The Nashville International Airport Could Get a Name Change to Honor Oprah Winfrey: Here’s Why

Oprah Winfrey smiling

Oprah | Mike Windle/Getty Images

How awesome would it be to have an airport named after the great and powerful Oprah Winfrey?

Pretty awesome right?

A Tennessee councilwoman has brought attention to the reasons why the Nashville International Airport should be renamed to honor Oprah Winfrey. One of the main reasons being she got her television start right in Tennessee.

A Tennessee Councilwoman suggested the name change

Councilwoman Sharon Hurt suggested the airport name change in early November. She sent a formal letter to the chairman of the Metropolitan Nashville Airport Authority.

Hurt—who was successful in renaming a stretch of Charlotte Avenue in downtown Nashville after Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.—has proposed a plan to rename the Nashville Airport, “The Oprah G. Winfrey Nashville International Airport”.

The airport CEO turned down the name change

Councilwoman Hurt received a letter from Airport CEO Doug Kreulen stating the name change would violate naming policies. According to airport officials, a name change cannot take place unless the individual has been deceased for at least two years.

Nashville Airport CEO does not believe Orpah Winfrey meets the certain criteria.

“It’s Oprah,” Hurt said in an interview. “Nashville is in a very unique position to be able to offer that type of recognition to someone that’s very deserving.”

Actress and TV talk show host Oprah Winfrey poses with the Cecil B. DeMille Award during the 75th Golden Globe Awards

| Frederic J. Brown/AFP/Getty Images

“I think it’s a grand opportunity for us to recognize someone of Oprah’s stature,” she said.

Hurt believes that this name change is especially fitting since the Nashville Airport is undergoing multi-billion-dollar renovations at the moment and having a new name to go along with it would be a very strategic move.

Nashville Airport Authority board has the final say

Even though councilwoman Sharon Hurt was able to propose her idea to the airport council, the airport authority board has the final say when it comes to the renaming of the facility.

They are very adamant when it comes to their policies and believes that the only way for the airport to be renamed after a person, is if that person is deceased and has made a “substantial contribution” to the airport.

A letter written in return to Councilwoman Hurt from the airport authority board read, “Both the president/CEO of the authority and I agree that Ms. Winfrey’s achievements and accolades are too numerous to recite, however, renaming the airport after Ms. Winfrey does not meet the criteria established by the (airport authority).”

Why can’t the airport honor Oprah Winfrey

Everyone knows Oprah Winfrey as the ultimate influence.  Coming from a rough childhood and creating a name for herself in the television industry, Winfrey has accomplished things many of us dream of.

Oprah Winfrey got her start in Nashville at a local television station, which was the platform that jumpstarted her career.

oprah and desmond tutu in 2000

Oprah Winfrey greets former archbishop Desmond Tutu in December 2000. | STR/AFP/Getty Images

Nashville has been said to have done a poor job acknowledging the contributions of minorities and Councilwoman Hurt made a point to mention that fact in a letter she sent up to the mayor of Nashville explaining her plan.

Hurt understands the policies and rules the airport has to uphold but states, “I think that Oprah has accomplished and achieved the greatness that we will never see in our lifetime,” Hurt said. “She’s that and all of that. Because of that and the ties that we have, I think this is an opportunity we have to immediately honor and recognize her.”

Why wait until someone of such greatness leaves this earth for us to finally honor them?

This is the time to show individuals of great influence that we appreciate their contributions and we hope that Councilwoman Hurt will eventually have a chance to honor Oprah Winfrey with her plan in the near future.