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Residence halls to be named in honor of early alumni

by Richard Veilleux - September 25, 2006

During the years after his graduation from Storrs Agricultural College in 1897, Harry L. Garrigus became an instructor of animal husbandry, bought and sold cattle and horses in order to grow the College's herd, and arranged for titles on properties adjacent to the College to be held in trust until the state could afford to buy them, expanding the College's holdings from about 300 acres to more than 1,500.

Now, in honor of the University's 125th anniversary, Garrigus' name will be attached to Hilltop Suites, a five-story residence hall at the crest of Alumni Drive that overlooks the East Campus agricultural buildings and fields he was so fond of at the turn of the 20th century.

The South Campus residence halls, the buildings that comprise the Charter Oak Apartment Complex, and Charter Oak Suites also will be renamed: South in honor of the first three female graduates of Storrs Agricultural School; Charter Oak Suites after the first African-American student to attend Connecticut Agricultural College; and Charter Oak Apartments for the six members of the inaugural graduating class of Storrs Agricultural School.

"By naming residential halls for these distinguished alumni, we're honoring UConn's history and informing current students of their predecessors' accomplishments," says Sam Miller, associate vice president for student affairs, the division that operates the University's residence halls.

"Our students have a strong affinity for the places they live on campus, and the new names will strengthen our current students' connection with the University's past."

The name changes were proposed by the 125th Anniversary Committee, and supported by the Division of Student Affairs.

The proposal was approved by the University's Building Names Committee and, in June, by the Board of Trustees. Of the buildings involved in the process, only the Charter Oak Apartments had been named previously. Those six buildings were named after the six New England states.

Graduates in the Class of 1883 whose names will now grace the complex are Frederick Brown, Charles S. Foster, Henry R. Hoisington, Burke Hough, Arthur Hubbard, and Andrew K. Thompson.

The three unnamed buildings in South Campus - the fourth building in the complex has already been named for Lewis B. Rome, a former chairman of the Board of Trustees - will now bear the names of Nellie Louise Wilson, Louisa Jane Rosebrooks, and Anna Mabel Snow, the first female graduates of the Storrs Agricultural School in 1894.

And Charter Oak Suites will become the Alan Thacker Busby Building, in honor of the 1918 honors graduate, the first African-American to attend Connecticut Agricultural College.

Miller says it will take about six months for signs to be erected at the buildings, and for plaques to be prepared explaining the former students' significance in the University's history.

"It's a great idea," says history Professor Water Woodward, who also is Connecticut's state historian.

"As is the case with the historic signs recently posted around campus, the renaming gives students, their parents, and the community a way to connect with the past, to the University's roots. It's important that we know where we came from."

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