I am watching the documentary "Free to Choose, Part 6: What's Wrong With Our Schools" at this link

At 20:08, Friedman says:

Many of the buildings and facilities at Dartmouth have been donated by private individuals and foundations. Like other private universities, Dartmouth has combined the selling of monuments with the provision of education and the one activity reinforces the other.

The transcript seems to confirm that this is what he said.

Since I am in Europe and I don't have any experience with US education, what is the "selling of monuments"? Is Dartmouth College really selling monuments like bronze statues? How does it make a profit doing that?

  • 3
    I suppose this refers to naming a library, a gym, a stadium, a dormitory or any other campus building after a donor.
    – henning
    Dec 31 '18 at 18:30
  • 1
    It's an interpretation of the fact in the first sentence. Buildings = monuments (poetically). Dec 31 '18 at 19:13
  • 1
    This was invented in Europe long before the US even existed. For example, the famous Lucasian Chair of Mathematics, held by Isaac Newton and others, came about because Henry Lucas left money in 1663.
    – user71659
    Jan 2 '19 at 1:27

Many private schools and other private institutions ask donors for money. Often what they offer in return is naming rights to a classroom or a lecture series. The big items are football stadiums and such.

When I was a kid and our church wanted to build a new school they offered naming rights to things, such as classrooms. The donor would get a plaque. One local library "sells" bricks with brass plaques that are arrayed around the entrance to the building.

Of course, this is in addition to the major donors who put up an entire building or fund a professorial chair.

Usually the "monument" isn't a big thing taking up space, just a visual recognition of a donation. Nor is it usually a donation big enough to actually fund the thing in question. It adds a bit of revenue at little cost. It gives "bragging rights" to donors.

Some publicly funded institutions do the same thing, of course.

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