Months after a federal jury sided with the University of the Cumberlands in a lawsuit filed against it by its former president Dr. James Taylor and his wife, Dinah Taylor, the school is apparently taking steps to distance itself from the couple.
The aquatic center, which was formerly named after Dinah Taylor, now has new signage calling it the “Patriots Aquatic Center.” In addition, a portion of the Correll Science Center previously bearing the couple’s name also has new signage.
The signage at the front of the football stadium now says, “Home of the Patriots” rather than listing its official name, the “James H. Taylor II Memorial Stadium,” which is named after the couple’s late son, Jim, who died on May 20, 1991.
“The UC Board of Trustees voted earlier this year to adjust signage for the stadium, Aquatic Center, and Correll Science Center. The stadium continues to be named the ‘James H. Taylor II Memorial Stadium’ in honor of Dr. and Mrs. Taylor’s son, Jim. A permanent plaque in Jim’s honor is located at the entrance to the stadium,” UC spokesperson Andy Powell said in a statement to the News Journal.
“The University has undertaken a number of significant renovations of the stadium facility this summer. Improvements have been made to the track surface, property fencing, and scoreboard. The exterior signage was adjusted to better reflect the multipurpose usage of the facility, which is home to the University’s football, lacrosse, and track and field teams.”
Dr. Taylor retired as president of UC in October 2015 after serving 35 years as the school’s president.
The couple filed suit against the university in June 2016 seeking more than $4 million in damages claiming that the school wouldn’t honor a contract that they claimed was approved by the school’s board of trustees in April 2012. The lawsuit alleged that the university agreed to pay Dr. Taylor his salary for life after he retired in addition to other benefits, such as providing a car, cell phone, and an apartment on campus for when the couple were in Williamsburg.
According to testimony from several of the plaintiff’s witnesses, and the minutes of the meeting, the contract had been read during the executive session and unanimously approved.
However, the defense called several trustees as witnesses of their own, who stated that no contract was ever approved.
After hearing eight days of testimony, the jury deliberated for more than four hours before finding that the couple did not have a valid, enforceable contract with the university.
The News Journal received phone calls Monday regarding rumors that the university planned to paint over or remove murals located inside a dome at the Grace Crum Rollins Fine Arts Center and inside at the old Cumberland Inn, which was recently converted from a hotel into student housing.
In response to the News Journal’s inquiry about the rumor, Powell said that the murals in those two facilities had not been modified and he wasn’t aware of any plans to modify the domes in those two facilities.
Both domes depict cherubs and symbols of children, who have passed away, including James and Dinah Taylor’s late son, Jim.