Honorable mention: Stewart and Lynda Resnick
December 26, 2006
Stewart and Lynda Resnick of Aspen and California, international entrepreneurs and founders of the Franklin Mint, made multiple headlines in Aspen this year, much to their chagrin.
The Resnicks pledged $4 million for the renovation of various facilities at the Aspen Institute’s local campus, which one institute officer said had “not been touched in 50 years” in terms of upgrades or maintenance work.Part of the project was the renovation of what had been known for decades as Paepcke Auditorium, the main public performance and presentation venue on campus. The institute’s leadership decided out of gratitude to put the Resnicks’ name on the auditorium, in spite of the fact that it was universally identified with Institute founder Walter Paepcke. Paepcke is the man most associated with Aspen’s 20th-century resurgence from a defunct silver-mining ghost town to an international resort.When news of the naming proposal broke Aug. 11, it prompted a negative outcry from the public that surprised just about everyone, including the Resnicks and Institute leaders. Letters to the editor vilified the Resnicks and lambasted the institute’s leadership.
The furor quieted down later that month, when Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson announced that the auditorium would retain the Paepcke monicker.At the same time, the Resnicks announced they would not be paying for the renovation of the auditorium, although Lynda Resnick said the couple would continue to support the Institute in general.