David Lawrence Hall

David Lawrence Hall

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David Lawrence Hall is a major academic building at the University of Pittsburgh
University of Pittsburgh
The University of Pittsburgh, commonly referred to as Pitt, is a state-related research university located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, United States. Founded as Pittsburgh Academy in 1787 on what was then the American frontier, Pitt is one of the oldest continuously chartered institutions of...

 in Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
Pittsburgh is the second-largest city in the US Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the county seat of Allegheny County. Regionally, it anchors the largest urban area of Appalachia and the Ohio River Valley, and nationally, it is the 22nd-largest urban area in the United States...

, Pennsylvania
The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is a U.S. state that is located in the Northeastern and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States. The state borders Delaware and Maryland to the south, West Virginia to the southwest, Ohio to the west, New York and Ontario, Canada, to the north, and New Jersey to...

, United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

, where it serves as the school's largest lecture hall and auditorium facility.


Lawrence Hall was constructed on the site former Pittsburgh Board of Education's
Pittsburgh Public Schools
Pittsburgh Public Schools is the public school district in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA and adjacent Mount Oliver.The combined land area of these municipalities is with a population of 342,503 according to the 2000 census. In August 2005, the superintendent became Mark Roosevelt. His tenure ends...

 central warehouse and maintenance shop, acquired by the university for $300,000. Completed in the spring of 1968 at a cost of $2.2 million, Lawrence Hall was originally known as the Common Facilities Building, and contains many classrooms and lecture halls which are used for social sciences classes and other disciplines across the school's curriculum.
In 1969, Lawrence Hall became the center of one of the largest student protests at Pitt during the late 1960s era when many student demonstrations were occurring around the world. A group calling itself the Concerned Students and Faulty attempted a three day, round-the-clock fast in the lobby of the building to protest academic and administrative policies at the university, including demands to open access to all meetings and files and to abolish grade averages. Reaching approximately 350 protesters, the group gradually diminished to slightly over half that size by the time the building officially closed. A court order obtained by the university chancellor Wesley Posvar
Wesley Posvar
Wesley Wentz Posvar was the fifteenth Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh.-Biography:Posvar was born September 14, 1925 in Topeka, Kansas. He attended West Point, graduated first in his class in 1946, and after graduation he joined the U.S. Army Air Corps, which later became the U.S. Air...

 led to a peaceable relocation at 4:30 am, approximately 16 hours after the beginning of the sit-in. The approximately 70 remaining protesters moved to the ballroom of the William Pitt Union
William Pitt Union
The William Pitt Union is the student union building of the University of Pittsburgh main campus and is a Pennsylvania and Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation Historic Landmark...

 where some continued their protest. The protest had little effect, although some of the students promised more sit-ins and the group continued on, but soon after folded due to a lack of student interest. The events did prompt Posvar to attempt to hold an open hearing in the Commons Facilities Building in the spring of 1970 in order to let students air their gripes and opinions. However, the meeting was lightly attended.

On September 16, 1970, the building is named in honor of David L. Lawrence
David L. Lawrence
David Leo Lawrence was an American politician who served as the 37th Governor of Pennsylvania from 1959 to 1963. He is to date the only mayor of Pittsburgh to be elected Governor of Pennsylvania. Previously, he had been the mayor of Pittsburgh from 1946 through 1959...

, a trustee of the university from 1945 until his death in 1966, who was also a former Governor of Pennsylvania and the mayor of Pittsburgh from 1946 to 1959 during Pittsburgh's first urban renewal program dubbed Renaissance I.

The hall houses the largest newly renovated auditorium on campus; it seats 998 people and is generally divided into two large lecture classes.


Virgil Cantini
Virgil Cantini
Virgil David Cantini was an enamelist,sculptor and educator. He was well known for innovation with enamel and steel and received both local and national recognition for his work, including honorary awards, competitive prizes and commissions, along with a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1957...

's 1966 steel with bronze and glass sculpture Ode to Space sits outside the entrance to David Lawrence Hall. The sculpture contains the inscription, labore as astra or "to work toward the stars." The sculpture, weighing one ton and standing 15 feet high, was anonymously to the university as a memorial to Chancellor Edward Litchfield
Edward Litchfield
Edward Harold Litchfield was an American educator and the twelfth Chancellor of the University of Pittsburgh. He is best known for a major expansion of the university, but also a failure to raise sufficient capital to fund such growth, eventually leading to his resignation in July 1965.He earned...

, whom died in a 1965 plane crash.

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