Mizzou Received $5 Million to Hire Austrian Economists. A Lawsuit Claims It Misspent the Money.

Robby Soave — Reason Magazine

Sherlock Hibbs, a wealthy Wall Street financier with ties to the University of Missouri, died in 2002. A fan of free market economics, the Austrian School, and Ludwig von Mises in particular, Hibbs specified in his will that $5 million would go to the university for the purposes of hiring “dedicated and articulate disciples” of this philosophy.

There was an interesting catch. If Mizzou failed to use the money to fund acolytes of Mises, the donation would instead go to Hillsdale College, a conservative institution in Michigan. Hibbs seemingly did not trust Mizzou to fulfill his terms and thus structured the gift so that an ideologically sympathetic college would have an incentive to hold the Mizzou accountable.

Hibbs was apparently right to worry. Hillsdale is now suing Mizzou, and alleges that the university willfully misspent the funds on faculty members who have nothing to do with either von Mises or Austrian economics.

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