The University of Iowa has rejected a proposal to name its College of Public Health after Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield.
The colleges faculty voted against the idea Thursday, saying that naming the college after an insurance companyin exchange for a multimillion-dollar donation from Wellmarkcould present a conflict of interest.
The two sides could still reach a deal, said James Merchant, a college dean. He said Wellmark may consider donating money if it is allowed to rename the college after someone of its choice.
We are still interested in exploring options for an appropriate naming, Merchant told reporters after the lengthy emergency faculty meeting.
Gov. Chet Culver and college faculty raised concerns earlier this week about renaming the college if Wellmark donated money to the school. The Wellmark Foundation board discussed a potential gift Tuesday, said Wellmark spokesman Angela Feig.
Regent Robert Downer said the proposed gift would be $15 million. Downer raised concerns about a possible conflict of interest because of continuing contractual relationships between the university and Wellmark. Wellmark is a major payer to the University of Iowa Hospitals and administers insurance plans for all the state's public universities.
Critics were also concerned that the proposal would set a precedent of naming a UI college after a corporation or private entity. In the past, colleges have been named after individuals who have made significant contributions to the university. -- by the Associated Press