Give A Donation, Ask For Naming Rights

Nov 3, 2015

Back in July, Joan Weill, the wife of Citigroup billionaire Sandy Weill, announced that they would donate $20 million to a small, cash-strapped school called Paul Smith's College in New York's Adirondack Mountains with one big string attached: She insisted that the school would have to be renamed in her honor, to be known forever as Joan Weill-Paul Smith's College.

"I got a lot of wonderful letters that were sent to me personally by alums and students and of course members of the faculty and the board, understanding why this was happening," Weill says.

Our Ideas series is exploring how innovation happens in education.

As one of the biggest, most successful tech companies, Google can hire pretty much anyone it wants.

Accordingly, the company tends to favor Ph.D.s from Stanford and MIT. But, it has just partnered with a for-profit company called General Assembly to offer a series of short, noncredit courses for people who want to learn how to build applications for Android, Google's mobile platform. Short, as in just 12 weeks from novice to employable.

Ahmad Chalabi, a prominent Iraqi politician who strongly advocated for the 2003 U.S.-led invasion to overthrow Saddam Hussein, has died of a heart attack, Iraqi state TV reported Tuesday.

The report said he died in Baghdad but did not provide further details on the circumstances of his death. He was in his early 70s.

Religion is apparently weakening in America. A new report from the Pew Research Center shows that the percentage of Americans who say they believe in God, pray daily and attend church regularly is declining.

Among the findings:

  • The share of Americans who say they are "absolutely certain" that God exists has dropped 8 percentage points, from 71 percent to 63 percent, since 2007, when the last comparable study was made.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Monday that it has discovered more Volkswagen cars containing software that helped them cheat emissions tests. The most recently discovered batch of 10,000 vehicles that the EPA says are equipped with "defeat device" technology are 3-liter diesel engine cars, including several Volkswagen, Audi and Porsche 2014 to 2016 model years.

NPR's John Ydstie reports for the Newscast unit:

Lots of you have told us that the dinner scramble is tough.

As a culture, we aspire to sit-down, home-cooked meals. But we often don't have the time or energy to pull them off.

After a Sunday night meeting, in which the Republican campaigns largely agreed on a framework to negotiate as a group with TV networks for upcoming debates, the Trump campaign has decided it will negotiate independently.

"Just like the CNBC debate, we will negotiate with the media," Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski told NPR. "We're going to make sure we're going to work with the networks to make sure the candidate's interest is at the forefront to negotiate the best deal."

If you travel for work — and you're tired of living out of a suitcase, renting rooms and sharing bathrooms with grungy roommates — there's a man in Austin, Texas, who has a possible solution. Call it a long shot. But basically, he's building tiny self-contained apartments that move when you do.

Jeff Wilson gives me a tour of the first prototype. He's the mastermind behind the Kasita ("little home" in Spanish — only with a "k" instead of a "c").

Pocatello, Idaho, and Laramie, Wyo., might not be the first places you think of leading the charge to protect the LGBT community from discrimination. But in these rural, Republican-led states, local governments are taking the matter into their own hands.

Twenty-year-old college student CylieAnn Erickson was in the room when the city council in Laramie passed its LGBT anti-discrimination bill earlier this year. She says that when the final vote was counted, she breathed a sigh of relief.

From El Salvador to Lebanon to Nepal, NPR has been exploring the lives of 15-year-old girls around the world. But what's it like to be 15 in the U.S.? To find out, NPR's Michel Martin spoke with three sophomore girls at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, Md.

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Tom Gannam, Associated Press

   Keon Broxton and Eric Thames homered to lift the Milwaukee Brewers to a 6-4 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals Thursday night. Broxton drilled the first pitch he saw 489 feet into the left field seats to tie the game 2-2 in the second. It is the longest home run in Busch Stadium three's history and the second-longest this season in the major leagues.