Iowa’s Late to the College Naming Sell-Out Game

The Hawkeyes are considering selling the name of their College of Public Health to Blue Cross for $15.

College sees dollar signs on its sign

The University of Iowa is considering whether to rename its College of Public Health after Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield’s foundation in exchange for a $15 million gift from the company’s philanthropic arm. Terry Burton, a naming-rights consultant based in Vancouver, British Columbia, says he believes Iowa would be the first public university to name a college after a corporation.

The offer has ignited a debate over where universities should draw the line when accepting corporate gifts.

A corporate name on a school could undermine the independence of researchers and create other conflicts, some educators say. Others see little reason to build a wall around academia.

That consultant from Iowa is way off on this being the first case. Look no further than the Carlson School of Management at the U. Some may say it’s named after Curt Carlson but this is the buy who named his company Carlson Companies, so was the school named after him or his company? Did he do it to promote himself or his company?

I’m sure there is a plaque or something around CSoM that makes it sound like it was named after the man rather than the company, but that was done simply to avoid the headlines Iowa’s getting for their efforts. Why don’t they simply get Trump to kick up some cash to they can play the CSoM game?

2 thoughts on “Iowa’s Late to the College Naming Sell-Out Game”

  1. Or consider the many rooms within CSOM blatantly named after 3M and other local corporations.

    I guess the way I see it is that the University’s job is to teach and do research. If these funds help accomplish that in an unbiased nature (i.e., no covenants or restrictions placed on the university by the donor), then I think it’s in the best interest of the school to accept the donation. If there are such restrictions (beyond the obvious name contract), then I do have an issue because the last thing we need is companies owning politicians AND schools, though they already have signficant influence over both.

    And, by the way, Go HAWKS!!

  2. No way would I let them rename the school for some damn corporation. Especially for a measly 15 mill! What would they do, drop the tuition by $500 for 1 year? Just name a building after them like everyone else.

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