Gates Criticized for Securing $15 Million Gift from Wealthy Alumnus - Higher Education: Colleges and universities across the nation have long held a tradition of naming their buildings, centers and professorships after wealthy donors.
But when Harvard University announced last week that Dr. Henry Louis Gates Jr. had secured a $15 million gift from alumnus Glenn H. Hutchins to build a research center for African and African American Studies, the news was hardly met with unanimous enthusiasm in some quarters of Black studies.
While Gates—who is frequently referred to by his nickname “Skip”—hailed the creation of the Hutchins Center as “one of the greatest days in the history of African American Studies at Harvard or anywhere in the academy,” others were downright dismissive.
“I refer to Skip Gates as the Booker T. Washington of Black studies,” said Dr. Raymond A. Winbush, who directs the Institute for Urban Research at Morgan State University. “He commands most of his respect from White benefactors.”
Dubbed as one of the nation’s most recognized Black scholars, Gates has done what so many others have been unable to do: aggressively court wealthy donors like Hutchins and convince them to give generously to his growing academic empire, enabling him to operate at Harvard with an unparalleled degree of self-sufficiency.