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OSU Corvallis campus aerial view
By The Skanner News | The Skanner News
Published: 02 August 2018

On Monday Oregon State University President Ed Ray announced new names for three buildings on the school’s Corvallis campus.

That came on the heels of a years-long process of reviewing feedback from students about place names on the campus, as well as recommendations from the university’s architectural naming committee. The new names are;

  • Benton Annex will become the Hattie Redmond Women and Gender Center. The new name recognizes the building as home to the university’s women’s center. Redmond was a leader in the struggle for women’s suffrage in Oregon in the early 20th century, when Black exclusion laws were still enshrined in the state constitution. She is credited with laying the groundwork for the civil rights movement in Oregon in the mid-twentieth century. The building’s previous namesake, U.S. Sen. Thomas Hart Benton of Missouri, owned slaves and advocated for the removal of Native Americans from tribal lands. Benton also advocated for American control of the Oregon territory and his name is attached to the county in which Corvallis is situated.
  • Avery Lodge was renamed Champinefu Lodge (pronounced CHOM-pin-A-foo). The university engaged the assistance of Siletz tribal leaders and Native American linguists to arrive at this new name, which means “at the place of the blue elderberry” in the dialect of the Calapooia tribe. Blue elderberries are specific to the Willamette Valley, and the areas around the Corvallis campus are where Calapooia tribal members historically would travel to harvest blue elderberries. Previously, the building was named for Joseph C. Avery, the founder of Corvallis and a legislator in the provisional government of Oregon and the Oregon Territory, who historians say fought for Oregon to become a slave state.
  • Benton Hall will become Community Hall. “This name reflects the contributions of local residents in establishing the university, and helping it reach its 150th anniversary and excel as Oregon’s statewide university,” says a press release from the school.

The university says in the fall it will develop public displays to share the histories of each building, and will provide information at Gill Coliseum and Arnold Dining Center, whose names also came under recent review. Gill Coliseum is named for men’s basketball coach Amory “Slats” Gill, who is said to have resisted racial integration on the team; Benjamin Lee Arnold, the namesake for Arnold Dining Center, was the university’s second president, and last fall the university said it was reviewing claims that Arnold served in the Confederate Army. 

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