University Hall

Deady Hall

Read the "Report on the History of Matthew P. Deady and Frederick S. Dunn" solicited by UO President Schill to facilitate discussion about the possible renaming of Deady Hall and Dunn Hall.  Deady Hall was officially renamed University Hall by the Board of Trustees in June 2020.


For almost ten years UO's only building, University Hall has housed many academic units and functions over the years and is currently home to the Mathematics Department.

  • 1873. Construction begins on the university's first building. The problematic construction, plagued by insufficient funds, is covered in detail in Sheldon (see Bibliography).  Hired to design the building was Portland architect William W. Piper who had recently designed the Marion County Courthouse (demolished in 1952).  The Benton Democrat reported in its April 23, 1873 issue that Piper was engaged in drawing the plans for the building.
  • 1876.
    When "The Building" opened on October 16, 1876, UO's enrollment was 177 and faculty numbered five, including John Wesley Johnson, the first president. As Eugene had no high school, the student body included 98 students in the preparatory department (grade and high school), and 79 enrolled in college level courses.  Only the first floor of Deady Hall was ready in 1876.  The north side of Deady Hall held four rooms for classes and the president's office.  The south side held the Preparatory School.  The second floor was ready in 1877, and the interior of the third floor was finished in 1878.  
  • 1891-92. The building's corner urns and balustrade were removed when it was discovered they were rotting.
  • 1893.
    The "Old Building" was informally named Deady Hall for Matthew Deady (1824-93), judge of the Territorial Supreme Court from 1853 to 1859. He also presided over the State Constitutional Convention in 1857. In 1859, Deady was appointed U.S. District Judge for Oregon. Deady served as president of UO's Board of Regents (1873-93). He compiled and annotated the General Laws of Oregon in 1866.  The university officially recognized the name "Deady Hall" in 1926.
  • 1914. Renovation converted Deady's original three stories into five.
  • 1926. The university officially conferred the name "Deady Hall" upon the building on the occasion of its 50th anniversary.
  • 1972. Villard Hall and Deady Hall are added to the National Register of Historic Places.
  • 1977.  Deady Hall and Villard Hall are designated National Historic Landmarks, among fewer than 2,500 places that bear this distinction. National Historic Landmarks possess exceptional value or quality in illustrating or interpreting the heritage of the United States.
  • 2016.  In response to concerns raised by the Black Students Task Force and others about the backgrounds of Judge Deady and Frederick Dunn, President Schill created a process to decide whether Deady Hall and Dunn Hall (part of Hamilton Hall) should be renamed.  Three historians were asked to evaluate to what extent Deady and Dunn held racist views.  Feedback due August 24 was solicited by the president.
  • 2020 Deady Hall was officially renamed University Hall by the Board of Trustees in June. 



"Deady Hall," National Register of Historic Places Nomination. Web. 1972. (PDF)

"Deady Hall,"  Data Pages and Photographs, Historic American Building Survey (June 1964). Web. Accessed 10 Sept. 2004. (PDF)

"Deady Hall," University of Oregon Historic Resources Survey. UO Campus Planning, Design, and Construction.  Web. 2013. (PDF)

Books and Parts of Books, Reports

"Deady Hall," in Style and Vernacular: A Guide to the Architecture of Lane County, Oregon. Portland: Western Imprints, 1983, p. 46.

Castro, Ricardo L. Gaining historical immediacy: the clinical history of a place in the design process. Univ. of Oregon Dept. of Architecture Thesis, 1974

Krause, LaVerne. Deady and Villard : Victorian architectural heritage at the University of Oregon : original prints / by Laverne Krause ; text by Marion Dean Ross. Portland [Or.] : Press, 1974

Sheldon, Henry D. History of University of Oregon (Binford & Mort, 1940), pp. 28, 34, 38, 40, 49-50, 120.

Journal Articles

Bleekman, George. "Hands on the Landmarks.: CRM: [bulletin] 18 no. 5 (1995):.18-23.
Peting, Don. "Building Deady," in "The University of Oregon, 1876: A Commemorative Forum," Oregon Historical Quarterly 102 no. 4 (2001): 480-510.

Newspaper Articles


"Atmosphere in Deady still vilely polluted," Daily Emerald, 03/15/1911, 3

"New buildings will keep pace with growth, Dormitory Deady Hall and library now under-going repairs--ready soon", Daily Emerald, 09/19/1914, 1

"Deady Hall. Named for Mathew P. Deady," Daily Emerald, 10/17/1916, 3

"Deady to be dedicated after fifty years of service to the University and its founders," Daily Emerald, 10/19/1926, 1

"Long-delayed dedication of Deady to take place at 10 Friday morning," Daily Emerald, 10/19/1926, 1


"Again I see in fancy. Dead Man's bones in Deady," Daily Emerald, 04/20/1935, 2

"Again I see in fancy. Marooned in Deady," Daily Emerald, 04/23/1935, 2

"Poem to Deady Hall written by first University student. Scott,"W. W. ("Billy")", Daily Emerald, 05/14/1935, 1

"WPA painters invade Deady," Daily Emerald, 01/21/1936, 1

"1876 wheat crop built first UO hall," Daily Emerald, 10/19/1938, 3

"Deady rooms soon to be modernized," Daily Emerald, 01/10/1939, 1

"Deady Hall ceilings painted pale green: lighting changed," Daily Emerald, 02/09/1939, 1

"Rooms modernized in oldest building on Oregon campus," Daily Emerald, 11/08/1939, 1


"Deady grows older, fuller," Daily Emerald, 05/08/1942, 6


"Deady hall has obstacle course as remodeling continues," Daily Emerald, 10/01/1951, 3

"Illustration, 1876", Daily Emerald, 11/02/1951, 1, il.

"Work suspended when bones found," Daily Emerald, 11/06/1951, 6

"New science building rises to replace vine-covered Deady," Daily Emerald, 11/29/1951, 6

"Business school moves into Deady," Daily Emerald, 04/04/1952, 1

"Deady to house Math following March completion," Daily Emerald, 09/30/1952, 3

"Only 3 floors planned for Deady," Daily Emerald, 10/17/1952, 1

"Mathematicians to enter Deady by Spring Term," Daily Emerald, 01/06/1953, 1

"Glass seal stored. Deady, Johnson halls remodeled," Daily Emerald, 03/12/1953, 8

"Math department moves to Deady," Daily Emerald, 04/10/1953, 6

"Deady Hall lives anew after plastic surgery," Daily Emerald, 04/21/1953, 2


"Deady and Villard halls honored today as historical landmarks," Daily Emerald, 05/19/1978, 3A

"Nation salutes historic halls," Daily Emerald, 05/22/1978, 1


"Input sought on Dunn and Deady historical report and possible renaming," Office of the President, University of Oregon, [2016].

Johnson, David Alan; Taylor, Quintard; and Weisiger, Marsha. Report on the History of Matthew P. Deady and Frederick S. Dunn," [2016].