A Box of Cash, a Secret Donor and a Big Lift for Some N.Y.C. Students

When he returned to teaching in-person this semester, Vinod Menon, a physics professor at City College of New York in Harlem, finally looked through a pile of office mail and found a cardboard box the size of a toaster.

The box, heavy enough to warrant $90 in postage for priority U.S. mail, was addressed to “Chairman, Physics Department” — his title.

Maybe it was a token of thanks from a former student, Dr. Menon thought, as he inspected the package, which was postmarked Nov. 10, 2020. It had been sitting for more than nine months, first in the campus mailroom and then in the physics office.

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