Three Area Colleges Remove Mellow’s Name from Campus Buildings
SCRANTON –Tuesday night’s “Guitars and Stars” performance turned out to the last event at the Mellow Theater in Scranton. Lackawanna College’s Board of Trustees changed the facility’s name to The Theater at Lackawanna College, and Thursday Morning, work crews stripped Mellow’s name from the entrance.
“Having someone who was corrupt despite the amount of good he did do, it’s a good thing that they did it,” said Lackawanna College sophomore Eli Downie of Blakeslee.
Bob Mellow is serving a 16-month prison term after pleading guilty to corruption charges last year in federal court.
At the time, Lackawanna College trustees voted to keep Mellow’s name on the theater. But trustees reconsidered when the state attorney general’s office last month tacked on new criminal charges.
Mellow is now accused of taking kickbacks from a pay-to-play scheme involving the Pennsylvania Turnpike Commission.
“It had to be a difficult decision for a lot of the trustees,” said Thom Welby of Scranton, himself a Lackawanna College Trustee from 2006-2012.
Welby says many current trustees have close personal ties with the politician-turned-felon.
“That has caused all of the good that he has been done to be tainted for that reason they had to make a difficult decision, I think, of taking the name away,” Welby added.
On Thursday, Lackawanna College was the first of three schools to announce the removal of the disgraced former state senator’s name from well-known campus buildings.
Marywood University trustees voted this weekend to change the Bob Mellow Athletics and Wellness Center to The Marywood University Center for Athletics and Wellness.
And at Keystone College, officials removed Mellow’s name from its family center building.
Spokespersons for all three schools say their actions were independent, even though the announcements came on the same day.
It was in Mellow`s hometown of Blakely that got the ball rolling. In March, the borough voted to take Mellow`s name off the Bob Mellow Recreation and Sports Complex.
“I’ve never gone to a Blakely borough meeting until that one, and I was very shocked that they did, but I think it was an excellent move,” said Frank Hoehle of Blakely.
However, Mellow`s name remains inside the library in Blakely.
Bob Mellow Drive, off the Casey Highway in Jessup, remains the most prominent local landmark to keep the former politician’s name.
“I don`t think he`s somebody that people should look up to, and they should drop all the names off buildings, these corrupt politicians,” said Hoehle.
At Lackawanna College, the Mellow name remains on posters on the hall outside the theater that commemorate past plays and concerts. But trustees took away what many see as an honor, by stripping his name from a theater attended by tens of thousands of people each year.
The names of the two buildings at Marywood and Lackawanna sound almost generic. But since the Marywood facility brings in crowds for sporting events, and the theater at Lackawanna College sees thousands of concert and play goers every year, officials at both schools say the possibility of making money selling naming rights to a corporation can now be considered.