A lady in a faded grey dress entered the Harvard University with her husband who was dressed in a home-spun suit. Their appearance was showing that they are from a poor background. They entered the university office building and went straight to the President’s outer office without any appointment with the president. The secretary, judging them by their appearance could tell in a moment that these folks had no business at Harvard and they do not even deserve to be in Harvard.
“Is president inside? We want to talk to the president” the man asked the secretary.
“Sir! President’s schedule is all busy for today” the secretary replied.
“We will just take 5 minutes of him” the lady said.
“As I said, He has appointments for the whole day” the secretary replied in ignorant tone.
“We will wait” the man said.
The secretary ignored them for a long time. Secretary was hoping that they will be discouraged and will leave the Harvard. They were constantly looking at the office door and the secretary was getting frustrated. The secretary finally decided to ask the president to meet them.
“They will just take a few minutes and then they will leave” Secretary said to the president as both of them entered the president’s office.
The lady told the president “Our son was at Harvard for one year. He was very happy in the campus. He always admired the administration here. Last year, our son was killed in an accident. Our only son was everything we had. We want to erect a memorial to our son, somewhere inside the Harvard University.”
The president was not convinced by the lady. He replied “Madam, every person dies. There are numerous people who attended Harvard University and died. We can’t erect a statue for every person who died. This is Harvard university; we do not want to change it into a cemetery.”
The lady replied quickly “No no no. We do not want to erect a statue for our son. We want to give a whole new building to Harvard.”
The president glanced at the appearance of them and smiled. “Do you have any idea how much a building costs here at Harvard? It is not a piece of cake to make a building for Harvard University. Our standard building costs over seven and a half million in its physical structure.”
Both of them were silent now. The president thought that maybe now he will get rid of them. The lady now turned towards her husband and said quietly, “Why don’t we start our own university if this is all the cost it takes to start a university?” The husband smiled. The president was shocked by the lady. The president was very confused. He was trying to understand what the lady was saying. Was she really talking about starting their own university. Yes, she was. Mr. and Mrs. Leland Stanford left the office the next moment. They established the university named as Stanford University in the memorial of their beloved son.
Never judge a book by its cover.