A rendering of the North Campus Residential Expansion. Cornell will name two new North Campus residence halls to honor Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’54 and Nobelist Toni Morrison, M.A. ’55. The university is asking the Cornell community for name suggestions on the remaining three buildings.  

Cornell solicits ideas for naming three North Campus halls

Cornell President Martha E. Pollack announced in early October that the names of two of the five new residence halls on North Campus will honor the memories of U.S. Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’54 and Nobel Prize-winning author Toni Morrison, M.A. ’55.

That leaves three as-yet unnamed buildings – and the university is asking the Cornell community to weigh in.

Ryan Lombardi, vice president for student and campus life, has appointed a North Campus Residential Expansion (NCRE) Building Naming Committee to obtain name suggestions. Recommendations may be made online until Nov. 23.

“Cornell has a long history of striving to promote diversity and inclusion, which is explicitly expressed by the ‘any person’ portion of the university motto,” Lombardi said. “Naming new residence halls provides such an opportunity to recall our own deep history, hoist the memory of great Cornellians and inspire today’s students.”

Nearly two decades ago, Cornell recognized five legendary faculty members – Alice Cook, Carl Becker, Hans Bethe, William Keeton and Flora Rose – by placing their names on the newly built houses of West Campus.

“But this could be the first time in Cornell’s history that the broader university community has been invited to suggest building names,” said committee chair Corey Ryan Earle ’07, principal gifts associate in Alumni Affairs and Development. Earle teaches The First American University (AMST 2001), a course on the history of Cornell University.

In charging the committee, Lombardi said that emphasis should be placed on connecting the buildings’ names to the university’s founding and ongoing mission to create an inclusive environment.

After the committee pores over the suggestions, it will submit recommendations and accompanying rationale to Lombardi, who in turn will ultimately bring the proposals for final approval to the President’s Cabinet.

In addition to Earle, committee members are:

  • Tim Blair, executive director, housing and residential life;
  • Karen Brown, director of campus life marketing and communications;
  • Carol Grumbach ’78, JD ‘87, associate vice provost;
  • Susan Daniel, associate professor in the Robert Frederick Smith School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, and faculty-in-residence for Balch Hall;
  • Susan Riley, deputy director for community relations; and
  • Muhun Kang ‘21, president of the Residential Student Congress.

“We can make a lasting mark on Cornell’s history,” Earle said. “We should reach deeply into our rich and enduring narrative and celebrate it.”

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Abby Butler