After Corcoran Hearing Closing Arguments, Cy Près Decision Expected Soon

D.C. Superior Court Judge Robert Okun will render a decision on the Corcoran petition before Aug. 20.
Corcoran
August 11, 2014

By Brittney Dunkins

Following last Wednesday’s closing arguments, D.C. Superior Court Judge Robert Okun announced that he will render a decision before Aug. 20 in the evidentiary hearing on the historic agreement that the Corcoran is seeking with the George Washington University and the National Gallery of Art.

The Board of Directors of the Corcoran filed a cy près petition with the D.C. Superior Court on June 17.  Judge Okun’s written order will decide whether the Corcoran’s petition is approved. Approval of the petition is necessary before the agreement, which would establish the George Washington University Corcoran School of the Arts and Design, can move forward.

George Washington President Steven Knapp was among the first witnesses called in the hearing on the Corcoran’s petition.

“We are excited about the prospect of having the faculty, students and legacy of the Corcoran become a part of our institution,” Dr. Knapp said in testimony. “This partnership is an opportunity to create a historic and powerful example of arts education in our nation’s capital and a true model of what arts education in the 21st century can be.”

Dr. Knapp and 10 other witnesses took the stand during seven days of testimony at the hearing which Judge Okun granted after ruling that seven current students, one faculty member and one staff member of the Corcoran have a special interest and right to intervene in the approval of the petition.

In addition to testimony and other evidence,  the record produced by the hearing included a report written by an accreditation team reviewing the Corcoran to the Middle States Commission on Higher Education, an accreditation body. The report was presented at the hearing in support of the Corcoran’s cy près petition.


D.C. Superior Court Judge Robert Okun announced that he will render a decision before Aug. 20 in the evidentiary hearing on the historic agreement that the Corcoran is seeking with the George Washington University and the National Gallery of Art.


Excerpts of the report, read aloud during testimony, voiced the team’s unanimous support for the proposed collaboration among GW, the Corcoran and the National Gallery of Art.

“We commend [Interim Director and] President [Peggy] Loar and her leadership team for forging such an imaginative arrangement with GW and the National Gallery, one that preserves the core strengths of the Corcoran while relieving it of its financial burden,” the accreditation team report stated.

Should the agreement be implemented, the university will undertake an initial $25 million renovation to maintain the structural integrity of the historic Corcoran building, located on 17th Street, and develop plans over time to complete renovations to enhance academic and programming space that would be financed through fundraising and university operations.

Dr. Knapp outlined the university’s vision of providing world-class interdisciplinary academic opportunities for Corcoran students during his testimony.

He also reaffirmed the university’s commitment to enabling currently enrolled or admitted Corcoran students to graduate from GW under the same requirements that applied when they were admitted or enrolled.

“What matters in this agreement is the mission,” Dr. Knapp said. “GW’s mission is to preserve this historic arts institution in the nation’s capital and help students take advantage of the opportunities that we can offer through this agreement.”