Thanks to a donor, Harvard now has a Falik Men’s Room

Wealthy alumni are buying up naming rights to universities’ bathrooms

As a child, William Falik probably sat through a lot of jokes about his last name, which is pronounced “phallic.” But as an adult, he’s the one getting the laughs from his moniker. The Berkeley law lecturer and real estate developer recently gave US$100,000 to Harvard Law School. In return, at his request, his alma mater named a bathroom in his honour. The Falik Men’s Room—it comes complete with a plaque—opened earlier this year.

The Harvard toilet isn’t the first to bear Falik’s name—there’s a Falik Gentlemen’s Lounge at a repertory theatre in California and a Falik Men’s Room is in the works for Berkeley—nor is it the only university bathroom named for a donor. Dixie State College in Utah was at one point offering the naming rights to individual toilet stalls in a planned building, according to an early February report in Inside Higher Ed, and Colorado entrepreneur Brad Feld paid a reported $25,000 to sponsor a men’s room at the University of Colorado Boulder. And there’s more: one generous local citizen paid a similar amount to have plaques installed above three urinals at the University of Pennsylvania in 2005 that read: “The relief you are now experiencing was made possible by a gift from Michael Zinman.”

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