I have no idea where Ursinus College is, but they're giving away money to incoming frosh writers who show some sort of writing ability–and in addition to tuition, part of the prize is you get to sleep in…
J.D. Salinger's old dorm room.
Crusty and drabby, now there's a towel instead of a curtain covering the window. What a prize, a grand prize.
Salinger was only there a semester, but as the NY Times says, it's the closest he would come to an alma mater.
According to the piece, Salinger wanted nothing to do with a scholarship in his name, so the scholarship now has the attractive nickname of “Not the Salinger Scholarship.” Though some of the frosh get to spend a year in the room, they'd rather spend the night elsewhere and at other colleges (why didn't they just go to those in the first place?)
From the NY Times:
…there are applicants who have never read Salinger’s books. “I glanced at them in high school, but never actually read them,” Mr. Metcalf-Kelly said. “I was not a Salinger fan until I came here,” Mr. Teubner said.
Mr. Metcalf-Kelly said that if his generation were asked to pick a dorm
room to sleep in based on literary merit, many would head for the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where Dave Eggers
slept. “I think Eggers’s ‘A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius’
had the impact on our generation that ‘Catcher in the Rye’ had on its
generation,” he said.
“Eggers went to my high school,” said Mr. Teubner, the Ursinus senior, who graduated from Lake Forest High near Chicago.
If Mr. Teubner were to pick a literary bed, he would move to Bennington, Vt., where Bret Easton Ellis
slept. “I’m not sure that’s typical,” he said. “A lot of kids my age
don’t read Ellis anymore. He’s a little old. He was big in the ’90s.”
Callie Ingram, a junior, slept in the Salinger room two years ago. She
described “The Catcher in the Rye” as “a good book, but not pivotal.”
She still hasn’t opened her copy of “Franny and Zooey.”
However, if she preferred staying at Ursinus and were willing to settle
for rooms occupied by Cormac McCarthy’s niece (class of 2007) or John Updike’s mother (class of 1923), either of those could work, too.
So which author's dorm room do you want to sleep in? Jonathan Lethem's room at Bennington? (he didn't graduate either). David Foster Wallace's at Amherst? Zadie Smith's at Cambridge? Or be haunted by by vampires in Stephanie Meyer's at BYU?
So many authors, so many college marketing opportunities.