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Gift comes with no names attached

By Times Wires
Published November 5, 2007



When he became dean of the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business in 2002, Michael Knetter went looking for a big donor, someone who would give $50-million in exchange for putting their name on the school.

No one was interested.

So Knetter decided to do something radical: find contributors willing to pay to keep the school's name off the market.

After years of conversations, 13 alumni announced last month that they were giving $85-million in exchange for assurances that the business school would not be named for any donor for at least 20 years.

It's the biggest donation in university history, and it comes at a time when stadiums, buildings and whole colleges elsewhere are being named for the highest bidder.

"It is an unprecedented act of selfless philanthropy. I don't know of another case where anything remotely like this has taken place, and I hope it is the start of a trend," said Terry Hartle, senior vice president for the American Council on Education. "It's the most interesting development in philanthropy I've seen in the last year."

The donors are all Wisconsin alumni, and 10 of them graduated from the business school. Each pledged at least $5-million to join the partnership.

Nicholas said he was proud the gift allows the university to keep its well-respected name. "The University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business. That sounds great," he said.


Audit finds overbilling by Katrina transporter

A medical transport service overcharged the federal government nearly $2-million to evacuate sick or injured people during hurricanes Katrina and Rita, a government audit found.

CareFlite billed the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services $5.7-million for transporting 810 patients in six months, according to an audit by the agency's inspector general.

The contract called for CareFlite to arrange transportation "in the most economical fashion, using subcontractors if necessary." The audit said there were times Grand Prairie-based CareFlite used its own aircraft to transport evacuees when it could have looked for less expensive transportation. The average cost for patient transport when CareFlite used its own plane was $18,200. For subcontractors, the average cost was $7,783, the audit said.

CareFlite defended the costs. CareFlite was encouraged to use subcontractors but not bound to do so by the contract, Raymond Dauphinais, CareFlite's vice president for flight operations, wrote in a response to the audit.


Heart pill beats Plavix but has other risks

A new blood thinner proved better than Plavix, one of the world's top-selling drugs, at preventing heart problems after procedures to open clogged arteries, according to a report published online by the New England Journal of Medicine on Sunday. But the new drug also raised the risk of serious bleeding.

People given the experimental drug, prasugrel, were nearly 20 percent less likely to suffer heart attack, stroke or heart-related death than those given Plavix, a drug millions of Americans take to prevent blood clots.

However, for each heart-related death prasugrel prevented, compared with Plavix, almost one additional bleeding death occurred. Still, many doctors said that on balance, the new drug comes out ahead.


11 detainees sent to Afghanistan, Jordan

Eleven detainees at the military prison at Guantanamo Bay - eight Afghans and three Jordanians - have been transferred to the custody of their home countries, the Pentagon announced Sunday.

The men were flown out of the U.S. naval base in southeast Cuba after a military review was conducted at Guantanamo gauging whether the prisoners have intelligence value or pose a threat to the United States. The military does not provide details about individual cases.

Roughly 320 detainees remain at Guantanamo on suspicion of links to al-Qaida or the Taliban, including 80 who have been deemed eligible for transfer or release, according to the Department of Defense.


Campaign 2008: Republican presidential candidate Fred Thompson said Sunday that a friend with a criminal record for cocaine and marijuana sales would remain a top fundraiser for his campaign while he evaluates the situation. "I know him to be a good man. I know him to be a man who has rehabilitated himself and has led a productive life," Thompson said.

Campaign 2008: Former Vice President Walter Mondale is endorsing Democratic Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton for president, the Clinton campaign announced Sunday.

Washington: Sen. Arlen Specter, R-Pa., the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, said Sunday he is bothered by Michael Mukasey's refusal to say whether waterboarding is torture but will support his nomination for attorney general anyway.

Warming: Daniel Beard, the House's chief administrative officer, will cut a taxpayer-funded check today for $89,000 to buy credits that will offset the impact of 30,000 tons of carbon belched into the atmosphere by the U.S. Capitol's antiquated, coal-burning power plant every year.

[Last modified November 5, 2007, 00:32:51]

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