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New booklet describes how residence halls got their names
July 27, 1998

Ever wonder how residence halls such as Crandall, Webster and Fairfield got their names? Wonder no more - because What's in a Name? a new publication by Carmen Vance, former interim vice chancellor for student affairs, and Brian Mullgardt, a Ph.D. student in American history, provides the answers.

"With so many changes taking place at the University, particularly with all the construction, it is important to have a recorded history of who we are and how we got here. This document attempts to create that record for the residence halls," says Vance, who recently retired.

The book describes how some of the residence halls were named after individuals while others were named after towns and counties such as Fairfield and Litchfield.

It provides biographical information on those individuals for whom the residence halls were named. Crandall, for example, which was part of the old South Campus, was named after Prudence Crandall, a resident of Canterbury, who established one of the first schools for girls of all races. And Webster was named after Noah Webster, a resident of New Haven, who is famous for his dictionary.

The book also contains anecdotes about the residence halls. Shippee, for example, according to a Daily Campus article, was said to have been built backwards because a construction worker read the blueprint upside down.

Mullgardt, who did most of the research for the project, used outside sources as well as records from the University Archives to compile the booklet. He used old yearbooks, books about Connecticut and anecdotes from alumni via e-mail.

The new booklet has been welcomed on campus. "This publication conveys pride and creates pride," said Jan Taigen, program assistant in the Museum of Natural History.

What's in a Name? is available through the Department of Residential Life. For a copy call Faye Sarcich at (860) 486-3030.

Anna Liamzon

Anna Liamzon and Elvita Dominique, students at Westhill High School in Stamford, wrote these articles while participating in Mentor Connection, a three-week summer program for talented high school students.