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National U Holds Off on Name Change to Honor Donor Investigated for Child Porn

September 8, 2020
 
 

In October, National University announced it would be changing its name to Sanford National University to honor California philanthropist T. Denny Sanford, who gave $350 million to the university in an effort to reduce tuition.

That change was supposed to take place in July. But the university, a nonprofit that caters to nontraditional learners online, is holding off following news reports that Sanford was the subject of a South Dakota child pornography investigation.

“In light of recent developments, for the foreseeable future, National University will continue under its existing name. The Board of National University will continue to follow this matter closely,” the university said in a statement.

Sanford’s lawyer told La Jolla Light that Sanford has not been charged with any crime.

Multiple institutions at the University of California, San Diego, are also named after Sanford, including a stem cell clinical center and an institute for empathy and compassion. At National University, his gifts have supported the Sanford Harmony and Sanford Inspire programs, which address children and teachers, and the Sanford Institute of Philanthropy, which teaches fundraising skills.

Sanford’s involvement in the investigation was first reported by ProPublica and further confirmed by the Argus Leader.

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