The Lane Train

News and Pop Culture for the Blog Generation

UPenn: Where Money Gladly Ruins Years of Esteemed Tradition

Posted by thelanetrain on July 7, 2008

Ah, the Ivy League.  Eight incredible schools tied together by a so-so athletic conference, steeped in tradition, academic excellence, and assloads of cold hard cash.  And in the tradition of most Ivy League institutions, capitalism is the name of the game:  If you can buy it, you can have it named after you.  Thanks to this enduring spirit, one of UPenn’s most cherished buildings is now named after the former editrix of Page Six, arguably New York’s trashiest gossip rag (and where I get a lot of my news, ironically).  How very scandalous indeed…

After The Jump: How on Earth did nobody try to stop this?

That tradition of buying buildings for one’s own personal glorification was no doubt executed at the University of Pennsylvania this weekend, when Logan Hall, which had been named so for over 100 years, was recently changed to Claudia Cohen Hall.  What?  How did this happen?  According to The New York Times, Cohen (Penn ’72) was at one point married to Ronald O. Perelman, the New York Billionaire who already has a piece of the campus named for him.  Although the couple split in 1994, Perelman gained naming rights after a $20 million donation in 1995.  Last year, Ms. Cohen died of ovarian cancer, and in the wake of the tragedy, Perelman decided to execute those rights and get a building named after his late ex-wife.

According to the campus website, Claudia Cohen (Logan) Hall currently serves as the epicenter for The College at Penn, UPenn’s undergraduate school of liberal arts, and houses offices for the Dean of the College and the Dean of Freshmen for the college, as well as the Womens Studies, Ancient History, and Classical Studies departments, to name a few.  Isn’t it strangely ironic that such an important academic building will now commemorate the life and times of a woman who was famous for spreading Hollywood gossip, attempting to take over multiple outlets of the local New York newsmedia, and essentially creating the modern day version of the poop-rag that is Page Six today?

About 30 miles up the river, a bunch of Princeton students are laughing their asses off…

(Photograph via The New York Times)

Update 3:06pm: With all due respect for the dead, naming your buildnig with someone’s actual name attached to it does open up the fantastic opportunity to say things like, “Hey guess what I did this afternoon?  I [insert inappropriate past-tense gesture] (inside) Claudia Cohen today!”

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