From the Board of Regents: New dorm may be named after Catlett


FILE – University of Iowa junior Olivia Loechner and freshman Sydney McMurray lounge in a room they share with three other women. An overflow of students stay in residence hall lounges converted into expanded housing spaces until permanent accommodations are made. (The Daily Iowan/Carly Matthews, file)

Marissa Payne, [email protected]

The new Madison Street residence hall will likely be named after Elizabeth Catlett, pending approval at today’s state Board of Regents meeting.

When Catlett graduated from the University of Iowa in 1940, she did so in style as one of three M.F.A. recipients, becoming the first woman and the first African-American to do so.

Soon, she could join Adelaide Burge and Kate Daum on a list of women who have had residence halls named after them. Burge was a UI dean of women, and Daum was a director of nutrition at UI Hospitals & Clinics.

The UI administration requested that the Madison Street dorm, which is under construction, be named in honor of Catlett at the regents’ meeting on Wednesday.

Catlett’s work as a sculptor and printmaker often focused on the female experience and motherhood, said UI Senior Vice President for Finance and Operations Rod Lehnertz.

“Elizabeth Catlett’s achievements stand as a testament to the excellence of education in the arts at the University of Iowa and as an inspiration to today’s students and those who will attend the University of Iowa for generations to come,” he said.

In a statement released by the UI Office of Strategic Communication, Lena Hill, a UI professor of English and African-American Studies and senior associate to the president, also expressed excitement about the historical significance behind the residence hall’s potential name.

“Not only may UI students soon live in a residence hall named after a woman who was not allowed to live on campus because of her race, but they might also live with her art: the truest testament of her contribution to our legacy of creative excellence,” she said.

The regents are expected to approve the name at today’s meeting, according to the statement.