Bryn Mawr College on Monday named a new residence hall that also will serve as its Black Cultural Center after Enid Cook, the college's first African-American alumna.
Cook, a 1931 graduate who majored in chemistry and biology, was denied on-campus housing and lived off campus with a local family. After earning her doctorate from the University of Chicago, she became a lecturer in that school's department of medicine and later served as the chief of the public health laboratory and a professor of microbiology at the University of Panama. She died in 1989.
"In addition to honoring Enid Cook, The Cook Center stands as a testament to the accomplishments of the many women of color who have attended Bryn Mawr and as a reminder of the work that remains to be done in creating a more just and equitable world," said Bryn Mawr College President Kim Cassidy.
The Bryn Mawr campus was roiled last October after two students tacked up a Confederate flag in their dormitory hall and taped a "Mason-Dixon line" across the floor. The students later removed the flag as pressure and complaints mounted.
The idea of naming the residence hall after Cook came well before the flag controversy and was student driven, said Bryn Mawr spokesman Matt Gray.
But he added: "I think we've all become more aware of the issues of trying to be sensitive to everyone's perspective."
The first African-American student to live on Bryn Mawr's campus was Evelyn Jones, class of 1954. Students of color make up nearly a third of the student body at the women's college.