This residence hall, which opened in fall 2021 and houses nearly 700 students, is named in honor of DeNorval Unthank Jr. (1929-2000).
Unthank was the first Black graduate of the UO’s architecture program.
The son of a prominent Portland physician and civil rights leader, Unthank earned his UO architecture degree in 1951. Throughout his long career, he helped design many notable buildings including the Lane County Courthouse, Thurston High School, Kennedy Middle School, and McKenzie Hall--the former law school--and Justice Bean Hall on the UO campus. He also was an associate professor at the university from 1965 to 1980.
In 2017, spurred by the Black Student Task Force’s demands to rename UO buildings honoring historic figures with ties to the Ku Klux Klan, the UO changed the name of dormitory Dunn Hall to Unthank Hall. Frederick Dunn was a longtime classic professor who served as the Exalted Cyclops (leader) of the Eugene Klan in the 1920s.
With former Dunn Hall slated to be decommissioned, Unthank’s name was transferred to this new dormitory to continue to honor him and his lasting contributions to the field of architecture and our broader community.
As UO undergraduates, Unthank and Emmett Williams, who earned three UO degrees including a PhD in 1975, roomed in the Mims House in downtown Eugene because university policy prohibited them from living in campus dorms. Williams was a football player, a skilled pianist, and among the UO’s first Black administrators. He is remembered for his kindness and graciousness serving for years in UO’s Financial Aid Office. (Learn more about the Mims House on the Strides for Social Justice Downtown Route.)
Directions to next location
Bikers can turn right onto Agate St., left on 13th Ave. and left on Kincaid Street. At about E. 14th Ave., go left onto campus to Prince Lucien Campbell Hall, the tall building just north of Knight Library. Walkers and runners can follow that route, or take various walking paths across campus.