Miltimore Hall, formerly Spruce Hall, is the newest operating addition to the fleet of UNC Charlotte dorm buildings. Photo / Cody Brown

As students returned to campus from holiday break, many were shocked to find the UNC Charlotte dorms, Laurel Hall and Spruce Hall, renamed. Laurel Hall’s sign now reads Wallis Hall and Spruce Hall has become Miltimore Hall.

These new names hold a positive significance on campus. It was definitely not a coincidence that these names were chosen. Mr. Irwin Belk, a figure head in UNC Charlotte history, played a huge role in the matter.

“Mr. Belk introduced the legislation in the state Senate that created UNC Charlotte as the fourth campus of the UNC system and served on the Board of Governors for 28 years. He has a distinguished career of service to local, state, national and international organizations,” said Associate Vice Chancellor for Housing and Residence Life, Jacklyn Simpson, who is responsible for every aspect of housing life, which includes 5,000 students.

Belk gave UNC Charlotte a monetary gift, a gift in honor of his two daughters, Irene Belk Miltimore and Marilyn Belk Wallis. Because of his contribution to the founding of the university, UNC Charlotte decided to rename Laurel Hall and Spruce Hall after Belk’s daughters.

“Facilities Management took care of physically changing the names. I think it took a couple of months to complete,” said Simpson. “Name changes of this nature require support from the campus administration and approval by the Board of Trustees.”

Several students have said they refuse to call the dorms anything but Laurel and Spruce Halls, and Simpson is unsure if the students will request to restore the dorms to their previous names. She believes that this semester students will call the buildings different names or use the old and new names interchangeably. By next year, the transition of calling the buildings their new names should be made.

“We have changed the building names before, and students have never complained. Frankly, we are a young campus and when we open new residence halls, we specifically name them after trees, knowing that at some point in the future, a name will likely be attached,” said Simpson.

The idea of naming the buildings after some kind of tree is so that the students living in the halls do not get concerned about and begin to care about the name. Nothing will change for the current students living in the Miltimore and Wallis Halls this semester.

“The students mailing information will not have to change. Everything will work just as it has for them. However, next fall, when students move in, they will utilize the name change in their mailing information,” said Simpson.

Laurel and Spruce Halls were not the only dorms to undergo name changes. In the past, other dorms have had different names. For example, Witherspoon Hall used to be called Poplar Hall many years ago.

“Witherspoon was renamed for longtime faculty member, faculty president and friend of the university, Dr. Loy Witherspoon. Lynch Hall is named after Chuck Lynch, long time Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and friend of students. Each situation is different,” said Simpson.