Back in Plaque: Original residence halls were named after politicians

Margaret Burris Staff Writer

There is a plaque on IUP’s campus that marks the site of three residential halls that no longer exist: Lawrence Hall, Scranton Hall and Shafer Hall. These three residence halls were demolished in 2009 as part of the residential revival to make way for what is now known as Stephenson Hall.

However, though the old residence halls are just a memory, their legacies live on. Pennsylvania history is decorated with dozens of influential politicians, and it comes as no surprise that there were, and are, residence halls at state schools named after them. The three original residence halls – Lawrence, Scranton and Shafer – were built in 1971 and were named after three politicians.

Shafer Hall

This was the namesake of Raymond P. Shafer. Shafer, the former governor of the state, endeavored to update the antiquated Pennsylvania Constitution during his time in office. He brought many issues before the electorate, including implementing a provision that allowed governors to run for two terms instead of just one. He also spearheaded the environmental movement and founded the Department of Environmental Resources in 1970.

Shafer also signed Act 195 in 1970, which made Pennsylvania the first state to legally support employees united together for collective bargaining and striking. This overrode a 1947 statute which read that these union activities were illegal. Many states today now legally support unions.

Lawrence Hall

This was the namesake of David L. Lawrence, a politician best known for being elected governor of Pennsylvania after he was the mayor of Pittsburgh. He advocated for historical preservation and anti-discrimination laws, and is also known for his enthusiastic support of highway safety legislation.

He expanded Pennsylvania’s library system and implemented environmental protection laws.

Scranton Hall

This was the namesake of William W. Scranton. Scranton was an advocate for higher education and created a state community college system. While he was governor, unemployment reached new lows while he advocated for state trade nationally and abroad.

These three politicians served Pennsylvania well during their time in office and had three residential halls named in their honor in 1971. Though the residence halls no longer are standing, the impact that these statesmen had on Pennsylvania will never be forgotten. Whether it’s the roads, the schools or equal rights, all students and residents of Indiana County benefit today from the work of Lawrence, Scranton and Shafer.