Buildings named for profound faculty, alumni represent school’s history
Students at CU have their favorites, but have you ever wondered where buildings on CU’s campus got their names?
Some students had their own ideas about how the buildings on campus should be named.
“I think it would be cool if a building was named after an alumni that has done something students can relate to,” said Katya Hott, a senior linguistics major.
Troy Ruiz, a junior advertising major, said, “I think they should name a building after one of CU’s astronauts.”
Abi Carlton, a junior psychology major, said, “I would like to know where the name Norlin came from. Norlin is my favorite building because it is a quiet place to study, and it is pretty on the outside.”
Well, for all those interested, here is the way some of the buildings around campus received their names, in chronological order.
Old Main (1876): Old Main was the first and only building on campus when CU first opened.
Woodbury (1890): When Woodbury was built, it was the finest dormitory for men west of the Mississippi. It was named after Roger Williams Woodbury, a CU regent from 1884-1890. The building served as a temporary hospital during the 1918 flu epidemic. The building was converted for academic purposes in the 1920s.
Hale Science (1891): Named after Horace M. Hale, the second president of CU, part of the building was constructed without iron nails so that radio experiments could be conducted inside.
Ekeley Science Building (1896): The name Ekeley is in honor of Dr. John B. Ekeley, who was head of the chemistry department for 35 years. He also developed a purification process for tungsten ores needed for the war effort.
Guggenheim (1909): Guggenheim was the first privately-funded building built for CU. Senator Simon Guggenheim donated the building, which was originally the law school. The building was changed into the geography department in 1959. Interestingly enough, he also donated a matching building to the University of Northern Colorado. One of Senator Guggenheim’s brothers also founded the Guggenheim Museum in New York.
Sibell Wolle Fine Arts (1918): This building was named after Muriel Sibell Wolle, head of the arts department and famous for her artistry as well as her historical research of early mining camps and ghost towns in the West.
Macky Auditorium (1921): Andrew J. Macky, president of the First National Bank in Boulder, left CU $300,000 in his will to build an auditorium. There were some bumps in the construction process because Macky’s will was contested, but the building was finished after 13 years. Macky Auditorium is also rumored to be haunted by the ghost of student Elaura Jacquette, who was raped and murdered in the building by a janitor.
Hellems (1921): Hellems was originally the liberal arts building. It is named for Dr. Fred B.R. Hellems, dean of liberal arts and a Latin and classics professor. Hellems also represented the U.S. fencing team in the 1896 Olympics.
Clare Small (1928): This building was originally the women’s gymnasium and was the dream of Clare Hebard Small. Small created the Department of Physical Education for Women in 1918.
Sewall (1934): Sewall was named after Joseph Sewall, the first president of CU. This building was the first large residential facility for women.
Mary Rippon Outdoor Theater (1936): This outdoor theater was created in honor of one of the first women on CU’s faculty. Mary Rippon was a French and German professor in the second semester CU was open. When a male professor claimed to be better qualified and wanted her teaching position, students threatened a demonstration. Rippon married one of her students; however, she could not marry and keep her job, so she married in secret and had a daughter, which she also kept a secret. A 1944 production in the theater of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet” led to the establishment of the Colorado Shakespeare Festival.
Balch Fieldhouse (1936): This building was named after Roland “Doc” Balch, a loved physical education professor and coach. The building also served as a barracks for Naval trainees during WWII.
Norlin Library (1939): The library was named for George Norlin at the end of his 22-year career at CU as president and professor. During his presidency, enrollment tripled to 4,500 students.
Dalton Trumbo Fountain (1964): The fountain was dedicated to CU alumnus Dalton Trumbo in 1993. Trumbo was a famous Hollywood screenwriter, but became a victim of blacklisting during the McCarthy era.
For more information, visit the CU Heritage Center or visit http://www.colorado.edu/masterplan/tour/historical-tour.html