Joan Weill saw the 'donate a bunch of money to a school, get a building named after you' model and said no, dream bigger.
Now Mrs. Weill, the college’s most generous benefactor, has pledged a $20 million donation, one that the college president, Cathy S. Dove, says is critical to the school’s future. But the gift comes with a controversial requirement. In accepting the money, the college’s board must agree to change the name to Joan Weill-Paul Smith’s College. The college was created with money and land bequeathed by its founder, Phelps Smith, to honor his father, a celebrated hotelier. When Mr. Smith died in 1937, his will directed that the school be built on the site of the former Paul Smith’s Hotel. The will also required that the institution be “forever known” as Paul Smith’s College of Arts and Sciences.