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For Whom the Buildings are Named 2010

The names of the buildings on campus honor people who have contributed to the development of the university in one way or another. The majority of buildings are named for former faculty or administrators. In about equal numbers other names represent prominent Louisiana politicians who supported the school in the state legislature; members of the Board of Trustees of Southwestern Louisiana Industrial Institute [which governed the school until 1921] or the Louisiana Board of Education [which has evolved into the University of Louisiana Board of Supervisors and still governs the university]; and prominent Acadiana citizens. [Some people honored, of course, occupy more than one of these categories.] Recently buildings have been named to honor those who have donated substantial funds to the university.
The first building on campus, completed in June, 1901, housed administrative and faculty offices, classrooms, the library, and an auditorium. It was known as Main Hall until 1921 when it was renamed Martin Hall in honor of Robert Martin a state senator from St. Martinville who introduced the legislation in 1898 which led to the formation of SLII. Martin later served on both the SLII Board of Trustees and the Louisiana Board of Education. Edwin Lewis Stephens who was president of SLII/SLI, 1900-1937 considered Martin to be “The Father of Southwestern.” The second and third buildings on campus were dormitories. Foster Hall (1902) was a girls’ dormitory until 1905 when it was converted into the boys’ dormitory. [Most students before 1920 were younger than 18 since SLII was basically a high school.] It was named for Murphy J. Foster who was the Louisiana Governor who signed the 1898 act which established Southwestern. DeClouet Hall (1905) became the girls’ dormitory. Paul DeClouet was a member of the Louisiana legislature who strongly supported Southwestern in early state appropriation struggles. The first building used exclusively for classrooms was Brown Ayres Hall (1910). Mr. Ayres was a professor at Tulane who served on the Southwestern Board of Trustees. [This building burned down in 1972 in the most destructive fire ever on the campus.]

Two classroom buildings and two dormitories were constructed in the 1920s. Girard Hall (1923) was named from Mrs. Maxim A. Girard and her son Crow Girard who donated 25 acres of land to SLII which helped determine that the school would be established in Lafayette. Crow Girard, a lawyer and banker, also served on the SLII Board of Trustees. Science Hall, now Lee Hall, (1925) was named for James A. Lee, a druggist in New Iberia who served on the first SLII Board of Trustees. Judice Hall and Buchanan Hall were the two dormitories built in 1927. Alcide and J. Leo Judice were prominent businessmen and education supporters from Scott helped facilitate the growth of SLII. In 2003 this became Judice/Rickels Hall. Milton Rickels was on the English Department faculty from 1957 to 1986. [His wife, Patricia, also joined the English Department in 1957 and eventually became the Director of the Honors Program which is now housed in Judice/Rickels Hall. She died in 2009.] John C. Buchanan was a Lafayette businessman and engineer who served on the SLII Board of Trustees.

Several auxiliary buildings were added about the mid to late 1930s. O. K. Allen (1935) was originally a dining hall. It was named for the man who was Governor of Louisiana at the time of its construction. Earl K. Long Gymnasium (1939) was also named for the man who was Governor at the time. Bittle Hall (1939) -now the Post Office/Campus Police building – was the first student union center on campus. It was named for A. W. “Buddy” Bittle who joined the faculty in 1910 and served as Business Manager 1922-1940. [This was the first building on campus named for a Southwestern administrator/faculty member rather than a political figure.] The T. H. Harris Dormitory for women (1939) was named for the man who served as Louisiana Superintendent of Education 1908-1940 and chaired the Louisiana Board of Education which controlled Southwestern.

The greatest concentration of construction on campus occurred in 1939 and 1940 when 14 buildings were erected or remodeled with the help of monies provided by the New Deal program Public Works Administration. All of these buildings were dedicated during an elaborate weekend ceremony in May, 1940. The construction program included academic, dormitory, and special use structures. Burke Hall was named for Walter J. Burke, a New Iberia politician/lawyer who served on the Louisiana Board of Education. The name Hawthorne was added in 1997 in honor of Doris Hawthorne who was a generous benefactor to the university. Mouton Hall was named in honor of a prominent pioneer Lafayette family which included politicians, businessmen, and civic leaders. Broussard Hall was named for Robert F. Broussard of New Iberia who served in the United States congress from 1894 until his death in 1917. Parker Hall was named from John M. Parker who served as governor of Louisiana, 1920-1924. Hamilton Hall was the Elementary Training School until that program was closed in the 1970s. Fuller M. Hamilton was on the faculty for 23 years and served for part of that time as Dean of the College of Education.

Stephens Memorial Library was the first building on campus built for that purpose. Edwin Lewis Stephens was president of Southwestern from January, 1900 to January, 1938. The Women’s Gymnasium was named in honor of Miss Hugh D. McLaurin who taught women’s physical education for over 40 years. McNaspy Stadium and Dormitory (located where the Oliver Computer Science Hall now stands) was actually the third football field/track facility on campus. Initially these activities took place on a field behind Martin Hall known as Girard Field. The SLI Stadium (1926-27) stood basically where the Student Union parking lot is now. McNaspy Stadium was named for Clement J. McNaspy who taught physics and chemistry and served as athletic director, 1909-1933. The Saucier Clinic and Infirmary was named for M. E. Saucier who had served as Southwestern’s physician for many years and was briefly on the Louisiana Board of Education. The women’s dormitory, Evangeline Hall, was named for the heroine of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s poem Evangeline. In the early 20th century this portion of south Louisiana was known as the “Evangeline Country.” [It is ironic that the man who was president of Southwestern when all this construction was accomplished, Lether E. Frazar, has never been honored with a building named for him.]

Following World War II (941-1945) Southwestern experienced a rapid growth in the number of students, but the physical plant expanded much more slowly. Blackham Coliseum (1948) was named for Stafford M. Blackham who was a member of the College of Agriculture faculty from 1935 until his death in 1945. Three women’s dormitories were built in 1950 Huger Hall was named for Emily H. Huger who had been Chair of the Art Department from 1921 until her death I 1945. Baker Hall was named for Elizabeth “Lady” Baker who was the first female dormitory Matron when SLII was founded. Randolph Hall was named for the family of Beverly Randolph Stephens who was a member of the original SLII faculty for a year before she married President Stephens. The first post-war classroom building was Montgomery Hall (1952) named for William A. Montgomery a Lafayette druggist who was also a prominent politician and a member of the Louisiana Board of Education. Madison Hall (1957) was named for H. Flood Madison, a friend of President Joel L. Fletcher, Jr., who was a long-time member of the Louisiana Board of Education. Billeaud Hall (1958) was named for Martial Billeaud, Sr., a sugar planter and owner of a sugar mill from Broussard. Three men’s dormitories were completed in 1957. (All three were demolished in 2002-2003 to make way for Legacy Park – which is not named for anyone.) McCullough Hall was named for Rex McCullough who worked for Southwestern as Director of Public Relations and Dean of Men. He was also was elected to the Louisiana Senate where he furthered the interests of Southwestern. Roy Hall was named for J. Arthur Roy who served on the SLII Board of Trustees. [He also owned the Roy House which was purchased by the university in the 1990s.] Caffery Hall was named for Charles D. Caffery who was mayor of Lafayette when SLII was founded in 1900 and was the father of Ambassador Jeffery Caffery.

A number of major buildings were constructed in the 1960s and 1970s. Dupré Library (1962) was originally a one floor structure. The upper two floors were added 1965-1967 and the entire building was remodeled and expanded 1997-2000. The library was named for Edith Garland Dupré who chaired the English Department from when it was founded until her retirement in 1944 and directed the operation of the library from when the school opened in 1901 until a professional librarian was hired in 1923. In 1964 a new Martin Hall which only housed administrative offices was erected immediately behind the old Martin Hall which was demolished. F. G. Mouton Hall (1964) was named for Frank G. Mouton, a member of the SLII Board of Trustees in the 1910s. Angelle Hall (1965) was named for Robert J. Angelle, a Breaux Bridge banker who served in the Louisiana legislature for many years. Wharton Hall (1967) was named for Vernon Wharton who served as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts from 1957 until his sudden death in 1964. Doucet Hall (1967) was named for Maxim D. Doucet, a long-time faculty member and Dean of the College of Education. Griffin Hall (1972) was named for Harry L. Griffin who joined the faculty in 1912 and served as Dean of the College of Liberal Arts for 30 years. Fletcher Hall (1977) was named for Joel Lafayette Fletcher, Jr. who worked at Southwestern for 45 years, 24 of those as the third president. Dormitories erected in these decades were named for a disparate group of individuals. Bonin Hall (1962) was named for Louisiana Senator Elmore Bonin of St. Martinville who introduced the legislation authorizing the name change from Southwestern Louisiana Institute to University of Southwestern Louisiana. Voorhies Hall (built 1965, demolished 2003) was named for Edward G., Voorhies, and early contributor to the effort to get Southwestern established in Lafayette. Bancroft Hall (1968) was named for Anne Delie Bancroft, a long-time member of the English Department. Denbo Hall (1968) was named for Anne Margaret Denbo, a Lafayette civic leader during the early 20th century who championed public education in the parish. Stokes Hall (1968) was named for W. B. “Daddy” Stokes who was a long-time faculty member in the Mathematics Department.

Bourgeois Hall (1996) was named for Vesta R. Bourgeois, a SLI graduate who served as a faculty member in Women’s Physical Education from 1927 to 1968. Rougeou Hall was named for Clyde L. Rougeou who joined the College of Agriculture faculty in 1937 and then served as the university’s fourth president, 1966-1974. Abdalla Hall is named for a prominent Acadiana business family whose members were also important civic leaders. The James R. Oliver Computer Science Building is named for a graduate of Southwestern who joined the faculty teaching chemistry and became an administrator. Along with Zeke Loflin of the Mathematics Department Oliver was instrumental in getting the computer science program started on this campus at a very early date in the evolution of computer technology.

The recent trend in naming buildings has been to recognize those who have made large monetary donations to the university. B. I. Moody, III for whom the College of Business building is named is a post WW II graduate of SLI who became a very prominent Acadiana businessman. The U.L. Foundation building is named for Chantal and F. K. Dowty who contributed substantial funds to the university. The Art Museum (which was paid for entirely by private donations and no state funds) is named for Paul and Lulu Hilliard who were major benefactors to the fund-raising effort.

Published in the June 23 and July 7, 2010 issues of The Vermilion and reprinted in the Athletic Network with permission of the author.

Bruce Turner bturner@louisiana.edu

I. Bruce Turner Ph.D., C.A.
Head of Special Collections
Edith Garland Dupré Library
University of Louisiana at Lafayette
P.O. Box 40199
Lafayette, LA 70504

337.482-5702 [voice] 337.482-5841 [fax]