Munger Pledged Hundreds of Millions of Dollars to Project, But Only If His Plans Were Used

Charlie Munger and his controversial contribution to the University of Michigan campus.Charlie Munger, Warren Buffett's right hand man at Berkshire Hathaway, certainly led an interesting life.

Munger took nonsense from nobody and was very hard to sway from his views.

One of those views was that windowless dormitory rooms were excellent for students.


At the Munger Graduate Residence Hall at the University of Michigan, most of the 600 graduate students live in small bedrooms that don't have windows.

There are windows in the common areas of the residence, but most of the sleeping quarters contain no windows.

This was by design - in fact, this was at Munger's insistence.

Charlie Munger contributed $110 million to the University of Michigan to help build the graduate residence, with one caveat - his plans for the building HAD to be used.

Munger had a view where a "community of scholars" would interact in the common areas during the day, before retiring to their windowless rooms at night for more study or sleep.


A number of years later, the same thing occurred at UCSB - Munger contributed $200 million to the school to build an 11-story building to host undergraduates, but with the caveat that his plans be followed.

The school agreed and accepted the money.

This time around, however, Munger agreed to a little tweak.

Instead of completely windowless rooms, Munger wanted to install "artificial windows", like on cruise ships.

A consulting architect hired for the project thought that the plans were ridiculous, but Munger wouldn't budge from his vision. The architect quit.

Munger stuck to his guns - the building was going to be built according to his specifications.


Most of the students who live in the windowless rooms don't seem to mind it - in fact, the Graduate Residence at the University of Michigan has strong reviews.

Some, however, think that the setup is cruel, and that denying people constant access to a window is damaging in terms of sleep patterns.


Despite some of the criticism, Munger was certain that he was correct, and he even predicted that more buildings would be built like it, long after his death.

Filed under: General Knowledge

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