Banfield Residence Hall honors memory of longtime university supporter
Banfield Residence Hall honors memory of longtime university supporter This article about the dedication of Banfield Hall appeared in The Whalesong, the UAS student newspaper on Nov. 7, 1997. By Heather Montez
Banfield Hall, the newly dedicated residence hall named after one of the university's great supporters, Mildred H. Banfield, has been initiated with greatness behind its name.
Juneau resident Mike Miller, who served with Banfield in the Alaska House of Representatives, asked the audience at the Sept. 6 dedication, "Banfield Hall—doesn't that have a ring to it? I can imagine a Banfield Hall in Harvard, Stanford. I think it sounds great. It rings with dignity, with substance, and integrity. You know what? That's what Banfield the woman was all about."
The dedication program sums it up. It reads: "The construction of the student residence hall helped solidify the University of Alaska community with the addition of more than 80 full-time, on-campus students. The dedication of this building brings a spirit to the structure. Mildred Banfield was a strong supporter of the entire University of Alaska system and the Juneau campus. From this date forward, Banfield Hall will be a reminder of excellence in higher education."
Longtime friend and current Juneau Regent Elsa Demeksa, described Banfield as somewhat of a feminist. Although, she said, Banfield would never have considered herself one. Demeksa said, "Millie was a leader in the days when it was uncommon to have female leaders." Demeksa remembered a time when Banfield found out the Baranof Hotel had a male-only gym. "She hit the roof," said Demeksa. Banfield challenged the Baranof's men-only policy and convinced them to change the policy to accommodate women.
At the dedication ceremony, Juneau businessman Don Abel, who served with Banfield on the Board of Regents said, "Above all, Millie put the interest of the students first. She never forgot what the university was all about, the students."
She was active in Juneau civic affairs and was named Woman of the Year by Rotary in 1966.