Rutgers University will name a landmark building on its Newark campus after Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the late Supreme Court justice who taught at Rutgers Law School.
The 17-story building at 15 Washington St., now a residence hall, was the home of Rutgers Law School from the late 1970s until 1999, according to the university. The Rutgers Board of Governors unanimously approved the naming of Ruth Bader Ginsburg Hall on Thursday.
Ginbsurg, who died in September at 87, taught at the law school from 1963 to 1972.
“When I think of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, I hope future generations will understand her perseverance, her clear-eyed pursuit of justice and equity, and her care for those people who are often seen as voiceless or without history,” Rutgers president Jonathan Holloway said. “These are the principles that Ginsburg stood for. I think they are the principles that Rutgers stands for, and I’d love for future generations to understand how they are connected in that way.”
In her time at Rutgers, Ginsburg pioneered teaching women’s rights with a seminar on the law and gender equality, according to the university. She also began to build the legal framework that helped her successfully argue major gender discrimination cases before the Supreme Court.
Jane Ginsburg, the justice’s daughter, said her family is honored by the naming.
“Rutgers was one of the very few U.S. law schools willing in the 1960s to hire women, or minorities,” Ginsburg, a law professor at Columbia Law School, said in statement released by Rutgers. “It is particularly appropriate that the university that gave Mother her start in law teaching would commemorate that association in such a tangible way.”
The neoclassical skyscraper, located on Washington Park between the Newark Museum and the Newark Public Library, was built in the late 1920s as the headquarters of the American Insurance Company. American Insurance was acquired by Fireman’s Fund Insurance Co., which eventually donated the historic building to Rutgers.
The building at one point was renamed the S.I. Newhouse Center for Law and Justice after the founder of Advance Publications, the owner of The Star-Ledger and NJ Advance Media.
It was recently repurposed as a home for 330 graduate and undergraduate students, including 100 law students. It’s also the residence of Rutgers-Newark chancellor Nancy Cantor.
Cantor wrote the proposal to name the building after Ginsburg.
“Justice Ginsburg’s steadfast commitment to social justice and equal treatment under the law, and to training future generations of change-makers, is precisely at the core of the institutional identity of Rutgers Law School in Newark and of Rutgers-Newark more generally,” she said.
Board of Governors chair Mark Angelson said Rutgers is proud of Ginsburg’s legacy at the university and that dedicating the landmark building in her honor will ensure that her name lives on at Rutgers.