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What’s in the box? Mystery alum gifts $180K to City College

December 22, 2021 GMT

NEW YORK (AP) — Christmas came early — or really late, depending how you look at it, when a physics professor at the City College of New York in Harlem discovered a box postmarked in 2020 in the school’s mailroom, holding $180,000 in cash.

The toaster-sized box was addressed to the chair of the physics department, Vinod Menon. He said he opened the box after returning to campus this semester and found a letter and $50 and $100 bundles in paper bands, The New York Times reported on Tuesday.

The letter stated that the cash was a donation meant to help physics and math students in need at City College. It also explained that the donor was a former City College alum who received their bachelor’s and master’s degrees in physics at the school, ushering them into a successful scientific career.

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City College and the entire CUNY system official said they could not remember a similar donation this large in cash and sent anonymously.

Chief Pat Morena, the leader of the Department of Public Safety at City College, said the return address used a fake name that traced back to Florida but did not lead to the anonymous donor’s identity.

Federal agents also determined that the money had been withdrawn from banks in Maryland and was not connected to any criminal activity, the chief said,

On Dec. 13, CUNY’s Board of Trustees was cleared to formally vote to accept the gift.

Menon said the donation will be put towards funding two annual, full-tuition scholarships for more than a decade.