Why Dartmouth Should Give Me $3 Million

One alum’s humble ask

Dartmouth’s current endowment stands at $8.5 billion. Meanwhile, my endowment is roughly 0.00005% of that—and rapidly shrinking. It’s possible this is a big ask, but I think the College should give me $3 million. Here’s why.

The first reason, which I think is both compelling and cogent, is that it’d be cool to have that much money. Put another way, I would like that much cash in my bank account, and I would like to be able to tell friends and detractors that I am a multimillionaire. So that’s part of the reason, right off the bat.

Another reason is so I can donate to the charitable cause of making my life way more fun and entertaining. I’d probably buy a Nintendo Switch, because I haven’t played the new Zelda. And then maybe a couple Xbox Series Xs. One time I rode a pontoon down in Pensacola Florida and that was a blast, listening to country music and everything. So, sure, I’d get a pontoon. And after that and the game consoles, there’d probably still be some money left over from the three million to spend on other cool stuff.

The final reason I want this money is private and hard for me to talk about, but it involves how, all my life, I grew up without $3 million. I was sort of a street urchin in that way. All the neighborhood kids would be out in the street, tossing bundles of cash at each other, and then when I came over to play they’d point and laugh and tell me I was too much of a pauper to ever be their friend. “Little Mikey Non-Millionaire” they’d call me. So, in a way, I blame much of my deep-seated sense of inferiority on that.

I feel like I might not be getting through to any potential readers at the College, so maybe I should just cut to the chase and say this: Please give me this money. Please. Please. Please. Please. Please. I’m literally typing this on my knees, and that’s a very difficult thing to do. I want it. I really, really, really, really want that money. I’m going to cry if you don’t give it to me, okay? I’m going to fall to the ground and start getting red- faced and pounding my fists on the ground in the coffee shop where I’m typing this and cause a giant scene. Do you want that on your conscience? A grown man crying?

Of course not.

Frankly, I don’t understand why the College hasn’t already given me this money. Just think about all the things they could do if they had an alumnus with three million clams in the bank: They could tout me as the most successful graduate in the school’s history. They could trot me out at alumni functions to shake hands and amuse donors. “Mr. Three Million,” they’d said. “The man with three million dollars in the bank, is why we gave him that nickname.”

If anyone in charge of the endowment is reading this and feels like they love this idea but that some other stick-in-the-mud trustee would vote it down because it’s “a waste of money” and “has nothing to do with the College’s core mission,” look, I get it. We all have those terrible coworkers who suck. But here’s what I’m thinking. Just slip me the three million anyway. They’ll never notice it’s gone. Seriously.

Also, not to derail this piece too much, but that other board member—the one always shooting down ideas about giving me money. That guy’s a real piece of work, right? And it isn’t just all his naysaying, either. It’s that fake look on his face all the time. That guy is so fake. Oh my god, he’s like the fakest guy in the world. And, yes, I know I just assumed this was a guy we’re talking about, but c’mon, we all know this sort of person is always a man.

Readers of this fine magazine might be frustrated that this impassioned plea for money is running a bit long. And to them, I will say that I am truly sorry. But before they venture onward in search of class notes and obituaries, let me say this: When Daniel Webster,class of 1801, argued so persuasively, “It is, as I have said, a small college, and yet there are those who love it,” what did he really mean? Some say it’s impossible to know because he often rambled nonsensically. Others argue he was drunk on mead and  describing some sort of mystic vision of the apocalypse.

Yet I would argue that in his own odd way Webster was saying that someday, centuries from now, a young man with a big dream and an even bigger smile would appear and make a humble request of the great institution that taught him so much, a request that would transform not just his life, but the lives of countless friends who could come over and play Nintendo Switch or even get on his awesome pontoon boat from time to time and drink beer. This is a hope I will believe in until the end of my days.

P.S.: If Dartmouth gives me this money, I might consider throwing a hundred bucks back its way.

Mike Gillis lives in Chicago, where he currently serves as the head writer of The Onion.

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