Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Letter recently received from Shimer

Hello.... is there anybody out there? I received the following e-mail from Shimer College today:
June 7, 2016 Dear Laura, As you have heard, Shimer now faces a great opportunity: to move from unsustainability to sustainability through an affiliation with North Central College in Naperville. The Boards of Shimer and North Central have endorsed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that would lead to Shimer becoming the Shimer Great Books School of North Central College, parallel to other schools at NCC. The Shimer Board is enthusiastic, and the Faculty and Assembly have been strongly supportive. We (Chris and Rebecca) also personally believe that this prospective arrangement for Shimer is a wonderful opportunity to maintain the Shimer program, which has contributed so much to all of our lives. But to make this deal work, Shimer will need to raise substantial amounts of money over the next year, since it is an explicit requirement of the MOU that we remain financially viable on our own until March 2017. As you know, we have a detailed development plan. If you write to Isabella Winkler at i.winkler[@redacted], she will send you a copy via email. Shimer needs to raise $900,000, which will involve at least doubling our gifs [sic] from alumni, both in the general alumni appeal and in major donations of $5000 or more fr om alums. In the past, many alums have contributed loyally to Shimer but have not made it a top charitable priority - quite naturally, since our sustainability was always in question and no one wants to throw money away. Now, however, we have a chance to give in this 'window of opportunity,' confident that our gifts will help Shimer become sustainable over the long term. Several of us on the board have already decided to vastly increase our giving to Shimer. Those of us who are soliciting funds feel that we can only ask others to "stretch" if we do so ourselves. Please consider whether you could give an order of magnitude more than in the past-- $10,000 instead of $1000, $5000 instead of $500. If not, please at least consider doubling or tripling your previous gifts. Shimer has been such an integral part of our lives. It has taught us more than just critical thinking; Shimer has encouraged us to be curious in our every endeavor. Shimer has taught us that being different is not only acceptable, but actually desirable. And most importantly, Shimer has shown us through the examples of its amazing faculty how to be strong and persevere with grace and dignity. It is our most fervent hope to keep these same learning and growth opportunities alive for future generations, and that is why we are working now to keep the fires burning for Shimer at North Central. Won't you please join us? Sincerely yours, Chris Vaughan and Rebecca Sundin
I'n not on Facebook, so I have questions. 1. My impression was that Shimer would actually be absorbed in whole by NCC. Am I to understand that "affiliation" differs from "absorption"? 2. I'm a little put out by the "no-one wants to throw money away" comment. I am not currently giving to Shimer because I am yet recovering from three years of unemployment due to long illness. I'm getting back, but currently saving to buy a bottle of ketchup (we'll pretend that I am being ironic so I don't have to weep); 3. I don't know that there was any avenue for reply, other than giving or descending upon Ms. Winkler-- or giving. If I am to be consigned to naked eggs for the next few months, I would very much like to know to what, precisely, I am giving. Is there a web page outlining this somewhere?