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B-School Life

And This Little Piggy Went to ... Stern

And This Little Piggy Went to ... Stern

Photograph by Andrea Mohin/The New York Times via Redux

Why does New York University’s Stern School of Business have a collection of pigs?

That’s the question, and the enduring mystery, presented by a blog post published in the New York Times today. The pigs number well north of 200 and include salt and pepper shakers, gravy boats, ashtrays, and figurines, as well as pigs in wax, terra-cotta, even marzipan.

Nobody knows when Stern came into possession of the porcine menagerie or where it came from, although an associate dean, Paul Affuso, told the Times that he’s heard they were donated to the undergraduate college by a female graduate who collected them as a hobby.  But a search of the school’s records for in-kind contributions turned up nothing related to the pigs, the Times reports.

The pigs were discovered about eight years ago in the crawl space beneath the Stern auditorium and displayed, briefly, on bookcases in a locked supply closet on the seventh floor of Tisch Hall. But a few years later the pigs were put back into storage, where apparently they’re destined to remain for the foreseeable future.

People leaving comments on the Times blog post weren’t buying the idea of a well-meaning alumna contributing the pigs. One said they may be “capitalist pigs,” while another suggested they may be the work of someone fed up with “one too many donation requests bulk-mailed by the university to alumni who spent decades paying off their student loans.”

“Obviously, somebody with a lot of time and determination decided that somebody in the upper echelons at Stern was ‘a complete pig’ and decided to hammer home that point in a genteel and weird way,” wrote one.

As for what should be done with the pigs, many commenters wanted to see them displayed, or auctioned off, with the proceeds going to animal shelters.

Join the discussion on the Bloomberg Businessweek Business School Forum, visit us on Facebook, and follow @BWbschools on Twitter.

Lavelle is an associate editor for Bloomberg Businessweek.

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