Today’s “What’s in a Name?” is a two-fer: Stark and Guinn, the towering TWU residence halls dominating the Denton skyline. Guinn Hall is the taller, standing at 24 stories. Stark Hall stands at 21 stories.
Guinn Hall is named for John A. Guinn, the sixth president of Texas Woman’s University, who served 1950-1976. During his administration, the university changed its name from the Texas State College for Women to Texas Woman’s University. He added new academic programs — including the expansion of the nursing program into Dallas and Houston — and new buildings in Denton, Dallas and Houston.
Stark Hall actually was the first skyscraper on the Denton campus and was the tallest residence hall in the nation when it was completed in 1967. The residence hall was named in honor of TWU alumna, regent and benefactor Nelda Childers Stark. When Guinn Hall was completed in 1969-70, it took the title of the country’s largest residence hall.
Side note: A residence hall bearing Guinn’s name was renamed Reagan Houston Hall when the new building opened. Reagan Houston Hall, named for a former TWU Board of Regents president, was located east of Jones Hall. A parking lot is now located there, but Reagan Houston Hall is one of the single-student apartment buildings in the Lowry Woods Community.
This is the fourth story in an occasional series on the history behind TWU buildings.
Part I — Stoddard Hall
Part II — Student Union
Part III — Blagg-Huey Library