A judge in New York has ruled that Paul Smith's College cannot change its name.
Trustees for the school, which is in the Adirondack State Park about 100 miles south of Montreal, want to rename the institution Joan Weill-Paul Smith's College in honor of philanthropist Joan Weill. Weill and her husband, Sanford Weill, former chief executive officer of Citigroup Inc., had pledged to donate $20 million to the school if it were renamed.
The Plattsburgh Press-Republican reports that Judge John Ellis rejected the college's request to override the terms of the will of Phelps Smith, drawn up in 1928, which established the institution in honor of his father, hotelier Paul Smith. The will states that the school's name must remain Paul Smith’s College of Arts and Sciences in perpetuity.
Deciding that the Weills' donation would provide a needed boost to the school's finances, Paul Smith's College trustees voted this summer to accept the couple's offer, but needed a court order to carry out the name change.
After the ruling, college president Cathy S. Dove issued a statement:
"While we are disappointed in the court’s decision, the Board of Trustees and I truly appreciate the enduring connection our people feel to the college and our traditions. We look forward to working with faculty, staff, students, alumni and other stakeholders as we address the challenges that we along with many other colleges face in this environment, consider our options and shape our future.