Would you change your name if you were offered $20 million? Paul Smith’s College, known for its hotel management and wildlife and forestry programs, has been offered a critical $20 million from Joan Weill, but at a controversial price. If the college accepts the money, they must rename the college Joan Weill-Paul Smith’s College.
Mrs. Weill is the wife of a Wall Street billionaire, Sanford I. Weill. Mrs. Weill did not graduate from Paul Smith’s, but instead took a liking to the college when she visited it several years ago. She has donated millions of dollars to the school over the years, helping to build both a new library and a new student center, and has served on the school board for 19 years.
The college was founded by Phelps Smith in honor of his father. In Mr. Smith’s will he stated that the college should be built on the site of the former Paul Smith’s Hotel and should be “forever known” as Paul Smith’s College of Arts and Sciences.
The college now faces a difficult decision that will likely be settled in court as to whether they should accept the much-needed $20 million and change the name of the school, or whether they should follow the will and keep the name of the school.
Contributor: Katie Campbell