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Do you know which DU building is named after the victim of a boating accident, or who is behind the name of DU’s fabled J-Mac? Of the University’s 80 buildings, 29 are named for individuals. From a legendary phys ed teacher to a wilting violet, their stories might be forgotten if not for their names emblazoned on bricks and mortar.


Ammi Hyde

Ammi Hyde

Ammi Hyde Building

The home of DU’s College of Education is named for one of DU’s most beloved early professors. Ammi Hyde was born in Oxford, N.Y., in 1824. In 1880 his wife’s ill health drew him west to teach Greek and Latin at DU. Hyde served as acting chancellor from 1889-90, and in 1894 the ordained Methodist minister became the first pastor of the University Park United Methodist Church. Hyde retired in 1911 after 70 years of teaching but remained active in campus activities until his death in 1921 at the age of 97.


Barton Lacrosse Stadium

Completed in 2005, Barton Stadium is named in memory of Peter Barton (1951-2002), an adjunct professor in DU’s Daniels College of Business and former president and CEO of Liberty Media Corp. Barton’s passion for coaching youth lacrosse led his wife, Laura, to donate $2.75 million toward the 1,800-seat DU stadium — the only collegiate facility of its kind in the nation.


Boettcher Center

The Boettcher Center is named for the Colorado-based Boettcher Foundation, which was incorporated in 1937 by Charles Boettcher and his son Claude. The Boettcher Center opened in 1963 as the Boettcher Center For Science, Engineering and Research. The Boettcher Foundation has given out more than $200 million dollars since its inception, including more than $15 million in philanthropic gifts to DU.


Buchtel Tower and Buchtel Bungalow

The Buchtel Tower is the sole remaining piece of a chapel that was destroyed by fire in 1983. It was originally dedicated in 1917 as the Memorial Chapel to honor DU alumni who perished in World War I. In 1946 it was renamed the Buchtel Chapel in memory of Henry Buchtel (1874-1924), who served as DU chancellor from 1900-24 and Colorado governor from 1907-09. The Buchtel Bungalow, located at the corner of East Evans Avenue and South Columbine Street, was Buchtel’s residence from 1905 until his death. It is undergoing renovation to once again become the chancellor’s residence.


Humphrey Chamberlin

Humphrey Chamberlin

Chamberlin Observatory

The observatory is named for amateur astronomer Humphrey Chamberlin, who in 1888 gave the University $56,000 to purchase a telescope and construct the observatory. Born in England in 1847, Chamberlin brought his family to Colorado in 1880 in an attempt to improve his health. Chamberlin became wealthy through real estate, water, railroads and banking but lost his fortune during the 1893 silver panic. He died in 1897. Today, the observatory is a Denver historic landmark and is still used regularly for stargazing.


Chambers Center for the Advancement of Women

Opened in 2004, the Chambers Center is named for Merle Chambers, LLM ’84. She is president of the Chambers Family Fund, which donated $3 million to help build the home of DU’s Women’s College, the Women’s Foundation of Colorado and several other organizations. Chambers founded Axem Resources, a privately held oil and gas company, and also served as CEO of Clipper Exxpress, a family owned intermodal transportation company. Chambers also is a former Women’s Foundation board member.


Cherrington Hall

Opened in 1966, Cherrington Hall is named for Ben Cherrington (1885-1980), an author of the United Nations Charter and DU’s chancellor from 1943-46. Cherrington directed DU’s Social Science Foundation from 1926-51. Cherrington Hall is home to the Graduate School of International Studies.


Craig Hall

The newly remodeled and expanded home of the Graduate School of Social Work was formerly known as Spruce Hall. Reopened in August 2005 as Craig Hall, the building is named for Rebecca (MSW ’84, PhD ’00) and James Craig, who donated $4 million for the renovation.


Daniels College of Business

The Daniels College building is named for Bill Daniels (1920-2000), who is regarded as the father of cable television. In 1952 he built the first cable system to send a broadcast signal via microwave. In 1988 he gave $11 million to DU to update the business curriculum, and in 1995, Daniels donated an additional $11 million toward the college’s building.


Driscoll Student Center

Namesake William Driscoll (AB ’42, MS ’48) was born in Pagoda, Colo., in 1920. He taught zoology at the University from 1944-48, then left to earn a PhD at the University of California, Berkeley. He returned to DU in 1951 and resumed teaching until 1968, when he became associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He continued to teach part time until his death in 1983. Driscoll won the DU Outstanding Faculty Award in 1961, and shortly before his death, he received the Evans Award. Driscoll Center opened in 1984 and serves as DU’s student union.


Evans Chapel

DU founder John Evans built the Evans Memorial Chapel in 1873 in memory of his daughter Josephine Evans, who died of consumption in 1868 at age 24. Originally located at 13th and Bannock streets in downtown Denver, the chapel was moved to campus in 1960 when it was threatened with demolition. It was designated a national historic site in 1988.


Fisher Early Learning Center

The Fisher Center is named in honor of TCI executive Donne Fisher and his wife, Sue, who donated $2 million toward its construction. The center, which opened in 2000, serves 190 children up to age 5. Donne Fisher has served as a member of Liberty Media’s board of directors and is president of Fisher Capital Partners, a venture capital and investment company he founded in 1991. In 1998, he was inducted into the Cable Center’s Cable Pioneers hall of fame.


John Greene Hall

On May 22, 1948, John Greene, chair of DU’s chemical engineering department, died in a boating accident on the South Platte River. A decade later, the University of Denver Research Institute’s new engineering building was dedicated in his memory. During World War II, Greene served with the Chemical Warfare Service, for which he received a Presidential Service Citation. He came to the University of Denver in 1946. Today, John Greene Hall houses the math and computer science programs.


Ida McFarlane

Ida McFarlane

Johnson-McFarlane Hall

Better known as “J-Mac,” Johnson-McFarlane Hall opened in 1958. The residence hall is named after two popular faculty members from an earlier era, Granville “Granny” Johnson and Ida McFarlane. Born in Aspen, Colo., in 1897, Johnson earned a BA and MA in physical education from DU in 1923 and 1925. He coached the Pioneers wrestling team and taught phys ed at DU until his death in 1956 at the age of 59. At the time of his death, Johnson was the University’s longest serving faculty member. Ida McFarlane was born in Central City, Colo., in 1873. She taught English at DU for 33 years until her death in 1940.


Knudson Hall

The engineering department’s home is named for Clarence Knudson, who served as dean of the College of Engineering from 1941-60. A native Denverite, Knudson received BS and MA degrees in chemical engineering from DU in 1921 and 1922, respectively. He began teaching at the University in 1929. Knudson Hall was built in 1960 and originally housed the University of Denver Research Institute’s chemical research facilities. Knudson retired in 1966, and the building was renamed for him in 1968.


Leo Block Alumni Center

The Leo Block Alumni Center is named for former Clarion editor Leo Block, BA social sciences ’35. After serving in World War II, Block started a wine and liquor distribution business in San Antonio; the company became the largest distributor in south Texas. In 1987 Block gave the University $1 million to endow the Leo Block University Professorship. In 1992, the University honored Block with the Evans Award, and in 1996, DU dedicated its alumni center in his honor.


Margery Reed

Margery Reed

Margery Reed Hall

The daughter of Verner and Mary Reed, Margery Reed was born in Colorado Springs, Colo., in 1894. She graduated from the University of Denver in 1919 with a BA in English. That year she took a position as an assistant professor of English at DU and there met her future husband, Paul Mayo, who also taught English. In 1924 Paul and Margery traveled to Peru, where he joined the diplomatic service. Margery became ill in Peru and returned to the U.S., where she died in 1925 at age 31. Her mother, Mary Reed, donated $100,000 toward construction of Margery Reed Mayo Hall, which opened in 1929. The longtime home of the theater department currently is undergoing extensive renovation.


Mary Reed Building

In 1893, Mary and Verner Reed moved to Colorado Springs, Colo., where Verner made his fortune in mining, banking, ranching and irrigation. Following Verner’s death in 1919, Mary (1875-1945) became involved in charitable and philanthropic projects, including the Denver Community Chest. Shortly after her gift to construct Margery Reed Hall in her daughter’s memory, she presented DU with $350,000 in cash and an additional $180,000 trust fund income to erect a new library that would bear her name. In 1972, the building was decommissioned as a library and today houses the University’s administrative offices, including those of the chancellor and provost.


Meyer-Womble Observatory

Dedicated in 1996, the Meyer-Womble Observatory sits at 14,148 feet near the summit of Mount Evans and is one of the highest operating observatories on earth. A gift of $3.8 million from the estate of William Womble, BA ’34, funded construction of the facility and endowed the Womble Professorship in Astronomy. Eric Meyer — an anesthesiologist who designed the telescope — and his wife, Barbara, donated $1 million and brought the telescope optics from Chicago personally.


Nelson Hall

Opened in 2002, DU’s newest residence hall is named for King Lee (BS ’50) and Shirley (attd. 1951-52) Nelson. Lee came to DU to play football and baseball and met Shirley there. After graduation, Lee worked for Johns Manville for 12 years and then started his own business, Nelson Pipeline Constructors. His company flourished, landing large projects including Denver International Airport. The Nelsons contributed $2 million toward construction of the hall (pictured on page 28), which houses 430 students. Shirley died in 2003.


Newman Center for the Performing Arts

The Newman Center is named for Robert and Judi Newman, who donated an undisclosed sum for construction of the building, which houses the Lamont School of Music and several public performance spaces. Robert is a co-founder of J.D. Edwards and currently runs a venture capital company called Greenwood Gulch Ventures.


Olin Hall

Olin Hall is named for the F.W. Olin Foundation of New York, which was established in 1938 by Franklin W. Olin, an engineer. In 1892 he founded a powder manufacturing company that grew to include small-arms ammunition and commercial explosives. Olin passed away in 1951. His foundation gave $7 million dollars toward DU’s building, constructed in 1997 to house the biology department and science labs.


Penrose Library

DU’s library is named after Spencer Penrose, who was born Nov. 2, 1865, in Philadelphia. In 1892 he came to the Pike’s Peak region and participated in the Cripple Creek gold rush. He founded the Utah Copper Co., which eventually merged with Kennecott Copper. In 1937 Spencer and his wife set up the El Pomar Foundation, which activated upon his death in 1939. The foundation donated $4.5 million for the construction of Penrose Library in 1972. The Foundation is now largest private philanthropic institution in the region, with assets of more than $400 million.


Phipps Memorial Conference Center

Completed in 1932 and originally called “Belcaro” (for which the surrounding neighborhood is named), the Phipps Mansion was the longtime home of Sen. Lawrence Phipps. His widow, Margaret, presented it to the University in 1960 to be used as a conference center. The building is on the National Register of Historic Places.


Ricketson Law Building

Home of the Sturm College of Law, the Ricketson Law Building is named for Frank Ricketson Jr. (1896-1987), grandfather of outgoing DU law Dean Mary Ricketson. A 1919 alumnus of the Westminster College of Law (which later merged with the DU law school), Ricketson served on DU’s Board of Trustees from 1944-72. He was president of Fox Intermountain Theaters and also served as president of the Central City Opera for 26 years. Ricketson’s estate gave $12 million toward the building, which opened in 2003.


Ricks Center for Gifted Children

The Ricks Center was founded in 1984 as the University Center for Gifted Young Children. When the center’s new building opened in 1991, the building and center were named in honor of benefactress Alta Ricks (1905-2005), who donated $500,000 for the facility. Her affiliation with DU began when she met then Chancellor Dan Ritchie through mutual friend and DU law alumnus William Collister, JD ’51. The Ricks Center enrolls 270 children ages 3 through the eighth grade.


Ritchie Center for Sports & Wellness

Named for Chancellor Emeritus and Board of Trustees Chair Dan Ritchie, the Ritchie Center opened in 1999 and includes a natatorium, two ice arenas, a fitness center and other athletics amenities. Ritchie’s involvement with DU began when he became a trustee in 1983. He served as the University’s chancellor from 1989-2005. To kick-start the University’s economic rejuvenation in the 1990s, Ritchie gave DU his Colorado ranch, the sale of which netted $50 million.


Seeley Mudd Science Building

Opened in 1982, the Seeley Mudd Science Building is named for Seeley Greenleaf Mudd, whose estate helped fund its construction. Born in Denver in 1895, Mudd went on to a career as a medical doctor and researcher. Upon his death in 1968, his will established a $40 million fund to be used for college buildings. DU’s Mudd building houses biology classrooms and labs.


Shwayder Art Building

The Shwayder Art Building opened in 1978. It is named for the Jesse and Nellie Shwayder Foundation, which donated $1.7 million in stock toward the building project. Jesse Shwayder founded the Shwayder Trunk Manufacturing Co. in Denver just after the turn of the 20th century as, and it grew into the Samsonite Luggage Corp.


Stapleton Tennis Pavilion

Namesake Benjamin Stapleton Jr. (1919-92) was the son of legendary Denver mayor Ben Stapleton. With a $250,000 donation from his widow, Katie, DU completed its $2.2 million tennis facility in 1998.


Sturm Hall

Donald and Susan Sturm gave $5 million to renovate the former General Classroom Building and adjoining Business Administration Building. Constructed in the late 1960s, the building was re-dedicated in 2000 and now houses classrooms and offices for faculty in the arts, humanities and social sciences. Donald Sturm, JD ’58, is a member of DU’s Board of Trustees. In 2004, the Sturms gave $20 million to DU’s law school, which was named in Donald’s honor.


Wesley Hall

Many of the University’s early founders had strong ties to the Methodist Church, so it’s not surprising that a DU building bears the name of Methodism founder John Wesley (1703-69). Wesley Hall is used by the College of Education.


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