Rush Rhees Library stands tall at the head of the Eastman Quad and is where students spend countless hours every day. Did you ever wonder how this center of campus got its name? The answer, while relatively simple, is an important one.
“Rush Rhees Library is named for Benjamin Rush Rhees, president of the university from 1900-1935,” Dean of Libraries Ron Dow said.
Rhees was the third president of UR. According to his biography available on the RRL Web site, before he became president, UR had been without a president for four years.
“The Rush Rhees era was critical in the evolution of the university from what was essentially a college to a true university,” Dow quoted from the biography of President Rhees. “In 1920, the campus consisted of the buildings on the Prince Street Campus. By late 1921, the die had been cast – the School of Music was under construction, the Medical Center was well into its planning stages, and the Board of Trustees had voted to keep the Prince Street Campus for the College of Women and build a new campus for the College of Men.”
According to Dow, before coming to UR, Rhees graduated from Amherst College in 1883 and was a graduate of Hartford Theological Seminary. Rhees was also an ordained Baptist minister.
President Rhees died in 1939, shortly after his term as president ended.