This is indeed a fundraising letter (in part!), so let me comment on the last item a bit. I do not write to tell you whether or how much to give to the College. That is your choice. But I will share with you my own policy. I give to Yale-NUS every year. I always will. I do not, for what it’s worth, generally give without restriction. It’s not my job to pay the electricity bills. Rather, I give to the funds that matter to me and that impinge on matters dear to my own peculiar heart.
I imagine some of you reacting with a cynical smirk (“alabaster towers”, “Stewards”, “true to our mission” - who does this guy think he is?). For you know that Yale-NUS is imperfect. It’s capable, as are all institutions, of betraying its constituents. I’d like to share, then, something about the complicated relationship I have with my own alma mater. On the one hand, I adore the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University: oddball professors, shared triumph and suffering (common curriculum), and those little corners across campus where I once read old books late into the night. On the other, I sometimes feel Biola has wronged me - and worse, wronged its current students. Yet I give every year, and have without fail since graduating. Because the place does good things in the world despite its flaws. Because it made me who I am. Because it will always be my spiritual and intellectual home. And because I hope for it to do better.
Something to think about.
At any rate, should you choose to give to the College this year, here's a fund that may be of special interest: