AlbanyGirl, on 10 February 2013 - 09:40 AM, said:
Oh, how I agree. Privately, I still call it the better name! IMO, a truly cultured philanthropist would have insisted on no name change.
I know this is a tangent, so I'll be brief. We've discussed the use of power by philanthropists in other threads, but I just wanted to raise a hand here -- I understand the desire for recognition, and don't really mind it when new projects are named for the donors that fund them, but it is hard when a well-known title is discarded after years of use for a new name that reflects a substantial gift. Here in Seattle we've had an ironical experience in the last few years. Our opera house, which was opened using public money in the first half of the 20th c as the Civic Auditorium, and was translated into the Opera House in the 1960s, was remodeled extensively in the 90s and renamed in honor of the main donors' mother (it is officially Marion Oliver McCaw Hall -- I was lobbying for the familiar name to be Mom Hall, but it's McCaw Hall in all our listings). At around the same time a group of local donors helped to fund a new project for the local art museum -- an outdoor sculpture park. They insisted that it be named after the mountain range you see from the part, so it is the Olympic Sculpture Park. One of the donors, who was the most insistent on not using donor names, died recently -- Mary Shirley was a major participant in the local art world, gave money thoughtfully and generously, and whenever I see the park mentioned in the press, I'm always grateful for the relative anonymity of the gift.
Not so brief after all, and I apologize, but I wanted to say something about her in public and this seemed like the appropriate place.