UF Named Facilities
May A. Mann Jennings Hall
May Mann Jennings was the daughter of state Senator Austin Shuey Mann, and later the wife of William Sherman Jennings (Governor of Florida, 1901-1905). Born in New Jersey, she moved with her family to Crystal River, Florida in 1874 and was educated at St. Joseph's Convent in St. Augustine. Her interests ranged from the indigenous Indian (Seminole) tribes to women's suffrage; the latter of which became her primary interest as an adult.
She was very active in women's and civic organizations, serving as state President of the Florida Federation of Women's Clubs from 1914 to 1917. She also served on the executive committee of the state Audubon Society from 1919 to 1924. In addition, she co-founded the Florida League of Women Voters and was instrumental in establishing a State Bureau of Vital Statistics and a Forestry Department, for which she was known as the "Mother of Florida Forestry."
Jennings spent 33 years fighting to preserve the beauty and uniqueness of the Everglades, which began with the purchase of an out-of-the-way "hammock," or wooded area, on the outskirts of Miami, which is home to the only natural grove of royal palms in Florida. The 1,800-acre park, dedicated in 1916, was intended as the gateway to a much larger park, but it was years before that came to pass. The former Royal Palm Hammock State Park is the eastern entrance to the 1.5 million-acre Everglades National Park.
The Jennings Hall construction was part of a total $8.5 million multiple residential facility construction budget that included Graham, Trusler, Simpson, East and Rawlings Halls. Jennings was dedicated along with Trusler, Simpson, East and Rawlings Halls on November 3, 1962.
Jennings is part of the Towers/Jennings Residence Area and has a swimming pool and several tennis courts across the street. It backs up against a wooded ravine with a brook and a pedestrian bridge. It is also home to a satellite office of the GatorWell Program, which provides wellness services that focus on improving the body, mind and spirit.