College renamed after banking billionaire’s wife gave $20 million

CNN August 18, 2015 0

The Weill family name brands quite a few buildings, and a college in upstate New York is in line to join the list. Joan Weill, the wife of Citigroup ( C ) creator Sandy Weill, is giving $20 million to Paul Smith’s College.

sandford and joan weill

The Weill family name brands quite a few buildings, and a college in upstate New York is in line to join the list.

Joan Weill, the wife of Citigroup (C) creator Sandy Weill, is giving $20 million to Paul Smith’s College. In exchange, the school will be renamed Joan Weill-Paul Smith’s College.

The school’s board of trustees said in a letter that it welcomes the change in light of “two decades of volunteer leadership and unprecedented financial support from philanthropists Joan and Sanford Weill.”

The university said the Weill’s have already donated $10 million and helped raise $30 million from other donors over the past 20 years. Joan Weill has also served on its board of trustees for 19 years, and the school’s library is already named for her. Weill, however, is an alumna of Brooklyn College.

The list of Weill-named institutions is a long one. In 1998, the family donated $350 million to Cornell, and part of it went to establishing the Weill Medical College. Its donations to the center have since topped $600 million.

The Weill name is also on a recital hall at Carnegie Hall, a public poilcy building at the University of Michigan, a music center at Sonoma State University and the Alvin Ailey Dance Foundation’s building in New York City.

The Chronicle of Philanthropy estimates that the family has given a total of $433 million to charity since 2006.

The school that will soon bear the Weill name is a private, four-year college that has about 1,000 undergraduates and was founded in 1937. In a statement, the school’s president said the Weill family’s latest donation will “provide a stabilizing financial foundation for the college.” The school did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

Paul Smith’s College was originally named for a wealthy hotel owner who bought up thousands of acres of New York’s Adirondacks.

The family’s foundation controlled nearly $74 million as of 2013, according to tax filings from the organization, and Forbes estimates the family’s net worth is more than $1 billion.

Sandy and Joan Weill also signed Warren Buffett and Bill Gate’s Giving Pledge — a commitment to by billionaires to give away the majority of their wealth to charity — which now has more than 570 signors.

In a letter on the pledge’s website, the Weill’s said they plan to give away all but a “small percentage allocated to our children and grandchildren.” They added that education is their philanthropic focus.

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CNNMoney (New York) August 18, 2015: 4:54 PM ET


Article originally posted in CNN Money website.

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