, however, now removed the Esformes name from that chair, because members of the family have been accused of Medicare fraud.

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2 Responses to “ETR”

  1. Anon Says:

    Wait, so Rick Scott no longer holds the medicare fraud title? End of an era!

  2. Margaret Soltan Says:

    Competition is fierce.

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