UO approves new name for Cedar Hall after DeNorval Unthank, Jr., the first Black student to graduate from the School of Architecture and Allied Arts
The University of Oregon Board of Trustees voted unanimously to change the name of Cedar Hall to Unthank Hall on Friday morning, ending the decision on what to rename the wing of Hamilton dorm.
Cedar Hall, a dorm located on the east side of the University, was the temporary name of Dunn Hall. The university stripped its name in fall 2016 because of Frederic Dunn’s racist history. Frederic Dunn was a Latin professor and the head of the Department of Classics at UO, but was also a known member of the Ku Klux Klan. He worked at the University of Oregon in the early 20th century.
On May 24, President Schill recommended naming the hall after DeNorval Unthank, Jr., the first Black graduate of the School of Architecture and Allied Arts. Unthank was also an activist in Oregon for minorities and Black communities and a visiting lecturer at UO in the 1970s. He had a successful career in the Eugene area, including designing McKenzie Hall.
“This physical space is a reminder to us all that this extraordinary man overcame racial discrimination as a child in Portland as well as discrimination and overt acts of hatred at the University of Oregon,” President Schill wrote in his memo recommending the new name.
Unthank passed away in 2000. He was 71.
Unthank was one of the four possible new names for Dunn Hall. Other individuals the school considered were Unthank’s father, DeNorval Unthank Sr., dean of the UO School of Law, and Nellie Louise Franklin, the first African-American woman at UO.
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