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Buildings named Downs, Stouffer

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

The Kansas Board of Regents today approved names for three buildings in the University of Kansas’ Central District redevelopment project, honoring three prominent historical figures.

A KU Student Housing residence hall, apartment complex and a student union all receive names: Cora Downs Residence Hall, Stouffer Place Apartments, and Frank R. Burge Student Union.

Cora Downs Residence Hall recognizes the contributions of a renowned scientist. Stouffer Place Apartments and the Burge Union continue the use of names for KU buildings razed as part of the reconstruction of the Central District.

Downs Hall opens in August for new or returning residents in private bedrooms or suites. This 545-bed residence hall adjoins a new 22,000 square foot dining center shared with existing Oliver Hall. Cora Downs was the first woman to earn a Ph.D. from KU and was one of KU’s most outstanding scientists. She developed a technique to trace and identify viruses and during World War II, led 40 scientists in a top-secret biological warfare project. Her grandmother, also named Cora Downs, was the first woman appointed to the Kansas Board of Regents.

“We’re excited to open these residential buildings and provide more options for students to continue living on campus longer into their KU careers. The unit types and additional privacy are exactly what today’s students have asked for,” said Diana Robertson, director of KU Student Housing. “The historical names, which honor a ground-breaking woman scientist and an academic dean, fit perfectly with our mission to build learning-centered communities. It is a privilege to honor their legacy.”

Stouffer Place Apartments expands options for KU upperclass and graduate students to live on campus their entire university career. Each apartment features private bed and bath, full kitchen with dishwasher, and laundry machines. The 708-bed complex opens July 2018. The name honors Ellis B. Stouffer, who served KU for 41 years as chair of the Department of Mathematics, Dean of the Graduate School and Dean of the University. The Stouffer Place name is a nod to the previous apartment complex at that location, which served KU students with families.

The Burge Union, slated to open in summer 2018, contains 33,000 square feet of space to support the needs of students, faculty and staff with student service offices and study space. It will expand KU’s available event space and will be the home of Legal Services for Students, the Sexual Assault Prevention and Education Center and the Emily Taylor Center for Women and Gender Equity. It will also include a coffee shop and a convenience store.

Frank R. Burge served as director of the Kansas Memorial Union from 1952 until 1983, and is credited with building the Union into one of the best in the country in facilities and programming. He was known as a “one man Welcome Wagon,” and was a beloved figure on campus, even well after his retirement. During his 31 years as director, he oversaw a major expansion of student services, programming and structural expansion of the Union on Jayhawk Boulevard.

KU’s Central District redevelopment project is a larger effort designed to meet immediate infrastructure needs, transforming the area into a new hub of education and research designed to fulfill the university’s mission as a flagship research university.


More than $200,000 in annual scholarships to returning residents
Academic success: More than 94 percent of first-time, full-time freshmen in student housing enroll for the next semester
5,100 residents choose student housing each year
Residence hall rates are almost $2,000 less per year than the national average for public schools
— College Board
$4 million alumni gift funded Krehbiel Scholarship Hall
Options include suites, private bedroom with shared bath, two-person rooms, scholarship halls, and apartments
Oswald and Self residence halls opened in 2015
One bill covers all costs: room, food, utilities, and wireless Internet
One of 34 U.S. public institutions in the prestigious Association of American Universities