Campus Buildings’ Namesakes and Histories

Strand Union Building:

  • Namesake: Named for A.L. Strand, the first MSU alumnus to become president. Strand was president from 1937-1942.

  • Opened: 1940.

  • Purpose: Built to provide students with a gathering place on campus, it still serves as the heartstone for campus activity.

Renne Library:

  • Namesake: Named in honor of Ronald Renne, MSU’s sixth president from 1943-1964.

  • Opened: over Christmas break 1949-1950. Before the opening, the college library was housed on the second floor of Montana Hall. A large addition was built in 1961, and it has since been remodeled in 1999, 2002 and 2011.

Wilson Hall:

  • Namesake: Named for Milburn Lincoln Wilson, agriculture economics faculty member from 1914-1934 and undersecretary of agriculture serving under President Franklin Roosevelt.

  • Opened: 1976.

  • Purpose: Liberal arts building.

Roberts Hall:

  • Namesake: William Milnor Roberts, one of Montana’s earliest civil engineers.

  • Completed: 1923. The Montana Legislature appropriated $60,000 to the building cost.

  • Purpose: The building housed offices, classrooms and drafting rooms for all engineering departments. Civil engineering was on the first floor, electrical engineering and the engineering library were on the second floor, and the third floor held architectural engineering.

Herrick Hall:

  • Namesake: Named in honor of Una Herrick, the first Dean of Women to serve at MSU from 1911-1932. It was the first building on campus to be named immediately upon completion and the second — after Ryon Labs — to be named for a living person.

  • Opened: 1926.

  • Purpose: Designed to relieve the pressure of the expanding home economics department on classroom space in Linfield Hall. It housed studio space, research laboratories, classrooms, administrative offices and a “fireplace room”  on the second floor that was only finished after students launched their own fund-raising campaign.

Roskie Hall and North and South Hedges:

  • Namesake: The Hedges are named after Cornelius Hedge, who served as territorial superintendent of schools for four terms. Roskie Hall was named for Gertrude Roskie, the head of the home economics department and late dean of the professional schools.

  • Built: The Hedges were built between 1964-1965. Roskie was built in 1966.

Atkinson Quadrangle:

  • The Atkinson Quadrangle (“The Quads”) is named for Alfred Atkinson who was MSU’s fourth president from 1919-1937. He was a MSC agronomy professor before his tenure as president

  • Completed: 1935. It is the only building on campus financed under the 1930s federal Public Works program. President Atkinson was ardently opposed to New Deal programs.

  • Purpose: The dorms originally provided accommodation for women students. Each housed twenty students and a “house mother.”

Montana Hall:

  • Namesake: Originally called Main Hall, the was officially changed to Montana Hall in 1914.

  • Completed: 1896, it is the second oldest building on campus. The cupola was removed in the 1920s after agriculture students brought a cow to the top of the building as a prank. The cupola was restored in the MSU’s centennial celebration in 1993.

  • Purpose: The building provided administrative offices and library space until 1949.

Romney Gym:

  • Namesake: Named in 1973 for G. Ott Romney, basketball director and once director of physical education

  • Finished: 1922.

  • Purpose: The metaphorical and literal heart of campus held a swimming pool, handball courts, running track and a 3000 seat gymnasium. It was commonly used for basketball games, dances, funerals and community events.

Jake Jabs Hall:

  • Namesake: Named after MSU Alumnus Jake Jabs, who donated $25 million to the College of Business.

  • Built: Scheduled for completion in 2015.

  • Purpose: The new building will house the College of Business.

Hamilton Hall:

  • Namesake: Dedicated by MSU faculty to honor Emma Hamilton, the late wife of MSC President James Hamilton

  • Dedicated: 1910.

  • Purpose: Served as the first and only student residence on campus for many years. Consisted of a music room, library, guest room, laundry kitchen and “fudge kitchen.” In 1965 it was converted to office spaces.

Linfield Hall:

  • Namesake: Originally called Morrill Hall after the Morrill Act that established land grant colleges, it was re-named the Frederic Bertil Linfield Hall in 1968 in honor of the dean of the College of Agriculture.

  • Started in 1908, the building was completed in 1912 at a cost of $80,000

  • Purpose: The “ag building” served as instructional, laboratory and office space.

Taylor Hall:

  • Namesake: Officially named in 1983 for J.C. Taylor, leader of the Montana Extension Service in the 1920s through the 1940s.

  • Opened: 1894. It is the oldest building on campus.

  • Purpose: Served as the original agricultural experimentation station.