University of Iowa Considers Naming Health College after Wellmark

The University of Iowa will reconsider a proposal to rename its health college after Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield, school officials said Monday.

The announcement follows an initial vote earlier this month in which college faculty rejected Wellmark’s offer to donate $15 million to the university if the insurance company could put its name on the UI’s College of Public Health. Faculty cited concerns about the perceived conflict of interest and the potential impact on research.

Wellmark withdrew its donation offer after the rejection, but the deal got new life Monday when faculty held an emergency meeting and voted to reconsider accepting Wellmark’s gift.

“The faculty gratefully recognizes the unique and generous gift offer from the Wellmark Foundation,” according to the resolution faculty passed Monday. “The faculty resolves to move forward and consider this naming gift at a collegiate faculty meeting early in the academic year.”

The resolution has been sent to Wellmark, the UI administration and state Board of Regents President Michael Gartner.