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What’s in a name? Well, when it comes to the buildings on campus named after women, there are so few that it feels even more important to acknowledge and celebrate them. So, let’s get to it! There are currently seven buildings named specifically for women: Vel Phillips, Susan B. Davis, and Elizabeth Waters Residence Halls; Helen C. White Hall; Nancy Nicholas Hall (School of Human Ecology); Signe Skott Cooper Hall (School of Nursing), and the Zoe Bayliss Women’s Cooperative. Number eight (or seven and a half?) is named for a married couple, the Martin and Florence Below Alumni Center , also known as the alumni center. Remarkable women, all, and one of extraordinary note is Vel Phillips LLB’51. A Wisconsin civil rights pioneer, Phillips was the first Black woman to earn a UW law degree, which began her substantial cascade of firsts. She was the first African American and the first woman elected to the Milwaukee Common Council in 1956. In 1971, Phillips went on to become the first female judge in Milwaukee County and the first-ever Black judge in Wisconsin. And, she made national history in 1978 as the first woman and first African American elected to a statewide office as the Wisconsin secretary of state.

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