MLive, Hillsdale College Sues Over $5 Million Gift to University of Missouri:
Hillsdale College is suing the University of Missouri, claiming an endowment gift from a deceased MU alum is not being spent according to his wishes.
Hillsdale claims it is entitled to the $5 million endowment gift left in the will of Sherlock Hibbs in 2002 that directed Missouri’s Board of Curators to divide the funds into six separate funds named by Hibbs.
In the lawsuit filed in 2017, Hillsdale claims the university found the terms of the gift “distasteful” and was concerned MU and its Business School were being “held hostage by a particular ideology,” ultimately disputing that his gift resulted in a trust, according to the lawsuit.
Hillsdale, according to the lawsuit, had incentive to police Missouri’s compliance of the terms of the gift because it would forfeit the funds to Hillsdale if the university did not comply.
Hibbs, a 1926 graduate of Missouri, required the university to establish three separate chairs, funded at $1.1 million each, and another three distinguished professorships, with two funded at $567,000 and another at $566,000, according to the lawsuit.
The will required each appointee be a “dedicated and articulate disciple” of MU’s Ludwig von Mises Austrian School of Economics, which emphasizes free markets, private property and limited government, according to the lawsuit.
Missouri Spokesman Christian Basi said the university always spends gift funds per the explicit wishes of its donors. ...
Former Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon, who is representing Hillsdale in the lawsuit, said Hibbs served in World War II after graduating from Missouri. After serving, he began a successful career in finance where he witnessed the principles of fiscally-conservative, free-market economics.
The $5 million gift was given for the specific purpose of teaching that style of economics to a new generation, Nixon said.
“Mr. Hibbs named Hillsdale College not only to ensure that his gifts were used as described in his will, but also to take action if the intent of his gift was not fulfilled,” Nixon said. “Hillsdale takes that obligation very seriously. Hillsdale College looks forward to thorough discovery into why the University of Missouri changed the terms of Mr. Hibbs’ gift.”
Update: Chronicle of Higher Education, Hillsdale College Sues U. of Missouri for a Dead Donor’s Money. It Gets Weirder.