Villard Hall & Robinson Theater

Architect: Warren H. Williams.

See UO Planning Office site for more information about the current renovation and expansion of the Miller Theatre Expansion and Alterations (addition to Villard Hall).


  • 1886. Villard Hall, second building on campus, opens. Villard Hall was designed in a more elaborate version of the Second Empire Style which also characterized Deady Hall. This style, popular in the 1870s and 1880s, was modeled after the New Louvre in Paris (1853-69). Government buildings throughout the US by Alfred B. Mullet promoted its popularity. The mansard roof is its most striking characteristic. Henry Villard (1835-1900), namesake of this building, was a German immigrant who worked initially as a newspaper reporter. Eventually he became involved in railway transportation and by 1881 was president of the Northern Pacific Railroad whose transcontinental line was completed in 1883. Later, he headed companies that became, in 1893, the General Electric Company.
  • 1949. The University Theater opens on Dec. 2, 1949. Before that date, Guild Hall Theater on the first floor of Johnson Hall was a primary campus venue for theatrical productions. Post-war modernism influenced the exterior design of the structure which had the severe characteristics of the International Style: masses of form, lack of ornamentation, unadorned exterior walls. A striking design in itself, the theater's attachment to the ornamented, historic Villard Hall was a bold move, and a contemporary argument, promoted by School of Architecture and Allied Arts Dean Sydney Little, expressed the view that the two would complement each other. The interior, however, was highly praised, and drew upon the expertise of Horace Robinson, Theater department faculty member since 1932.
  • 1976. University Theater is renamed in honor of Horace Robinson.
  • 1972. Villard Hall and Deady Hall are added to the National Register of Historic Places.
  • 1977. Villard Hall and Deady Hall are designated National Historic Landmarks.
  • 2003. Robinson Theater is now being transformed into the James F. Miller Theater Complex, named for the benefactor whose 2001 gift has enabled needed renovations.


Books and Parts of Books

  • Kramer, George. Fragments from Villard Hall : a survey of architectural elements with recommendations for restoration. Eugene : Historic Preservation Program, Univ. of Oregon, 1988.
  • Curtis, Andrew R. Field measurements for the existing condition drawings of Villard Hall, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon. Eugene, Oregon: Historic Preservation Program, 1988
  • Curtis, Andrew R. A restoration and preservation plan with drawings for the wooden balustrade and urns that embellished the roof structure of Villard Hall . Univ. of Oregon Historic Preservation Program Terminal Project [1988].
  • "Villard Hall," in Style and Vernacular: A Guide to the Architecture of Lane County, Oregon (Portland: Western Imprints, 1983) p.47.

Journal Articles

  • Bleekman, George. "Hands on the Landmarks." CRM 18 no. 5 (1995):.18-23.
  • Shellenbarger, Michael. "The Way the Campus Crumbles." Old Oregon 66 no. 1 (Fall 1986): 16-19 ill.

Newspaper Articles (arranged chronologically)


  • "Villard Hall, administration building, University of Oregon.," Oregon Weekly, 06/07/1908, 1
  • "Villard vines changed," Daily Emerald, 02/28/1924, 4


  • "Grounds crew laying foundation at Villard," Daily Emerald, 04/30/1932, 1
  • "Cornerstone of Villard holds interesting story for future. By Velma McIntyre," Daily Emerald, 11/15/1933, 1
  • "Dunn recalls Villard Hall gift as light from Aladdin Lamp. By Frederic S. Dunn," Daily Emerald, 02/28/1934, 1
  • "Villard Hall opening recalled. By Fredric S. Dunn," Daily Emerald, 03/01/1934, 2
  • "Expanding Villard rostrum recalled. By Fredric S. Dunn," Daily Emerald, 03/02/1934, 2
  • "Villard cornerstone yields old collection," Daily Emerald, 10/06/1938, 1


  • "Remodeling of Gerlinger, Villard Hall nears end. Living quarters for 40 girls, 80 men to be ready by start of winter term.," Daily Emerald, 12/05/1945, 21
  • "University remodels old Villard," Daily Emerald, 04/08/1948, 1
  • "The Old Lady sprouts wings," Daily Emerald, 04/14/1948, 2
  • "Old Villard Hall to sprout wing," Summer Sun, 07/01/1948, 1
  • "New wing rises on ancient Villard Hall, Architects drawing", Daily Emerald, 09/16/1948, 7
  • "Come with us into the past. History of the University is reflected in the history of old Villard Hall. By Marjorie Truchon," Daily Emerald, 09/18/1948, 7
  • "February completion scheduled for Villard," Daily Emerald, 01/15/1949, 8
  • "Villard work nears completion. By Bob Frank," Daily Emerald, 02/15/1949, 3
  • "Landscaping set for new theater," Daily Emerald, 10/21/1949, 7
  • "Radio station offers organized confusion. By Marty Weitzner," Daily Emerald, 11/23/1949, 8


  • "Oregon to unveil new buildings; dedication planned for Saturday," Daily Emerald, 02/08/1950, 1
  • "Villard builders leave 'time capsule.'," Daily Emerald, 02/10/1966, 2


  • "Villard and Deady named city landmarks," Register Guard , 1976/04/25 , 7B
  • "History clarified," Daily Emerald, 01/10/1978, 4
  • "UO to honor halls of fame: The first two buildings on the Eugene campus, Villard and Deady Halls, will be designated national historic landmarks on Friday [Il]," Register Guard , 1978/05/16 , 1B
  • "Deady and VIllard halls honored today as historical landmarks," Daily Emerald, 05/19/1978, 3
  • "Significance now official," Register Guard , 1978/05/20 , 1A
  • "Nation salutes historic halls," Daily Emerald, 05/22/1978, 1


  • "Villard Hall centenary," Register Guard , 1986/05/01 , 1D



  • "A Dramatic turn of events" [Groundbreaking for the Miller Theater Complex, Friday, May 11, 2007]."  Oregon Daily Emerald 14 May 2007: 1, 12. Photos: Horace Robinson and Theater Arts students; individuals breaking ground.  "Construction will add a new flexible-seating black-box theater, green-room space for actors in performances, a renovated Robinson Theatre lobby and more space for building sets and stitching costumes -- in total more than 18,000 squre feet of additional space...The building is named for [James F. ] Miller, a businessman and arts patron from Portland, who donated $1.5 million in 2001 to begin the renovation."
  • Villard Hall redux: Little by little, workers return luster to old UO building [Il]," Register Guard , 2000/09/05 , 1A, 7A