UF Named Facilities
Wilmon E. Newell Hall
Wilmon Newell was born in Hull, Iowa in 1878. He received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Iowa State University and served at various experiment stations before his appointment as State Entomologist of Georgia in 1903. He later served as Secretary of the Louisiana Crop Pest Commission, where he made important discoveries controlling the cotton boll weevil using powdered lead arsenate.
After working at Texas A & M College, Newell became the first Plant Commissioner for the Florida State Plant Board, where he directed a successful campaign to eradicate citrus canker. In 1921, Newell was selected to run the University of Florida's College of Agriculture as well as its Experiment Station and Cooperative Extension Service. He also headed the USDA's eradication campaign against the Mediterranean Fruit Fly in Florida in 1929. He held the title of Provost of Agriculture until his death in October 1943.
In 1909, this building was established to house the Florida Agricultural Experiment Station that had recently relocated from Lake City to Gainesville. The surrounding grounds of the facility were landscaped in order to provide hands-on research and practice for students. Renovations occurred in 1943, and the building was renamed in honor of Dr. Wilmon E. Newell, a prominent entomologist.
Narrative as displayed on the commemorative plaque:
Born in 1878 in Hull, Iowa, Dr. Wilmon Newell was influential in Florida agriculture from his arrival in this state. His Bachelor, Master, and Doctor of Science degrees were all from Iowa State College, and in 1937 he received a second Doctorate from Clemson Agricultural College. In 1915, he moved from Texas to Florida to become the first plant commissioner of the newly-created State Plant Board, a post that he held for the rest of his life. In 1921, the Florida State Board of Control appointed Dr. Newell as Dean of the College of Agriculture, and Director of the Agricultural Experiment Station. In 1938, he became Provost for Agriculture at the University of Florida, continuing in that capacity until his death. An entomologist by specialty, Dr. Newell authored more than one hundred scientific papers, and organized statewide campaigns against citrus canker and the Mediterranean Fruit Fly. Following Dr. Newell's death in Gainesville in 1943, the rebuilt Agricultural Experiment Station memorialized his service to Floridians.
The Agricultural Experiment Station was constructed in 1909. Architect William A. Edwards and builder J.J. Cain followed in the Collegiate Gothic architectural tradition, emphasizing classical, ornate facades of brick and terra cotta. When new, this was the southernmost major building on the University of Florida campus, and was surrounded by uncleared woods or open fields. In 1941, after three decades of service, Experiment Station staff and students vacated the building, allowing architect Rudolph Weaver to supervise a major renovation and expansion. Because of World War II, the project was obliged to compete for scarce building materials and labor. The War Production Board found that Florida agriculture, supported by the Agricultural Experiment Station, was crucial to the war effort, and allocated the necessary material. By 1944, the rebuilding was complete, resulting in a expansion of the Experiment Station's space, and the addition of a fourth floor, two new stairwells, and an elevator. In a ceremony held here on May 12, 1944, the Agricultural Experiment Station was dedicated in memory of Wilmon Newell.
This building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.