St. Ben's renames building named for Petters' parents

  • Updated: December 8, 2009 - 9:19 PM

College of St. Benedict sheds Petters name on auditorium

There's new fallout from the fraud conviction of Wayzata businessman Tom Petters, whose philanthropy was tainted by the Ponzi scheme he operated for more than a decade.

On Tuesday, the College of St. Benedict announced that it's changed the name of the Petters Auditorium at its art center to the Escher Auditorium in honor of Sister Firmin Escher, who died earlier this year after more than half a century of service to the central Minnesota school. She was a central figure in the development of the Benedicta Arts Center at the school.

The college said it made the name change after consulting with the Fred and Rosemary Petters family, whom the school described as "cherished friends" of St. Benedict. The building was named after Tom Petters' parents at his request after he made a $3 million donation to the school for the building in 2003.

Last week, Miami University in Ohio announced it would return slightly more than $5 million it received as donations from Petters, who pledged $14 million for academic programs on behalf of his late son, John, and daughter, Jennifer. The funds will go to Doug Kelley, the court-appointed receiver for the Petters estate.

DAVID PHELPS

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