Digby points to something I also noticed on Tom Hull's website last night, and which was initially noted by Paul Krugman (the quote is from Bloomberg News):
Ayn Rand's novels of headstrong entrepreneurs' battles against convention enjoy a devoted following in business circles. While academia has failed to embrace Rand, calling her philosophy simplistic, schools have agreed to teach her works in exchange for a donation.
The charitable arm of BB&T Corp., a banking company, pledged $1 million to the University of North Carolina Charlotte in 2005 and obtained an agreement that Rand's novel "Atlas Shrugged'' would become required reading for students. Marshall University in Huntington, West Virginia, and Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina, say they also took grants and agreed to teach Rand.
Digby adds some context (for those of you who have been fortunate enough to escape Ms. Rand's, uh, "oeuvre"):
Corporations, which have very good reasons to train young people into an ethos that extols the alleged virtues of heroic captains of industry and their lonely fight to retain freedom in the face of left wing collectivism, should not be buying academic curriculum of any kind. The very idea of academic freedom is that the academics decide what to teach, not the government or the community or especially some company who wants to promulgate a puerile political philosophy designed to make people believe that selfishness is a virtue. That it's in the form of a very bad romance novel makes it even worse. (To those romance novel aficionados out there, please note that I said "bad" romance novel. It's not a slam at the whole genre.)
Unfortunately, as Jennifer Washburn pointed out in a great book a few years back, this intersection of money and academia is by no means a new phenomenon.
Still, Ayn fucking Rand? What's next: music appreciation courses in which Rush is required listening? (That was a joke, Rush fans.)