The College of Arts and Sciences moved into its renovated home in Ellison Hall with a rededication ceremony taking place on October 22, 2004.
Honored guests included President Boren, donors who helped make the renovations possible and the family of Dr. Gayfree Ellison, for whom the building is named.
Inclement weather brought the ceremony into the first floor conference room, with refreshments served in the second floor lounge.
The College of Arts and Sciences welcomed members of the Ellison family to the rededication, including Helena Huddleston, OU alumnae and Dr. Ellison's daughter; Mabel Archer, Dr. Ellison's daughter-in-law; Nancy Cole and Cynthia Archer, Dr. Ellison's granddaughters; David Ellison, Barney Ellison and Carl Ellison, Dr. Ellison's grandsons; Nicholas Ellison, Travis Ellison and Ashley Ellison, Dr. Ellison's great grandsons; Grace Ellison, Claire Ellison and Anna Lott, Dr. Ellison’s great granddaughters.
While the rededication ceremony was being moved from outdoors to indoors, a local deliveryman was dropping off flowers and remarked on the event. Upon learning about the rededication ceremony, he said that he has something that the college might want. It turned out to be the original bronze plaque memorializing Dr. Ellison, installed in the 1930s. Kevin Williamson had liberated the plaque from the Kappa Alpha fraternity attic in the 1990s and stored it under his bed for 15 years. Williamson retrieved the plaque and turned it over in time for the ceremony. It now resides on a stand beneath a portrait of Dr. Ellison on the third floor of the building.
History of Ellison Hall
Located just west of Bizzell Memorial Library, near the corner of Elm and Brooks streets, Ellison Hall was completed in 1928, and was built to house the first OU infirmary. Originally named Hygeia Hall after the Greek goddess of health and well-being, the building was renamed in honor of Dr. Gayfree Ellison in the early 1930s. Dr. Ellison served as the Director of Student Health from 1920 until his death in 1932. Ellison Hall was equipped with examination and treatment rooms on the first floor, hospital rooms on the second floor and operating rooms on the third floor.
Ellison Hall became the official home of the OU Student Association in October of 1971. The building housed the individual offices for the student body president and vice-president, as well as for the leaders of the undergraduate student congress and the graduate student senate. Other student organizations had offices in the building as well.
Upon completion of the Conoco-Phillips Student Leadership Wing in the Oklahoma Memorial Union in 2000, all student offices moved out of Ellison Hall. Work commenced on renovating Ellison Hall to serve as home to the College.
When work was completed in September of 2002, Ellison Hall once again became a vital part of campus. The Cal Hobson Student Services Center is located on the first floor and the second floor houses Native American Studies as well as the college technology staff. The dean’s office and administrative staff are located on the third floor. There are conference rooms on all three floors equipped for teleconferencing.
The beautiful Arts and Sciences Plaza between Ellison Hall and Bizzell Memorial Library provides visitors with a pleasant outdoor area with tables, chairs and a fountain. It is a popular spot for students to gather, relax and study.
The building is known as the home to a ghost, a boy on roller-skates. Legend has it that a boy was skating along Elm Avenue and was struck by a car. He was brought to Ellison Hall to be treated, but to no avail. He is said to be heard skating up and down the hallways late at night. Each year, many alumni share their stories of being in student government, located in the building, and hearing something unknown moving up and down the halls.