Concise Encyclopedia of Tufts History
Lewis Hall, 1969
|Lewis Hall was constructed in 1969-70 to serve as a dormitory, originally intended for Jackson College, but by the time of its opening, it was designated a co-educational dormitory for undergraduate students, the first such on the Medford campus. The building was designed by Hugh Stubbins. In 1972, the hall was named for the late Leo Rich Lewis, professor of music and composer of numerous Tufts songs.
Construction of the building was plagued with unrest, principally having to do with minority represenation among the contractor's workforce. At the outset of construction the university was concerned that the contractor comply with new federal regulations regarding minority representation in the workforce on federally funded projects. As the perception grew that the contractor was not taking adequate steps in this area, the Afro American Society at Tufts, a student organization, became heavily involved in the matter. A series of peaceful confrontations between students and faculty and the construction company ensued. Due to the continuing concern about minority represenation, Tufts filed suit in state court in the fall of 1969 seeking a declaratory judgment as to whether or not the contractor had been in compliance with affirmative action guidelines. The construction company countersued, though both suits were dropped after negotiations were settled regarding outstanding payments.
Prior to the dedication of the building in Professor Lewis' honor, it was known among the students as "Freefer Hall" after an article which appeared in the Observer on April 10, 1970, cited a gift from Mr. and Mrs. Quentin P. Freefer, both Tufts graduates and champions of equal rights for both sexes. Despite obvious signs that the article was a hoax, including the byline under which the article appeared, Ima F. Rawde, Freefer Hall quickly took hold as the name of the new building. With the University's decision to officially name the building Lewis Hall, students petitioned unsuccessfully to keep the original name.
As of 1999, Lewis Hall continues to be used as a dormitory for undergraduates.
Source: BG7; LOH2