The honored man might be headed to prison, his name disgraced by guilty pleas to corruption-related felonies, but Robert J. Mellow's name will continue to grace roadways, college buildings and parks throughout Lackawanna County.
Just a little more than two blocks from the William J. Nealon Federal Courthouse in Scranton, where Mellow was handed a 16-month prison sentence on Friday, stands the Mellow Theater at Lackawanna College. And it will keep that name.
Shortly after the sentence was handed down, Lackawanna College issued a statement noting that its board of trustees met Oct. 24 and after a lengthy and thoughtful discussion, a majority consensus … was reached to leave the Mellow Theater name as it currently stands. This decision was made exclusively in recognition of the 30 plus years of dedication and service of Sen. Robert J. Mellow and the direct benefits of his efforts in support of Lackawanna College and its students.
The theater might be the best known edifice bearing his name but is far from the only one.
Visitors drive up Bob Mellow Drive in Moosic to reach the offices of the Northeastern Pennsylvania Council of the Boy Scouts of America near Montage Mountain.
Marcel Cinquina, scout executive at the office, said the organization has asked government officials to look into changing the name but was told by Moosic borough and Lackawanna County that it's a private road and it's up to its owners to change it.
We want to change it and we've started discussions with the postal service to change it, said Cinquina, who said he's unsure of the origin. But he's certain he'd like to see it changed.
In addition to those tributes, there's Mellow Park in Blakely, another Bob Mellow Drive inside the Mid-Valley Industrial Park in Jessup, the Robert J. Mellow Center for Athletics and Wellness at Marywood University and the Mellow Family Children's Campus at Keystone College.
Earlier this year, when Mellow, who served for 40 years in the state Senate, pleaded guilty to two felonies, a Marywood spokesperson said no discussions had been held regarding what to do with the Mellow name.
On Friday, Juneann Greco issued a statement that sounded much like one released in March.
Marywood University's Center for Athletics and Wellness was named in honor of former Sen. Robert J. Mellow in recognition of his commitment to service on behalf of all the citizens of Northeast Pennsylvania, and of his support for Marywood University's continued mission of education in the area of community health and wellness. Any consideration for changing this honor would be made only after comprehensive private dialog among Marywood University principals.
A statement from Keystone College spokesman Fran Calpin shortly after the five-hour sentencing proceedings sounded similar: Since the sentencing of Sen. Mellow has only recently concluded, Keystone College has reached no final decision on this issue. We will carefully consider this matter and review all aspects of the situation before making a final decision.
Joseph Curran, executive director of the Ethics Institute of Northeast Pennsylvania at Misericordia University, said while some people may recall Mellow's misdeeds when driving on Bob Mellow Drive or walking into the Mellow Theater, he isn't so sure towns and organizations need to go on a renaming vendetta.
He said if Mellow's name was used because he secured funding, perhaps the name should stay. If the intent was to honor Mellow's career, consideration should be given to change it.
Curran said to suggest that Mellow's name be removed from everything wholesale is unwarranted, though understandable.
He cited Penn State and the Jerry Sandusky scandal and the way legendary football coach Joe Paterno's legacy was affected. The statue of the late coach was removed but his name remained on the library.