Alumni CLASnotes Summer 2004

Ustler Hall Restoration Underway

Kathryn Chicone UstlerOn March 1, UF held a restoration celebration ceremony for the Women's Gym, which will be renamed Kathryn Chicone Ustler Hall. As a result of a generous gift from UF alumna Kathryn Chicone Ustler, and matching funds from the state of Florida, the 14,700 square-foot, three-level facility will house classrooms, seminar rooms, and faculty and administrative offices for the Center for Women's Studies and Gender Research. Ustler Hall will be the first UF academic building named solely after a woman.

The Women's Gym was the first permanent structure at the University of Florida intended for campus-wide use. "The New Gym," as it was called, opened in 1919 after Gainesville citizens donated funds to overcome a budgetary shortfall. The excitement generated by the community effort led then UF President A.A. Murphree and the mayor of Gainesville to invite the New York Giants baseball team to use the new gym for spring training, and the team accepted. The auditorium and gym became a focal point of campus activity.

The building was designated the Women's Gymnasium in 1948 when UF officially became coeducational. The university received state funds to demolish the Women's Gym in 1979, but an interest in preserving original campus structures prevailed. In 1988, the building was granted protection under the National Register of Historic Places. The restoration is expected to be completed by next summer.

Jane Dominguez

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