Who was Penland Hall named for?
Penland Residential Hall welcomed its first students 55 years ago this September. Since 1960, it has served as a major anchor of campus and as home to generations of Bears. But why do we even call it Penland?
As you might have guessed, “Penland” is an important figure in Baylor history: George Harvey Penland, to be precise. Harvey Penland, as he preferred to be called, was born to John and Sarah Penland in North Carolina in 1888. Sarah Penland’s maiden name was Truett; her brother was prominent Baylor alumnus and pastor George W. Truett, AB 1897, who came to Texas with the Penlands not two years after Harvey was born.
Penland was the first in his family to attend Baylor, from 1908 to 1910, during the earlier years of Samuel Palmer Brooks’ presidency. He practiced law in Waco from 1914-29, then moved to Dallas — but he didn’t stray far from that good old Baylor line. He was elected to the university’s Board of Trustees (what we now know as the Board of Regents) in 1928, alongside Baylor greats like Earl C. Hankamer, Marrs McLean, and Gladys Allen, and became Board chairman in 1955.
In October 1958, only a few years after becoming chairman, Penland passed away. His funeral service was held the same day as that year’s Homecoming. He was buried at Oakwood Cemetery, just a few blocks from his beloved Baylor. Penland Residence Hall opened just two years later, with a tribute to Harvey Penland given by his life-long friend Carr P. Collins.
Forty-five years later, we’re seeing George Harvey Penland’s legacy preserved through a major remodeling; like North and South Russell before it, Penland Hall will be closed for a year (2015-16) for a massive renovation that will update furniture and fixtures, create new study and social spaces, add apartments for faculty-in-residence and a resident chaplain, and upgrade the building’s mechanical, electrical and plumbing systems. Penland is the third of Baylor’s traditional residence halls to undergo such efforts; future years will see similar updates to Alexander, Allen-Dawson, Collins, Martin and Memorial.
Sic ’em, Penland!
Other residence hall name histories:
* Allen (Gladys Allen)
* Brooks (Samuel Palmer Brooks)
* Collins (Ruth Collins)
* Dawson (Willie Turner Dawson)
* Earle (Dr. Hallie Earle)
* Kokernot (H.L. Kokernot)
* Martin (D.K. “Dock” Martin)
* Russell (Willard & Stella Russell)
* Teal (Gordon Teal)