Housing facilities renamed to reflect institutional legacy

A triptych of doctors Lewis, Shackleford and Shafer
The legacies of faculty Dr. Anna Lewis (left), Dr. Martha Shackleford (center) and Dr. Ingrid Shafer have been memorialized in a recent name change for the three buildings of the Lawson Apartments.

Housing facilities renamed to reflect institutional legacy


Officials have renamed the individual buildings of the Lawson Apartments at the University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma after three former faculty members.

The buildings, previously known only as ‘A’, ‘B’ and ‘C’, are now known as ‘Shafer’, ‘Shackleford’ and ‘Lewis’ respectively. The names are derived from former faculty members Dr. Ingrid Shafer, Dr. Martha Shackleford and Dr. Anna Lewis.

This change fulfills two needs for the university said Dr. Michael Nealeigh, vice president for university advancement.

“Pragmatically, we want the buildings to have a clear identity for a variety of reasons, not limited to making it easier for students or emergency personnel to identify them,” Nealeigh said.

“This change expresses the university’s desire to purposefully reflect its legacy in a way that gives students and visitors alike a glimpse of who we are and what we do.”

The three faculty members whose names now grace the buildings each left a distinct legacy at the university.

Dr. Anna Lewis

Dr. Anna Lewis joined the faculty of the Oklahoma College for Women in the fall of 1917. She retired in 1956, after 39 years of teaching history and serving as Chairman of the History Department.

Dr. Lewis’ special fields of study were American history and, more specifically, the history of the Southwest.

As a teacher, lecturer and writer, she was well known, and in 1930 was named as one of twenty-four prominent women of Oklahoma. She was elected to the Oklahoma Hall of Fame in 1940.

Upon retiring from OCW, she was named professor emerita. In 1995, Dr. Lewis was inducted posthumously into the Oklahoma Historians Hall of Fame.

Dr. Martha Shackleford

Shackleford spent her career in teaching the biological sciences at OCW and OCLA from 1927 to 1971.

Among the subjects she taught were zoology, comparative anatomy, general bacteriology, birds, animal behavior, ecology, insects, genetics, evolution embryology, economic zoology, principles of geography, economic geography and meteorology.

Shackleford held degrees from the College of Puget Sound, Tacoma, Washington; the University of Washington in Seattle; and the University of Illinois in Urbana.

She was honored by the Women in Communications as an annual recipient of their Outstanding Woman in Oklahoma Award. Upon her retirement, she was honored with a science symposium presented by OCLA students and faculty from the Science Department.

Dr. Ingrid Shafer

Shafer joined the faculty of the Oklahoma College of Liberal Arts (OCLA) in 1968 at a pivotal time in that institution’s history and became one of the key architects of the school’s pioneering interdisciplinary studies (IDS) program.

In 1994, Shafer was named to the then newly created post of Mary Jo Ragan Professor of Interdisciplinary Studies.

During her career, Shafer received the Oklahoma Medal for Excellence in College/University Teaching in 2002. In 2001, she received the Star Award in Recognition of Meritorious Work to Promote Peace and Harmony from The Association for Communal Harmony in Asia. She received USAO Regents Research Awards in 2000 and 1991 and received the USAO Regent’s Superior Teaching Award in 1981.

Shafer retired in 2009.

Nealeigh stressed that the building rebranding was not intended primarily as a tribute to the faculty in that doing so would not match the invaluable contribution each made to the university.

“There is nothing we can do to truly repay the gift of their time, intellect and passion for raising students to their highest potential,” Nealeigh said. “In this small way, we acknowledge their contributions while giving our current and future students a sense of our history.”

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