BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU ASK FOR. Via University Diaries, a parody site suggesting Oklahoma State University recognize a generous benefactor by renaming itself Boone State in recognition of a generous donation to the sports programs by alum and oilman T. Boone Pickens.

There are precedents. Ball State University is not paying tribute to its role as a training ground for the Big Ten. The five sons of canning jar magnate Lucius Styles Ball, including interurban promoter George A., purchased a private normal school that opened in 1899 and deeded it to the state of Indiana as a teachers' college in 1918. That normal school became a state university in 1965.

I know of a slightly older state teachers' college that became a state university in 1957. Telecommunications magnate John Barsema has been very generous to the building fund, as has banker John Castle. (Economics, by the way, suggests that the name "Castle Bank" might be more suggestive of permanence and stability than, say, "Fifth Third Bank," which sounds like music theory, or "Old Second Bank," redolent of a hymnal.) To my knowledge, there are no plans to sell the naming rights to the University.

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