Munsell Hall is named for two brothers: Charles W. C. Munsell and Oliver Spencer Munsell. Both are credited with seeing IWU through its first financial crisis in 1857, growing student enrollment, and securing funds for the second campus building (1870). Charles served as IWU’s financial agent, in charge of raising funds for the struggling school, and Oliver served as second president of the University. President Munsell’s tenure also saw positive Board of Trustee action on admitting African American students (1867) and female students (1870). He resigned in 1873 due to questions raised about inappropriate contact with student. No criminal charges were brought but the incident was investigated by both the Methodist Conference and the Board of Trustees. Minutes of the latter are available in the University Archives.
Buck Memorial Library is named for Rev. Dr. Hiram and Martha A. Buck. The Bucks became benefactors of the University starting in the 1890s with a donation of farmland. Hiram served as a trustee and Martha became IWU’s first female trustee on his death. On Mrs. Buck’s death a gift to the University included a request that funds be designated for a library and World Culture Center
Buck was IWU’s first free-standing library and served our community in that capacity from 1923-1968. It continues to fill Martha Buck’s wishes as home to IWU’s World Languages, Literatures and Culture department.
More information on the Bucks is available in IWU’s Historical Sketch and Alumni Record (1895) pp. 50-53 available online at https://bit.ly/2QX8865
Harriett House completes the Dodds/Dolan/Magill housing quadrangle. It opened in the Fall of 1997 and was the first new residence hall built on the IWU campus since 1970. At first only known as “New House,” the hall was renamed on May 10, 1999 to honor Harriett Fuller Rust, an Illinois Wesleyan trustee and president of the Illinois Wesleyan President’s Club from 1983 until her death in July 1997.
Mrs. Rust was actively involved in the campus and local community. At the time of the hall’s naming, then-president of the Board of Trustees Craig Hart said, “Her enthusiasm and energy has helped IWU in so many ways, but especially her strong commitment to our students makes this tribute especially appropriate.”
Hansen Student Center is named in honor of lead donor Tom Hansen, Class of 1982. His gift made it possible to remodel the Memorial Gymnasium, the first athletic facility on IWU’s campus, which was built in 1922. The building was dedicated to IWU students who died in World War One and their names can still be seen at the entry to the main court, across from the Information Desk. The basement, now Tommy’s, once contained IWU’s first swimming pool. A dedication ceremony for Hansen took place on January 12, 2002.
Photo selections from the Memorial Gym’s early days are available online; more of these and of Hansen are held in the University’s archives online.
Russell O. Shirk was a member of the Class of 1943. He received an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 1989 and was the Distinguished Alumnus in 1971. The Shirk Center opened in 1994 and is named in honor of him and his wife and Betty J. Shirk. Shirk is pictured here (on left) with his friend Jack Horenberger, who the Shirk Foundation honored through funding the improvement and expansion of IWU’s baseball field.
“The Shirks wanted a center for use by the students and faculty and also something they could be proud of. They were very pleased that the community was able to enjoy the facility as well, and that it has been such an asset to the community,” Ben Rhodes, then- director of development said in 1999.
The building we know today as Gulick Hall was originally named Southwest Hall and was built in 1956 as a woman’s residence. It also housed the Department of Home Economics in its basement. There was a previous Gulick Hall—a house located at 1314 Fell Avenue—which the University sold to Alpha Omicron Pi.
Southwest Hall was renamed for Anna Gulick in 1964 when the University received her bequest. Then President Bertholf said of her gift, “the major part will be added to our permanent endowment funds where the income will serve to bolster up our current budget and upgrade the quality of the University for centuries to come….”
Photo from July 1942 IWU Buleltin (p. 9)
Blackstock Hall is named in memory of a long-time benefactress, Mary Hardtner Blackstock. In June 1937, IWU purchased the Benson residence, what we know now as Blackstock, to use as a women’s residence with housing for 24. It also held the Printmaking Studio for the School of Art in one wing.
At Commencement 1947 Dean Malcolm A. Love, presented Mrs. Blackstock for the degree of Doctor of Letters of Humanity by saying, “your … loyalty to the ideals of the church has passed over into the fields of education. You have been deeply concerned with the proper training of American youth and especially with the program of the Christian college…our institution acknowledges you as one of its most earnest and staunchest friends….”
More information on Mrs. Blackstock is available in the tributes published about her in the September 1954 IWU Bulletin (p. ).
McPherson Hall opened as IWU’s first modern production and instructional facility for Theatre on April 17, 1963. Prior to the Hall, a carriage house adjacent to Kemp Hall had been in use since 1949. This building is named for Harry W. McPherson, IWU President (1933-37), long-time Trustee and member of the Class of 1907. More information about him is available in his presidential blog post.
The Melba Johnson Kirkpatrick Laboratory Theatre and Jerome Mirza Theatre are part of the McPherson Theatre Arts department.
Kirkpatrick was a 1932 IWU graduate and headed the University’s Drama Department from 1938 to 1943. A champion of the arts in Bloomington for several decades, she received both the McLean County Women of Distinction Award and Illinois Wesleyan’s Distinguished Alumni Award.
The theatre in Illinois Wesleyan’s McPherson Hall was named the Jerome Mirza Theatre in recognition of a $2.5 million gift to the School of Theatre Arts (SoTA) from the Jerome Mirza Foundation in October 2015.
A 1960 graduate of Illinois Wesleyan, Mirza (1937-2007) was a well-known Bloomington and Chicago trial attorney, who often credited his courtroom success to the theatre training he received at Illinois Wesleyan. See the press release for more information.
The Ames Library opened on January 9, 2002 and is named for lead donors B. Charles Ames (Class of 1950) and Joyce Eichhorn Ames (Class of 1949). They challenged their fellow alumni that if others contributed $1 million each for three years they would match it. Literally hundreds of alumni responded to that call. The Ames family has also made major gifts in Joyce Ames’ name for the School of Art and for a scholarship to support students in the fine arts.