Former Silicon Valley CEO Ben Nelson announced earlier this month that he has secured $25 million from neighboring Menlo Park-based venture capital firm Benchmark Capital. The invested funds will be used to create an elite global university online named The Minerva Project.

What Nelson envisions is an institution with no capacity limits that offers high-quality instruction from the top minds in academia to the best students the world over by harnessing the ubiquity of Internet access. It’s a bold endeavor, and of course, Nelson isn’t the first to take on the marketplace of online education, or even of elite online education. Both online campuses affiliated with brick-and-mortar institutions and standalone programs abound, and newer models are popping up every day; tenured Stanford University professor Sebastian Thrun left his post in February to set up Udacity, a for-profit school offering free college-level classes on topics like cryptography and Web engineering. -Digital Trends

Received article in a Cornell Black Women Alumni email thread. Other active participants included a Penn grad student and a Columbia/LSE grad student. I responded. I’m not a grad student. 

I actually… like it.

I can be elitist, but having been out of school for some years, I’ve encountered wildly intelligent people working on niche projects that myself or people from HYP or Cornell could not have conceptualized. Some of the smartest people I’ve met wear white tees and combat boots everyday and their business ventures are successful. Almost enviably successful. Some didn’t go to college. Some dropped out. Not because they could not tough school. School was actually hindering their creativity. It’s interesting.

The Ivy League, Stanford, UVA, Haverford, and the like don’t have a monopoly on brain capital. They have a monopoly on status and those who approbate that mindset. And there’s nothing wrong with that. Part of me does.

The pedagogical structure of traditionally elite schools isn’t conducive for all. This Minerva Project would appeal to those I referenced. The ones who would have thrived under an alternative didactic system. The Silicon Valley dude has a point. There’s a market for those types of minds.

And while we’re doubting its validity working at… They’re on their private island building tomorrow’s ingenuitive platforms.

I’m just saying.

Then the conversation shifted toward a Google brain drain conspiracy theory and then, and then Drake. Because we like his new videos

brunching.

Location: Aspen Social Club.

Time: Eh, noonish.

Party: Six.

Why were we the only patrons in the establishment?

Why were we placed directly in the center channeling a melanin-warped Dinner For Schmucks?

Why did Salvador, our Dominican waiter, mistake our Haitian friend as Latina?

Why did this necessitate a tortuous, albeit illumined dialogue on the beset racial complexities of the island of Hispaniola?

Why did we witness what was assuredly a drug bust?

Why was our beloved Salvador the culprit?!

Why was he escorted away in handcuffs by police officers we earlier mistook for street performers, "Don’t have time for this - we’re here on serious business," as we nodded in solidarity to our fallen brother?

Why did we continue on in contented solitude as if the transpired events normal?

Why did we decide at that moment this meal was most certainly complimentary and proceeded to order an additional side of bacon and round of bellinis?

But really, whywere we unfazed?

Why did one of us quip, “Sitting here throughout it all is the White man’s sense of entitlement our bougie education has afforded us.”

Why was this the best brunch ever?

Because it was free. 

The Literary Cubs

A friend recently ruminated in GChat ”…she posits a conjecture here…probably inadvertently…” Essentially he questioned if men of faculty will exist to traverse the next frontier and I answer “Is it that hopeless? I choose to interpret that natural selection triumphs through troughs of incompetence. The charlatans and the dissembling cannot sustain perennially.”

I then email excerpts to a second friend who mocks “I just wish I had the luxury to engage bourgeois philosophical inquires, instead I’m busy trying to ameliorate the masses through my academic research as a Columbia Sociology Ph.D candidate.”

Casual conversations. 

Can we afford to indulge? Can we afford to entertain pensive might? Can we afford to reprieve Bloomsbury?

Reading “The Literary Cubs,” an article in The New York Times dedicated to my people, literally. I am agog, and aghast. I am a Cornell 2009 alumnus, they are Cornell 2009 alumni. They studied Comparative Literature, I, Applied Economics & Management, but I tote a torn collection of T.S. Eliot poetry in my messenger. I derive intertexuality from the oeuvre of Djuna Barnes and that of the Combahee River Collective… is it sustainable? 

A mentor recently told me we have our 20’s to lead charmed lives. I am 23. M.J., my initials, my Jordan year. I have seven more to convert romanticism to livelihood. Clock is ticking.  

“This is my fantasy: a room full of books, people talking about books — it smells like books,” explained Ms. Chapman, the journal’s literary editor. “It’s the literary community that I had read about when I was younger. It’s Moveable Feast-type stuff.”

Despite her upbeat take on the proceedings, Ms. Chapman admitted she wasn’t feeling chipper. It was her birthday. A happy occasion? For most, maybe — but not, she explained, when you are turning 25, having graduated summa from Cornell, with a master’s from Columbia, only to find yourself unemployed and back living at home with your parents. 

Civic Duty.

Philadelphia: Michael Nutter (D) coasts to a second term as Mayor ensuring he’ll fight the good fight with his new roommates, the Occupiers denizened at the footsteps of City Hall. Winter’s coming. 

Photo Credit: Occupy215.net

Ithaca: A Cornell peer and fellow member of the class of 2009 was elected to Ithaca City Council in 2008 during our senior year. A friend of mine from a New England liberal arts institution carped “It’s sad when elitists from local universities take other the town. Going to institutions of that caliber means they can’t relate to the residents.” And I agreed. That would be unfortunate. If that were the case. 

Last night the same peer, Svante Myrick (D), won the mayoral seat with 54 percent of the vote in a four-way race - making history as the youngest and first African American to serve as Mayor of Ithaca, New York

Myrick’s commitment to serving and engaging the community; his appreciation of holistic diversity; and his empathetic quality enriches relatability and disavows the insular pitfalls of elitism

Myrick said he hopes to keep in close contact with city residents as mayor.”We’re going to continue doing what we’ve been doing,” he said, “reaching out to citizens, knocking on doors, reaching out through Facebook and Twitter, holding office hours.” - The Ithaca Journal 

Newly elected Mayor Myrick after clenching the Democratic primary in September 2011. (Photo Credit: The Cornell Daily Sun)

Perspicacious, spirited, and community-minded, Myrick possesses ingredients that inspire efficacious service to Ithaca and upstate New York. 

Pedigree.

Fritz Pollard. 1894-1986. 

Thanks to Dungy and others, Pollard’s achievements as the Jackie Robinson of football are now better appreciated; what is much less known is that football was only one small part of this remarkable man’s achievement. Even as his football career flourished, Pollard was busy establishing himself as a successful and pioneering entrepreneur. He was, successively, a dental student, a college football coach, a founder of one of the first African American–owned investment firms, the owner of a coal business, a movie actor, a founder and operator of an African American independent pro football team, a newspaper founder and owner, a syndicated sports columnist, a movie studio owner, a Negro League baseball executive, a music video producer, a talent agent, a movie producer, the founder of a public relations firm, and, finally, a tax consultant.Inside the studio.

Truth is, as much as we romanticize the achievements of the great African American athletes from the early part of the twentieth century, black professional football and baseball players were hard-pressed to earn a living back then. Football may have been an avenue leading to a field of dreams, but for many of these smart and ambitious players those dreams had little to do with football. Pollard’s friend Paul Robeson, for example, was also an early NFL player. But Robeson earned a degree at Columbia Law School so he could become a practicing attorney, a career he soon put aside to become an internationally famous singer, Broadway and film star, and political activist. Among Brown-educated baseball major leaguers, about one-third later became physicians or lawyers, while others became college professors and executives. One such star, Billy Lauder, class of 1898, studied law at Harvard, practiced law, was a college baseball coach, scouted future baseball hall-of-famer Eddie Collins, authored a book on baseball, and even designed a radical new baseball uniform, all before settling into a career selling insurance.

But the breadth of Pollard’s non-sports activities surpassed all of them. In the Pollard family, success was expected of everyone. “His family played a big role,” explains John Carroll, whose book Fritz Pollard: Pioneer in Racial Achievement is the definitive work on Pollard’s life and career. “They were plungers. His sister [Willie Naomi] was the first African American woman to graduate from Northwestern University. Luther [his brother] made movies and published a newspaper.” Another brother, Leslie, played football for Dartmouth and was a college football coach before his untimely death, and brother Hughes Pollard became a renowned jazz drummer before he, too, died young.Friend Ink Williams ‘21.

For many of these men, football was a bridge into the white world and way of collecting useful contacts there. While at Brown, Pollard, whose entrepreneurial bent manifested itself early, started a suit-pressing service for his classmates; for a dollar a month students could get an unlimited number of garments pressed. “I did this so I could become known on the campus,” Pollard later claimed, though he apparently wasn’t above “borrowing” an outfit for social events. President William Faunce actually visited the football star in his dormitory room, which was jammed with pressing equipment, and informed him that John D. Rockefeller Jr., class of 1897, was offering to pay for more spacious quarters and new equipment. It marked the beginning of a long relationship between Rockefeller and Pollard that would resurface as Pollard got involved in more and more business ventures. (Brown Alumni Magazine)

How weird is it that I enjoy the Tory Burch Fall 2011 collection?
It’s retro 1970’s working girl, yet severely on trend. ♥.
I’m starting to feel that I live in any other decade than whichever one I’m in or will be in that present moment. 
Example:
A convo with mi co-worker dearest friend (<-was forced into that -___-) on our way out yestereve. 
Juan: “Morgan I think I want to start going thrift store shopping. What do you think?”
Me: “Yeah that’s a good idea I love them, but I don’t usually recommend it. If you don’t already have a personal style and an eye, to the less satorially inclined, a thrift store is a bunch of ugly miss-matched shit.” 
Juan: “True. But I feel like the 90’s are coming back.”
Me: “…coming back?”
Juan: “hahahaha oh yes that’s right. you’re probably like ‘Bitch it never left!’ ”
Me: “hahaha, truth”
Juan: “In my head you’re a 1990’s diva throwback. And I imagine you have a red Chanel power suit, and you watch Dynasty, and you have tons of over-sized sweaters and denim and boots and all you read is Vogue issues circa 1985-1994.”
<—-He tells me some variation of this almost every week. Once he told me he fantasizes that I’m in some twisted slave (Juan, yah fantasies are racist!)/Cinderella story. Except instead of wearing a frock on a plantation scrubbing my evil step-sister’s room, [who in this fantasy of his is our other co-worker/friend and his fantastical back story for her is equally hilarious], I’m wearing a pencil skirt and rouge lipstick. He went to Colby. That totally weird liberal artsy institution of bougie pretentious higher learning, where those who think they’re too cool for Harvard go to be omniscient pansexual vegans, so the loony tales in his mind aren’t surprising… jk Juan! …as he makes some sly reference to “Cornell being the ‘every’-American step-child of the Ivy.” Forgive me, we indulge in an Ivy vs. NESCAC debate on the hour every hour. But no seriously, that story? I can’t make this shit up. 
Me: *blank stare*
Me again: “TRUTH”
This post is dedicated to Juan since you always want me to reference you in one of my blogged thoughts. And yes deep inside I would have probably flourished at a NESCAC than an Ivy. C’est la vie.

How weird is it that I enjoy the Tory Burch Fall 2011 collection?

It’s retro 1970’s working girl, yet severely on trend. ♥.

I’m starting to feel that I live in any other decade than whichever one I’m in or will be in that present moment. 

Example:

A convo with mi co-worker dearest friend (<-was forced into that -___-) on our way out yestereve. 

Juan: “Morgan I think I want to start going thrift store shopping. What do you think?”

Me: “Yeah that’s a good idea I love them, but I don’t usually recommend it. If you don’t already have a personal style and an eye, to the less satorially inclined, a thrift store is a bunch of ugly miss-matched shit.” 

Juan: “True. But I feel like the 90’s are coming back.”

Me: “…coming back?”

Juan: “hahahaha oh yes that’s right. you’re probably like ‘Bitch it never left!’ 

Me: “hahaha, truth”

Juan: “In my head you’re a 1990’s diva throwback. And I imagine you have a red Chanel power suit, and you watch Dynasty, and you have tons of over-sized sweaters and denim and boots and all you read is Vogue issues circa 1985-1994.”

<—-He tells me some variation of this almost every week. Once he told me he fantasizes that I’m in some twisted slave (Juan, yah fantasies are racist!)/Cinderella story. Except instead of wearing a frock on a plantation scrubbing my evil step-sister’s room, [who in this fantasy of his is our other co-worker/friend and his fantastical back story for her is equally hilarious], I’m wearing a pencil skirt and rouge lipstick. He went to Colby. That totally weird liberal artsy institution of bougie pretentious higher learning, where those who think they’re too cool for Harvard go to be omniscient pansexual vegans, so the loony tales in his mind aren’t surprising… jk Juan! …as he makes some sly reference to “Cornell being the ‘every’-American step-child of the Ivy.” Forgive me, we indulge in an Ivy vs. NESCAC debate on the hour every hour. But no seriously, that story? I can’t make this shit up. 

Me: *blank stare*

Me again: “TRUTH”

This post is dedicated to Juan since you always want me to reference you in one of my blogged thoughts. And yes deep inside I would have probably flourished at a NESCAC than an Ivy. C’est la vie.

I mean… she looks like she’s on something.

… $150,000 in HEROIN???

I thought Ivy Leaguers sniffed mounds of coke and pressed their chinos?

Cornell keeps it gangsta. 

*blinks*

My alma mater one-upped that silly and retrospectively weak drug bust over yonder Columbia several weeks ago. 

If this were Grand Theft Auto Vice City… we’re winning. 

…alas this is life, so home girl with the meth face,

is l o s i n g. 

IvyGate has the rest