May 1, 2012

Bill Maher ’78 on Donating to Alma Mater: Cornell Has “Plenty” of Money

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Never one to shy away from criticizing his former home of four years, comedian Bill Maher ‘78 said on Friday’s episode of his talk show, “Real Time with Bill Maher,” that he has never donated to Cornell, saying that the University has enough money already.

The show’s panel members — which included Democratic strategist Paul Begala, S.E. Cupp ’00, a conservative political commentator and a former Sun arts editor, and Andrew Ross Sorkin ’99, a columnist at The New York Times — were speaking about former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney’s charitable donations to the Mormon Church when the topic shifted to Maher’s alma mater.

“I don’t really think you should judge charity. I don’t think giving to opera is charity either, or giving to Cornell, which has plenty of fucking money and never needs any” Maher said.

“Plenty of our money,” Cupp said in response.

Asked by Sorkin if he had ever given money to the University, Maher simply said “never.”

“Why should I be?” Maher said. “They have a giant endowment — as does President Obama.”

Cornell’s endowment was $5.27 billion at the end of the 2010-2011 fiscal year, which ended June 30, The Sun reported on July 13.

Maher has often spoken about his disdain for his time spent at the school. On the Feb. 16 episode of comedian Marc Maron’s podcast, “WTF,” Maher said that he never had fun when he was a Cornell student.

“I got an excellent education, and that’s all I got from it,” he said. “If I had to do it over again, or I had known what Cornell had been like, I never would have gone there.”

Maher told Maron that he felt like an outsider throughout his time at the University.

“If you’re not one of the cool kids — which I wasn’t, in either high school or college — it can be rough. And it was especially rough at Cornell,” Maher said.

While Maher may be opposed to donating to Cornell, he doesn’t appear to feel the same way about politicians. On Feb. 24, Maher announced that he had donated $1 million to Priorities USA Action, a super PAC that supports President Barack Obama, according to The Huffington Post.

Original Author: David Marten