Blatter, sitting in an upright position, opens the envelope. What dexterity. It’s Blatter again, walking into a meeting, left foot first, then the right, knotting his necktie as he goes. A cool customer, this Blatter. Now sipping his drink, now negotiating with Horst Dassler of Adidas, back and forth and …


This is what a valedictory for a long-serving, high-ranking academic administrator at the University of Louisville looks like.

Andrew Wolfson, The Courier-Journal:

Under her watch, …university employees have stole[n], misspent or mishandled at least $7.6 million in schemes at the health science campus, the law school, the business school and the athletic department’s ticket office.

[Provost Shirley] Willihnganz also was criticized for approving about $1 million in buyouts for former high-ranking employees, some of which included agreements not to disparage the university or its leaders.

She also was forced to apologize to faculty in 2008 for failing to act against [Robert] Felner, the education dean, despite more than 30 grievances and complaints that he had intimidated, harassed, humiliated and retaliated against faculty, staff, students and alumni.

Willihnganz said at the time that she tended to dismiss the early complaints against Felner — including a no-confidence vote by faculty — because he was a “high performer” and because the complaints came from professors and staff “entrenched in their ways and resistant to change.”

She later told faculty at a meeting that she was sorry. “Mostly what I think I want to say is people have been hurt and something very bad happened, and as provost I feel like I am ultimately responsible for that,” she said.

Felner was sentenced in 2010 to 63 months in federal prison for taking $2.3 million from U of L and the University of Rhode Island.

Ave atque vale!

Song of Bernadette

That thou shouldst attend no class
Yet score naught but A’s!

Sometimes, when you’re president, you’ve got to lie. Strongly.

“I want to let every parent know, every parent know, that this probation will not affect the university, it will not affect our academic offerings and it will not affect the value of the degree,” said [South Carolina State University] President Thomas Elzey.

Like the martyred monks of old who fled into the forests with their manuscripts…

… when barbarians attacked, America’s own university Don is fast-becoming martyr to the protection and dissemination of knowledge: He must now fight on two fronts.

Robert Bellah (1927-2013) and Happiness.

A former student of his asks a question.

I was lucky enough to be at a dinner for [Bellah] after a talk he gave at Yale, and a former student of his asked him about his experience of graduate school. “I really enjoyed it,” he said. What about being a junior professor? “I enjoyed that too!” he said, smiling. The former student asked him, “Was there ever a period of life you didn’t enjoy?” He smiled and paused thoughtfully. “Well, my wife died recently, and that was simply a fact I had to endure. But, basically, I enjoy life.”

I wanna be like these long-lived Episcopalian guys – like Bellah, and like Richard Wilbur, who’s 92 and still at it.

“I feel that the universe is full of glorious energy,” [Wilbur] explained in an interview with Peter Stitt in the Paris Review, “that the energy tends to take pattern and shape, and that the ultimate character of things is comely and good. I am perfectly aware that I say this in the teeth of all sorts of contrary evidence, and that I must be basing it partly on temperament and partly on faith, but that’s my attitude.”

You don’t have to be Episcopalian.

Then he ended with a question to the Dalai Lama: “Your Holiness, can you tell us what was the happiest moment of your life? “ A silence full of expectation fell in the room, composed of a dozen scientists, some Buddhist scholars and meditators, and a hundred guests. The Dalai Lama paused for a while, looked up in space, as if seeking an answer deep within himself, then suddenly, he leaned forward and said to the Japanese scholar in a resounding voice, “I think …. Now !”

Maybe you don’t even have to be religious.

Beethoven said a thing as rash and noble as the best of his work. By my memory, he said: ‘He who understands my music can never know unhappiness again.’

‘John Simon, the University’s executive vice president and provost, also spoke at today’s meeting. Simon said he was undergoing a “professional grieving process” for Sullivan…’

Professional grieving process is a new one on UD, but you can’t deny the beauty and pathos of the phrase. I wonder if it’s in the latest DSM…

If you are still processing professional grief two months after someone’s been fired, consult your mental health professional…

I can understand NYU turning him down.

You don’t want to make a practice of inviting financial criminals among your graduates to give commencement speeches on their way to jail.

For some schools – Wharton comes to mind – this would guarantee nothing but criminals for graduation speakers into the foreseeable future.

New York University, grasping the problem, said no to its own Charles Wilk, just convicted of “conspiracy to defraud the government and aiding in the filing of a false tax return.”

Or rather NYU said no to Wilk’s judge, who made the speech part of his sentence.

Wilk’s comrade in crime, Jeffrey Greenstein, did indeed address his alma mater, the University of Washington, on the joys and sorrows of massive tax evasion schemes.

Proud Mary…

… keep on earnin’!

With the latest resignation — they keep going up the food chain at North Carolina State; today it’s the chancellor — in the Mary Easley scandal, UD finds herself modifying her position vis-a-vis Mary, who, despite non-stop begging and bullying from a bunch of guys at NCSU desperate to get her out of her politically rigged, massively overpaid, totally corrupt job on campus, has refused to leave.  (Today we also discover, via just-released emails, that her husband — at the time the governor — got the job for her.)

UD now thinks Mary should stay.  Whenever a bunch of guys beat up on a woman it pisses me off.  Screw them.  They did all they could to get the little lady a big money do nothing gig at Patronage Acres and now they’re losing their jobs because they wrote emails to each other about what they were doing.  Mary did everything right according to the Corrupt Southern University System Handbook.  She kept her head down.  She didn’t write any emails.

She gets to stay.


Update: Mary just got canned.
Tragedy of Shakespearean proportions.
Floor strewn with dead bodies, up to and
including Gertrude.


The University of Idaho is paying a Minnesota consultant who spends less than two weeks a month on the Moscow campus $112,500 to serve as its “chief inspiration officer,” according to public records.

This one takes UD‘s breath away. Read the whole thing.

The only precedent she can find is from her favorite university, Southern Illinois Carbondale. Remember?


Update: Chronicle of Wasted Time. And Money. DO NOT READ if you are currently on any form of depression medication.


Update: Google Image, Chief Inspiration Officer.



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