UF Named Facilities
Townes R. Leigh Hall
Townes R. Leigh earned his bachelor's of science from Iuka, bachelor's of arts from Lebanon University, and his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1915. A pharmacist as well as a chemist, Leigh became head of the University of Florida Chemistry Department in 1920, and was the creator of the College of Pharmacy, serving as Dean from 1923 to 1933. He also became acting Vice President of the University in 1934, then Vice President from 1946 to 48. Leigh died in 1949.
Originally constructed in 1927, the main portion of the Chemistry and Pharmacy Building has been enlarged several subsequent times and renamed for Leigh. Distinctive features of the building include embossed chemical symbols on the downspouts as well as named of famous scientists carved into the frieze at the roofline.
Narrative as displayed on the commemorative plaque:
Chemistry classes first met in Thomas Hall and then Keene/Flint Hall (Science Hall). With growing enrollment, more classroom and laboratory space was needed. Construction began in 1925 for a new building for chemistry and pharmacy. It opened for classes the following fall. There were several additions to the building: an auditorium was added in 1938, a new wing in 1949, and the Chemistry Research unit in 1965-1966.
The building was named for Townes Randolph Leigh. He was born March 1880, in Panola County, Mississippi. He received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1915. During World War I, he invented the Leigh Fog Screen which helped protect naval vessels from submarine attack. Dr. Leigh became chairman of chemistry at the University of Florida in 1920, and director of the newly established School of Pharmacy in 1923. When the School became a College, Leigh was named its first dean. In 1933, he succeeded James Anderson as dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. The following year he was named acting vice president of the University. In 1946, he became vice president, a position he held for two years. Dr. Leigh died February 15, 1949. Leigh Hall was dedicated April 15, 1950.