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Loyola renames Flannery O’Connor Hall after Sister Thea Bowman

Loyola renames Flannery OConnor Hall after Sister Thea Bowman

On July 24, President Rev. Brian F. Linnane, S.J. addressed the community, via email, on recent equity and inclusion efforts at Loyola. In addition to creating an equity webpage and forming a presidential renaming committee for honorifically named spaces on campus, the University has renamed Flannery O’Connor Hall in honor of Sister Thea Bowman. 

According to Linnane, Sister Thea, 1937—1990, was an educator, speaker, and African American activist dedicated to working for justice and against racism. An influential voice during her lifetime, Sister Thea advocated for the materially poor and marginalized. Additionally, her cause for canonization has been endorsed by the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

This renaming comes after recent recognition of Flannery O’Connor, a 20th century Catholic American writer, and the racism present in some of her work. In an effort to create a more welcoming community, Linnane highlighted the need for this change in his address. 

“The building names we use at Loyola should declare to our students—and entire community—what sort of values we esteem and hope to instill in our graduates,” Linnane said. “A residence hall must be a home and a haven for those who live there, and its name should reflect Loyola’s Jesuit values.”

To address other honored spaces on campus, Linnane has formed a renaming committee for such buildings. The committee will create a process to evaluate whether to maintain or remove the honored names, in addition to a rubric that will inform the renaming process. 

The community is also invited to visit the Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Action Steps page, which is dedicated to outlining Loyola’s short-term, intermediate-term, and longer-term diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts. 

For more on Loyola’s equity efforts, keep up-to-date with The Greyhound.

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Loyola renames Flannery O’Connor Hall after Sister Thea Bowman