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Hillsdale and Missouri Settle Battle Over Bequest

December 20, 2019

Hillsdale College has settled a lawsuit against the University of Missouri over the terms of a bequest to the university’s endowment.

The 2017 lawsuit said Hillsdale, a private liberal arts college in Michigan, should receive a $5 million gift from a deceased donor because the money wasn’t being spent at the University of Missouri as the donor wished, MLive reported. The donor asked that Missouri use the money to fund chairs and professorships filled by appointees who follow the teachings of a pro-free-market economist, according to the Associated Press. Hillsdale was charged with certifying that the university was complying.

Hillsdale’s suit claimed the university hadn’t appointed appropriate professors and that the university was to forfeit the gift to the college if it didn’t comply with the donor’s wishes. With the settlement, the two sides “agreed to disagree” over the bequest, according to a University of Missouri spokesman. Hillsdale will give up oversight of the gift, and $4.7 million of the original bequest will stay with Missouri. The gift is currently valued at about $9.2 million.

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Rick Seltzer

Rick Seltzer, Projects Editor, oversaw special projects and coordinated daily production for Inside Higher Ed from 2019 through May 2021. He joined the publication in 2016, covering finance and management. Previously, he worked as a reporter for The Baltimore Business Journal, The Bloomington Herald-Times, the Central New York Business Journal and The Harrisburg Patriot-News. He has covered numerous business, municipal, government and general assignment beats. Rick graduated from Syracuse University in 2008.

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