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October 07, 2015

N.Y. Judge Rejects Paul Smith's College Request to Change Its Name

Paul Smith's College's request to change its name to honor a $20-million gift from Joan and Sanford Weill was denied by a New York State judge on Tuesday, The New York Times reports.

The Weills made the pledge to the upstate New York institution in July in exchange for renaming it Joan Weill-Paul Smith's College. Though the college's Board of Regents, its Board of Trustees, and the state Charities Bureau approved, the will of Phelps Smith, who provided the college's founding donation, had stated that the institution be "forever known” by his father's name. The Weills' request had drawn complaints from alumni.

The college claimed that the naming restriction prevented it from bringing in investments that would help it remain viable despite declining enrollment. In his decision, the judge disagreed and said the four-year college did not make the case that its name was holding it back from operating effectively.

Ms. Weill served as a school trustee for 19 years and with her husband had already given the college nearly $10 million over the past two decades.