Name change causes Penn controversy

July 9, 2008 3:48:22 PM PDT
A campus controversy is the talk of the University of Pennsylvania. The Ivy League school has renamed one of its halls of higher education for a former editor of Page Six, that juggernaut of tabloid gossip.

It's one of the original magnificent historic buildings on Penn's campus: Logan Hall. But, it's not Logan Hall anymore. And the new name has campus tongues wagging.

James Logan was William Penn's personal secretary and one of the founding trustees of the University of Pennsylvania.

His name has been on this building since 1873.

But that name has been replaced by Claudia Cohen.

You may have seen Claudia Cohen talking celebrity gossip on TV or read her gossip columns in the New York Post.

Many in the Penn community were surprised when her name went up on a venerable old building.

There's gotta be a good reason for it. I guess somebody wrote a check," said Penn graduate Tim Maglione.

Claudia Cohen was once married to New York billionaire Ron Perelman. They're both Penn graduates, and he paid $20-million for the right to rename Logan Hall.

Cohen and Perelman divorced 14 years ago.

She died last year, and he decided to have the building named after her.

It's a common practice for benefactors to buy naming rights to university buildings.

But, some say this dishonors a historic figure.

"I think it should stay Logan Hall. That's what I've been used to. It's been quite awhile," said George Merva, a member of Penn's medical school faculty.

Others say they'll eventually get used to the new name, and the gossip will quickly die down.