Trustees approve Unthank Hall name, honor outgoing members

Rhododendrons in bloom

The Board of Trustees of the University of Oregon unanimously approved the renaming of Cedar Hall as Unthank Hall, following a recommendation from President Michael H. Schill.

Unthank Hall is named for DeNorval Unthank Jr., the first African-American graduate of the School of Architecture and Allied Arts, a longtime advocate for Oregon’s black community and a respected alumnus, who remained deeply connected to the university over the course of his life.

Unthank was among four individuals whose names were forwarded to the president by a renaming committee charged with generating suggestions and assessing legacies against a set of criteria created in coordination with the Black Student Task Force. The decision was the final step in a process that began with the removal of Frederick Dunn’s name by the board last fall.

Trustees also approved a budget resolution that allows the university to continue spending based on last year’s budget, as the 2017-18 budget continues to take shape. The extension was deemed necessary as the Oregon Legislature continues to determine its level of financial support for higher education for the upcoming biennium.

Meanwhile, an ad hoc group of students, faculty and staff convened by the president are reviewing strategies to reduce another $4 million in expenditures, on top of the reductions already announced by Schill.

The full meeting also included a presentation and discussion on the university’s tuition structure and potential alternative models that other institutions use.

Earlier in the day, the board had an in-depth presentation on neurosciences at the UO, featuring Chris Doe, professor of biology and co-director of the Institute of Neuroscience; Ulrich Mayr, Lewis Professor of Psychology and department head; and David McCormick, currently Dorys McConnell Duberg Professor of Neuroscience and professor of psychology at Yale University, who will join the UO in the fall.

These were the final official meetings for two trustees, Kurt Wilcox and Susan Gary.

Wilcox, the nonfaculty staff representative and program assistant for the University Senate, has come to the end of his term and will be replaced by library technician Jimmy Murray.

“Kurt is very sensitive to the university community,” Lillis said. “That combination of experience, sensitivity and hard work produced a very good trustee.”

Susan Gary is the Orlando J. and Marian H. Hollis Professor of Law and the board’s trustee from the faculty.

Lillis celebrated Gary’s contribution as an expert on governance and boards, especially as they relate to drafting early board policies and structures.

“Susan’s training, and in no small way, her personality and style made that a positive process,” Lillis said.

The board’s next regularly scheduled meeting is in September. More information on this quarter’s meetings and related materials are available on the board’s website.

By Tobin J. Klinger, University Communications