Earlier this year, former First Lady of Citigroup Joan Weill made an offer to the students of a small college upstate: that there would be $20 million with their name on it if the school would do just one little thing for her. She wasn't looking for a big, lavish gala in her honor, or an honorary degree, or a shoutout in the student newspaper. All she asked was that the school, which has been called Paul Smith’s College since it was founded in 1946, would rename itself. Joan Weill-Paul Smith's College doesn't sound awkward at all, right? It's seamless and perfect. All she wanted was to give that Paul fellow, who, y'know, the school was named after, a little nudge to the right. Unfortunately for the college, a judge felt differently about seeing Joan's name in bright lights.
Sanford I. Weill, a Wall Street billionaire, and his wife, Joan, have decided not to donate $20 million to a struggling northern New York college after a judge ruled that it could not be renamed for Mrs. Weill, college officials said on Thursday. The donation had been offered on the condition that Paul Smith’s College change its name to Joan Weill-Paul Smith’s College. Mrs. Weill has been actively involved with the college’s development for more than two decades and served on the board of trustees. But a state judge this month refused to allow the college to break the terms of its founder’s will, which required that the college be named Paul Smith’s in perpetuity, to accept the donation.
Will the Weills still give the money sans the college remaking itself in Joan's likeness? You probably know the answer to that. And don't even think about suggesting they do it exchange for a building or two. This is Joan Weill we're talking about, not a common streetwalker.
“I think it’s unfortunate that the Weills are not going to give the money,” Mark Schneider, a lawyer who represented alumni who opposed the name change, said. “If they really wanted to give a gift to the school, it shouldn’t be contingent on something as self-glorifying as naming the school after Mrs. Weill. They could have named something else.”
Anyway, onto Plan B. Does Joan Weill-Massachusetts Institute of Technology or Joan Weill-State University Of New York At Oneonta not have a fantastic ring to it?