GUEST ROOM | On Naming a Dormitory

Titles are symbolic, of course, but they also carry weight. When the buildings on a university campus are named for robber barons and captains of industry, that says something about the institution, and about the purpose of the education we receive. In buildings that bear the name of the highest bidder, are we not being told — perhaps subtly, perhaps brutally — that our post-collegiate life also belongs to whatever entity makes the winning offer? So it was with real pride that I read that new North Campus dormitories were being named not for mega-donors, but for those whose lives set a stunning and wondrous example. Toni Morrison M.A. ’55.

LETTER TO THE EDITOR | Help Name the North Campus Residences

Letter to the Editor:
On Oct. 8, President Martha E. Pollack announced that two of the residence halls under construction on North Campus will be named after two of Cornell’s most accomplished alumnae: Ruth Bader Ginsburg ’54 and Toni Morrison M.A. ’55. In the coming years, new students at Cornell will be reminded daily of the legacies left by these outstanding women. Buildings at colleges and universities are often named for donors whose generosity enabled their construction. But occasionally, such as with debt-financed residence halls, universities have the opportunity to select names that recognize distinguished individuals or represent our core values.