Regents approve renaming of Bldg. B to Urey Hall

February 17, 1966

The University of California Board of Regents, meeting at the San Francisco Medical Center (Friday, February 18) voted to name the first major building built on the San Diego campus in honor of one of the University's most distinguished scientists and his wife.

Building B, the seven-story laboratory, classroom, and office building and the first major building to be completed on the new Torrey Pines Mesa campus, will be dedicated in honor of Harold and Frieda Urey. The action was taken by the Regents on the basis of recommendations by UCSD Chancellor John S. Galbraith and the UCSD faculty.

Building B will be designated Harold and Frieda Urey Hall. Dr. Urey is a University of California Professor of Chemistry-at-Large and a Nobel Prize winning scholar who makes his headquarters on the San Diego campus. The recommendation sent to the Regents stated that even more than his academic achievements, Dr. Urey "represents to the faculty and staff at San Diego the spirit and purpose of the campus."

Mrs. Urey, in the words of Chancellor Galbraith, "has done far more than any other woman to give the campus a sense of community. She has been far more than hostess and organizer of women's groups - she has been continually active in the academic life of the campus.

Dr. Urey is a nuclear chemist whose discovery of heavy hydrogen won him a Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1934. The same year he received the highest honor in American chemistry, the Willard Gibbs Medal. In his academic career, Dr. Urey has also made fundamental contributions to production of the atomic bomb through processes for separating the isotopes of the elements and, as the nation has moved into the space age, his work has expanded to include an exhaustive study of the earth's solar system.

At present he is considered one of the world's leading authorities on the subject of the moon and serves as a Ranger TV Experimenter for the Jet Propulsion Laboratory which has launched the Ranger series of moon shots.

Dr. Urey joined the faculty at UCSD in 1958. Prior to his appointment at San Diego, he served as Martin A. Ryerson Distinguished Service Professor of Chemistry in the University of Chicago's Institute for Nuclear Studies, where he developed techniques for estimating variations in the earth's climates through the geological ages, and theories to explain the chemical nature of the origin of the solar system.

He was born in Walkerton, Indiana, in 1893, and graduated from the University of Montana in 1917, where he majored in Zoology. The following year he spent as a research chemist in industry before returning to the University of Montana as an instructor in chemistry. He proceeded with graduate studies in chemistry, receiving his Ph.D. from the University of California in 1923.

As a teacher, Dr. Urey is noted for his interest in his graduate students, his close association with their work, and his concern for recognition of their abilities and achievements. He and his wife, the former Frieda Daum, were married June 12, 1926. They are the parents of four grown children.