UF Named Facilities
James W. Norman Hall
James W. Norman's motto was "Do something extremely well." As Dean of the College of Education from 1920 to 1941, Norman practiced what he preached. Even at an early age, the Georgia farm boy knew that academia was his calling. After graduating high school, Norman obeyed his father's behest that "A year between the plow handles never hurt anybody." Norman would bide his time for one year then left for university life and his dreams of serving in academia and never looked back. Shortly after Norman earned his doctorate from Teachers College at Columbia University, he was appointed as Dean of the College of Education. Norman, who believed professional training combined with experience would result in success in the field of education, immediately began working toward the establishment of a laboratory school. In 1934, P.K. Yonge Laboratory School (now Norman Hall) opened with 470 students. The school building would house a K-12 school as well as College of Education faculty and students until 1958 when it moved to another location. At that time, the building was re-named in honor of Dean James W. Norman. For his dedication and contributions to the college, Norman was awarded the distinction of Dean Emeritus.
An avid football fan, Norman would walk to the stadium after work and watch the football practices. When Florida State University began a football program, Norman sagely predicted their impact on the Gators saying, "The day is going to come when they are our main rivals." According to family and friends, Norman was a gentle man of "great gravity, great wisdom, and great mirth." Norman continued to contribute his time and talents to the college and the Gainesville community until his death in 1969.
Click here for an article about Dr. Norman by his great-granddaughter, Wendy Norman.
Norman Hall opened in 1932 as the P. K. Yonge Laboratory School. The building was re-named for College of Education Dean James W. Norman when the P. K. Yonge School moved to its new building in 1958. Norman Hall's architect was Rudolph Weaver who designed the building in the Collegiate Gothic style common to other UF campus buildings of that time and earlier. Norman Hall's main entrance is in a crenellated clock tower and its architecture includes arches and windows finished with an array of decorative ornamentation. Norman Hall was expanded in 1979 to provide additional space for the education library, classrooms and labs. Norman Gym is now home to the Digital Worlds Institute for the College of Fine Arts.
Norman Hall was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989.