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The price of getting a Texas law school named after you — at least in Lubbock — is apparently in flux. In late May, the Texas Tech University Board of Regents balked at a deal in which Beaumont, Texas, tort king and Texas Tech law graduate Wayne A. Reaud would give $12.5 million to the university’s law school in exchange for having his and his wife’s name on the school. Reaud’s donation has not yet been accepted by the school. The board is now considering officially establishing a $25 million threshold before changing a name of any Tech building, including the law school, in exchange for a donation. The proposed name change to the Wayne and Dana Reaud School of Law ruffled the feathers of many Tech law school alums and a few faculty members. But the issue is really a matter of policy rather than controversy, according to Tech officials. “It’s a great gift. But it’s just at what price do you have a naming?” says Cindy Rugeley, a Tech vice chancellor. Jim Sowell, chairman of the Tech Board of Regents, says the university had an advertised $30 million goal for changing the names of any of its eight schools as part of a fund-raising drive. And Reaud’s offer just wasn’t enough for a name change, he says. “I want to re-emphasize that the offer of his gift was very generous,” Sowell says. “We’d be willing to name a number of things for that amount. But we only get to offer the name of the law school one time and it needs to be for a significant amount and it needs to be for the level that we set.” The university has never had an official policy on naming schools or buildings after donors and is currently considering one, Rugeley says. “They’ve just discussed it pretty much along the lines that they want to adopt a proposal on naming. Right now they want it to be $25 million,” Rugeley says. The Tech Board of Regents’ next meeting is in August. And it’s not clear if a naming policy proposal will be on the agenda. “It was always a dollars and cents issue,” Rugeley says. “It doesn’t have anything to do with the fact that it’s Wayne Reaud.” Reaud did not return two calls for comment. TROUBLE GETTING DONATIONS But some Tech alums felt a bit queasy about having Reaud’s name affixed to the school, who was part of a group of five lawyers who represented the state in a $17.3 billion settlement with cigarette makers. The lawyers later dropped a 15 percent contingent-fee contract and accepted a $3.3 billion award from an arbitration panel. “It’s definitely controversial,” says Tech law school Professor Marilyn Phelan. “I think the students and the alums were concerned that they’d become graduates of the Wayne and Dana Reaud School of Law.” And those concerns are understood by Dean W. Frank Newton, who originally approached Reaud about a donation with Tech Chancellor John Montford three years ago. “I don’t deny for a moment that people are unhappy in general with recognition. Some may have some political affiliations,” Newton says. “It’s no secret that the tobacco lawyers and the Republican Party and the governor of Texas are not very friendly to the deal and all the members of my board are appointed by Gov. Bush. But the reality is that all universities with significant foundations have schools that give recognition to donors,” Newton says. Newton says the name change is in line with the university’s Horizon campaign, which was launched three years ago in an effort to focus on major donors and possibly reward them by naming colleges or schools after them. But because the law school is relatively young — only 30 years old — it’s had trouble attracting large donations from established graduates, he says. “My opinion would be it would be better to take the donation [and change the school's name] now,” Newton says. “To be honest with you, the board of regents were concerned that if they took a gift lower than the stated amount, it would lower the price” for other schools. In November 1998, Reaud and the four other tobacco plaintiffs lawyers picked Newton to serve as their non-neutral member on an arbitration panel to decide legal fees in the tobacco case. Newton has said that there was no quid pro quo between his serving as an arbitrator and the proposed donation because his contact with Reaud preceded his serving as an arbitrator.

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