EUGENE, Ore. — University of Oregon officials have settled on a new name for a dormitory formerly named after a Ku Klux Klan leader.
President Michael Schill stated in his Tuesday memo to the UO Board of Trustees that he wants the building to bear the name of the first black man to graduate from UO's architecture school, DeNorval Unthank Jr, the Register-Guard reported.
He went on to design buildings in Eugene and Springfield, including the university's McKenzie Hall. He died in 2000.
"I think ahead to the freshmen who will eagerly unpack belongings into Unthank Hall and who will be inspired by this tremendous man to make their own lasting impact at our university, state and nation," Schill wrote.
The board is expected to vote on the new name early June.
Dunn Hall was originally named after former professor and Ku Klux Klan leader Frederick Dunn.
University officials decided to change the name after black students urged them to rename buildings named after people with racist histories, according to the report. The dorm was referred to as Cedar Hall since removal of Dunn's name.
I think ahead to the freshmen who will eagerly unpack belongings into Unthank Hall and who will be inspired by this tremendous man to make their own lasting impact at our university, state and nation. -- Michael Schill, University of Oregon president
Other names that were selected as finalists were Derrick Bell, a former UO School of Law dean, Nellie Franklin, the first black women to graduate from the university and Unthank's father, a Portland doctor and civil rights activist.
The public entered the name of English professor Edwin Coleman, who died in January. Officials ruled out his name since his death was too recent. They plan to find other ways to honor Edwin Coleman, said UO spokesman Tobin Klinger.