Last week's announcement that Logan Hall will be renamed Claudia Cohen Hall has raised a few eyebrows.
Penn faculty and students expressed surprise that historic buildings such as Logan Hall could be renamed after donors.
Logan Hall, named after one of Penn's founding trustees, will be renamed this summer after Claudia Cohen, an entertainment journalist and a 1972 College of Women graduate who passed away last summer. The renaming was requested by her ex-husband, University trustee Ronald Perelman, who was given the option to rename Logan Hall after donating $20 million in 1995 for the renovation of several buildings, including Logan Hall.
John Zeller, associate vice president for development and alumni relations, explained that buildings with honorific names - like Logan Hall -can be renamed, but buildings with donor names - like Huntsman Hall - may carry restrictions. He added that because donor agreements are very specific, each might carry different terms for renaming donor buildings.
Still, he said that changing the name of a building like College Hall - which can technically be renamed - would have to be approved by the President and the trustees of the University.
History Professor Richard Beeman, who served as the Dean of the College from 1998-2005, said he was "a bit taken aback at the lack of transparency in this agreement."
He added that he was unaware of any potential name change in the donor agreement, even though he was the associate dean of humanities when Perelman donated the money in 1995.
Later as the College Dean, he was still not informed of any potential name changes.
Adrienne Martin, assistant professor in the Philosophy department, said that although she and her colleagues were not upset by the renaming, the announcement was "a little jarring."
Although naming buildings after donors has become a common practice, Beeman said that it's unusual to completely rename a building when buildings can have hyphenated names recognizing both the original name and that of the most recent donor, such as Steinberg-Dietrich Hall.
Students and alumni also raised concerns that renaming Logan Hall would erase the history of the building.
Ronald Shur, a 1977 Wharton graduate, said that Penn should observe the history and tradition of the University because the building is an "icon . not a whiteboard that you can constantly erase."
Despite the name change, students said that next fall they will continue to refer to the buildings as Logan Hall because of the name's longevity.
"It feels like [the building] already has a name, and the students have known the building as Logan Hall for the past 100 years," College senior Monica Toledo said.
"It doesn't make any sense to rename it," said College sophomore Kelly Allred. "It's unacceptable."Comments powered by Disqus
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