How the Rich Get Richer

HOYAS.jpg

Georgetown University, which already has an endowment of some $957 million, just got a hell of a lot richer. According to the school:

Georgetown University on Tuesday announced its largest gift: $87 million to support medical research. The gift originated with a $1.2 million charitable trust created by the will of the late Harry J. Toulmin in 1965. His widow, Virginia Toulmin, managed the trust for 45 years and led it to its present value.

While tuition at Georgetown is currently $39,768 a year, a fee grossly unaffordable to the majority of American families, none of this Toulmin money will go to reduce the cost of tuition or even increase scholarships available. This money will go toward medical research, which will help the university generate patents, by which it will make even more money. Brilliant!

Harry Toulmin understood very well how this neat little process might work. Toulmin’s own father made a mint by serving as the parent attorney for Wilbur and Orville Wright and wrote up their original patent for a “Flying-Machine” in 1903.

Toulmin used his inheritance to found a Dayton, Ohio drug company called Central Pharmaceuticals. After he died in 1965 his widow ran the company for 30 years and then sold it to German to biopharma giant Schwarz Pharma A.G. (itself now owned by a Belgian pharmaceutical mega-giant called UCB) for $178 million.

Congratulations Hoyas. [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