Garrison Keillor has been removed from the University of Minnesota's Scholars Walk, which pays tribute to students and professors from the university.
"I was never a scholar. The plaque was an embarrassment," Keillor told the Star Tribune on Monday after being asked for comment. "I'm a writer. We don't need plaques, we have books."
The action was first reported Sunday by the Minnesota Daily, the campus newspaper. But according to the university, it removed the plaque Jan. 19 as part of a planned rotation to represent 13 new names, including former Vice President Hubert Humphrey, Minneapolis writer/rapper Dessa and Minnesota Lynx player Lindsay Whalen.
"The panels were designed to be rotated on a regular basis in order to keep the gallery dynamic and highlight a larger group of individuals over time," said a university statement released Monday. In all, five panels were removed, among them heart transplant pioneer Dr. Norman Shumway and Nobel Prize-winning physicist Walter Brattain. A variety of factors figure into the display, the statement said, "including whether the person meets the standards the university holds for members of its community."
Minnesota Public Radio severed its ties with the longtime host of "A Prairie Home Companion" 2½ months ago over accusations that he subjected a woman who worked for the show to "dozens of sexually inappropriate incidents ... over a period of years."
Keillor graduated from the university in 1966 with a bachelor's degree in English. He also started his radio career there, at what is now known as Radio K. In a second e-mail to the Star Tribune, he said: "I guess the University library will be returning my papers. And I should probably scratch the U from my resume. But I'll still go to hockey games."
He donated his personal papers to the University of Minnesota Libraries several years ago after a request from library officials there, he said in a Facebook post.
Keillor was at a Gopher hockey game as recently as last month, according to one of many Facebook postings he has made since an employee accused him of sexually inappropriate behavior in the workplace. Following an outside investigation, MPR cut all ties to its biggest name, changed the name of "A Prairie Home Companion" to "Live From Here" and eliminated Keillor-hosted shows from its online archive. MPR and Keillor have been in negotiations for the past two months regarding next steps.
"Live From Here," hosted by Chris Thile, will return to St. Paul's Fitzgerald Theater on Feb. 24, its first broadcast from Minnesota since the scandal broke. Keillor is scheduled to give his first public performance of the year four days later in Prescott, Ariz.
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