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May 22, 2015

Montana Regent Questions Naming Law School for Big Donor

A member of the Montana Board of Regents is protesting plans to rename the University of Montana School of Law after a $10 million donor, saying the public has not been given sufficient input on the plan, the Missoulian and the Associated Press report. The university has asked the board to vote Friday to approve the recently announced deal, which confers naming rights "in perpetuity" on donor Alexander Blewett III, a Great Falls, Mont., lawyer.

Regent Martha Sheehy, a graduate of the Montana law school, lauded Mr. Blewett and his family for their "mind-boggling" generosity but said the public has not had a chance to see the contract and "has a right to be at the table" when a public asset is sold. The gift was negotiated by the University of Montana Foundation, a private nonprofit. Other regents and school officials said conducting talks in confidence is crucial to securing major gifts. University leaders and faculty bodies have signed off on the renaming.