Franklin & Marshall, which always sort of sounded like a law firm, is not just a $40,000 a year college in Lancaster, Pa anymore. It’s also, oddly, a line of Italian clothing. According to an Associated Press article by Kathy Matheson:

Franklin & Marshall the company was founded by a pair of entrepreneurs in Verona in 1999, more than 200 years after Franklin & Marshall the college was founded in Lancaster by a gift from Benjamin Franklin.

Giuseppe Albarelli and Andrea Pensiero were inspired to create their high-end sportswear by an authentically old F&M sweatshirt they found at a secondhand shop in London. They began replicating and improvising on that classic collegiate look, not realizing Franklin & Marshall was an actual U.S. college.

So it’s kind of like bootleg Abercrombie & Fitch except, well, Abercrombie and Fitch are just two dead guys who founded a sporting goods company in 1904. Franklin & Marshall is actually still a college.

Once the college discovered what was going on it entered into negotiations and apparently decided not to sue. According to the AP article, a “long-term licensing deal reached in 2003” gives the Pennsylvania school a cut of all U.S. sales of the clothing brand. Or, as the company somewhat awkwardly explains:

Franklin & Marshall Clothing Company is an Italian company that creates and produces clothing and accessories inspired by the American Vintage College spirit, as exemplified by Franklin & Marshall College….

Franklin & Marshall Clothing Company is the owner of the brand in all countries excluding in the USA where is a licensee of the college’s name but is not in any other way affiliated or endorsed by Franklin & Marshall College.

But the college can’t control what happens outside the U.S., where the brand is much more popular.

Apparently the company recently decided to offer a $135,000 scholarship to one student at the school. That would cover a little less than four years at the school, at current tuition.

It remains unclear how a student might apply for that—incredibly generous—scholarship or what characteristics might be desired in the first Franklin & Marshall (Clothing Company) Scholar at Franklin & Marshall (College). [Image via]

Daniel Luzer

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer