Bozorth. Westby. Bunce. Hawthorn. James.
If you’re familiar with the Rowan campus, you’ll no doubt recognize these as the names of some of the Rowan buildings. What you might not know, however, is where the names came from. I only recently learned a few of them myself, and it took a bit of research to uncover all of the details.
The short version is that every building on campus is named after an important person in Rowan’s history. Some are past presidents or teachers. Others are people who made large donations to the school.
If you want to learn a bit more detail about just who some of these people were and what they did to get a piece of Rowan named after them, here’s a list with some information about some of these figures from Rowan history:
Savitz Hall is named after Rowan’s first president, Dr. Jerohn J. Savitz. Dr. Savitz was the principal from the school’s founding in 1923, before the school used the title “president.” He led Rowan until 1937. It was during his leadership that the school transitioned from a two-year to four-year school.
Bunce is the oldest building on campus, built in 1923 when the school first opened. It is named after Dr. Edgar F. Bunce, who was the university’s second president. Dr. Bunce served as president from 1937 to 1952. Among other accomplishments, it was under Dr. Bunce’s leadership that The Whit was first founded.
Robinson Hall is named after Rowan’s third president, Dr. Thomas E. Robinson. Dr. Robinson led the school from 1952 to 1968. During his term, the school expanded greatly, building a lot of new buildings and increasing enrollment to nearly ten times what it was when he started.
Chamberlain Student Center:
The Student Center is named after Rowan’s fourth president, Dr. Mark M. Chamberlain. Dr. Chamberlain was Rowan’s president from 1969 to 1984. During his presidency, enrollment at the school doubled and several new buildings, dorms, and apartments for students were added.
The newly renamed James Hall is named after Rowan’s fifth president, Dr. Herman D. James. Dr. James led the school from 1984 to 1998. It was during his term as president that Rowan received the $100 million donation from Henry Rowan, and the school was renamed Rowan College. Later during Dr. James’s term, the school grew to the point that it achieved university status.
Rowan Hall, like Rowan University itself, is named after Henry Rowan to honor his $100 million gift to the school. Part of the terms of the donation was that Rowan open an engineering school, and Rowan Hall was built to be the engineering building. It’s only fitting then that it was named after the man that made the engineering program possible.
While the Science Building has a fairly bland name, the planetarium it houses is named after Fredric and Jean Edelman. Mr. and Mrs. Edelman are Rowan alumni and successful business owners, who donated $1 million to the construction of the planetarium in 2002.
The Campbell Library is named after Keith and Shirley Campbell. The Campbells made a $2.5 million donation to Rowan in 2000. The library is the largest in South Jersey with more than 350,000 books, documents and multimedia materials.
Bozorth Hall is named for Loriot D. Bozorth, a former registrar at Rowan. The building used to be an elementary school, and Mr. Bozorth was also the principal of that school before he became a registrar.
Westby Hall is named for Dr. Cleve O. Westby. Dr. Westby was director of county and state college construction. He helped to expand the campus during Dr. Robinson’s term as president.
Memorial Hall was named in dedication to Rowan students who have served in the armed forces. The building once housed the school’s cafeteria and book store.
The Science Building is not yet named after anyone. No doubt the Rowan faculty is waiting until an appropriate choice is decided upon. Most of the existing buildings were once known by another name before being renamed after the people listed above. For example, many people around campus still refer to “James Hall” by its former name, “Education Hall.” That was one of the most recent renames, so a lot of people still at Rowan today remember James Hall by its old name. Eventually most people will likely forget, just as no one (without doing the research) is likely to remember that the current buildings weren’t always known by these names.
Of course, not ALL of the buildings have such interesting stories behind their names. Most of the dorms are just named after trees. Maybe one day they’ll be renamed as well.