The Norman Transcript

September 24, 2009

VIDEO: Beatrice Carr Wallace Old Science Hall dedicated

By Julianna Parker Jones

Watch Video
Old Science Hall got a facelift this year and a new name to match.

The Beatrice Carr Wallace Old Science Hall on the University of Oklahoma's North Oval is the oldest building on campus, and it now bears the name of a longtime OU supporter.

"Thank you for allowing us to have your name, because it means so much to us," OU President David Boren said to Wallace, who was in attendance Wednesday for the public dedication of the renovated building.

The hall was first built in 1894 as Science Hall. Fire destroyed the building in 1903, and in 1904, it was rebuilt as New Science Hall.

OU President David Boren said he dreamed for a long time of ways to do better justice to the prized prairie architecture.

"We wanted to bring it back, but in a way that didn't do damage to the basic structure," Boren said. The two-year, $5.9 million renovation to the building has provided a lot of changes, but Boren said much care was taken to preserve its historical charm.

Wallace, who now lives in the Dallas area, said she was honored to have her name on such an important building.

"I'm absolutely awestruck at all of this," she said. "It's a wonderful building and I can't even tell you how excited I am that my name is on this."

Wallace, along with her husband, W. Ray Wallace, made one of the largest gifts in the university's history to create scholarships. Wednesday, they were inducted into the Sower Society, the group of fewer than 200 people who have given more than $1 million to OU.

Several Wallace Scholars who benefited from the couple's generosity were in attendance Wednesday. Many Delta Delta Delta sorority members also attended, supporting their alumna.

Some of Wallace's high school friends from Atoka, as well, came to show their support of Wallace.

"We are just all thrilled that they did this," said Jo Ann Ross of Oklahoma City.

The new facility became operational earlier this year. New features inside include life safety, climate control and aesthetic improvements, including a 6,600-square-foot addition. The renovation also allowed the installation of the building's first elevator.

The hall is home to several offices at OU, including International Student Services and Education Abroad; Film and Video Studies; and the School of Drama, which also has two theaters in the facility. It also houses the headquarters of the International Society for Cinema and Media Studies, the largest film studies organization in the world.

Julianna Parker Jones 366-3541