Serra dorm renamed to honor Sally Ride, Serra House renamed for Carolyn Lewis Attneave

Feb. 28, 2019, 12:45 a.m.

Serra dorm in Stern Hall will be renamed in honor of Sally Ride ’78, and Serra House will be renamed to honor Carolyn Lewis Attneave M.A. ’47 Ph.D. ’52 effective immediately, Provost Persis Drell announced to dorm residents on Wednesday evening. Serra House is an academic building within the Clayman Institute for Gender Research.

Ride, who died in 2012, was a physicist and astronaut who became the first American woman in space in 1983. Attneave was a psychologist who played a significant role in creating the field of Native American mental health before her death in 1992.

“Carolyn Attneave and Sally Ride took their talents and commitments far beyond Stanford and, in Sally’s case, literally around and beyond the globe, and explored new ways of learning about our society and making it better,” University President Marc Tessier-Lavigne told Stanford News. “They serve as powerful examples for all of us at Stanford today.”

In determining the new names, two campus groups charged with the renaming looked to select individuals directly tied to California who reflect diversity, are deceased and have been previously overlooked.

Tessier-Lavigne and Drell approved the recommendations for the new names from two campus groups, which were appointed by Vice Provost for Student Affairs Susie Brubaker-Cole and the Dean of Humanities and Sciences Debra Satz.

The renaming follows over two years of controversy regarding the naming of campus features after Father Junipero Serra, who founded the Catholic mission system in California and has been sharply criticized for his mistreatment of Native Americans. On Sept. 13, 2018, the University announced its decision to rename Serra House, Serra dorm and Serra Mall. Serra Street, which runs from the eastern end of Serra Mall to El Camino Real, will retain its name. Junipero dorm in Serra Hall — named for the juniper tree and not Serra, despite popular misconceptions — will also retain its name.

The decision to rename the frosh dorm followed a selection process led by current Serra residents, similarly to how Serra dorm was named in the 1950s. Residents voted on three finalists: Ride, Maya Angelou and Pat Parker. A separate committee recommended Attneave for the renaming of Serra House.

“Sally Ride is an extremely incredible role model for so many different types of students on this campus,” said Serra resident Ria Calcagno ’22, following the announcement. “From women to LGBTQ students, to STEM students, to really anyone who wants to trailblaze in whatever they’re interested in. I’m so grateful this name change will inspire students to follow in her footsteps.”

The University is also in the process of to renaming Serra Mall to Jane Stanford Way, changing the University’s official address, which is currently 450 Serra Mall. While the University intended to submit a Preliminary Street Name request to proceed with the renaming by the end of  January, but has not yet done so due to “logistical and implementation issues,” according to University spokesperson Brad Hayward. The request is subject to approval by the U.S. Postal Service and the Santa Clara County Central Permit Office, and Hayward says it will be submitted “soon.” 

Ride is most known for her role aboard the space shuttle Challenger, for which she remains the youngest American woman to fly in space. She earned four degrees from Stanford, including two graduate degrees and undergraduate degrees in English and physics, and completed a second mission aboard the Challenger. Later, she spent two years as a fellow at Stanford’s Center for International Security and Arms Control and founded Sally Ride Science, a foundation to promote STEM literacy among young people, with her partner Tam O’Shaughnessy.

Attneave is of mixed Lenni-Lenape and Scandinavian heritage. Focusing on cross-cultural understanding in psychology, she founded the Society of Indian Psychologists and North American Indian Center of Boston. An award was created in Attneave’s name by American Psychological Association to acknowledge her role in the establishment the field of Native American mental health to honor diversity in family psychology.


Contact Julia Ingram at jmingram ‘at’


This article has been updated to reflect that Sally Ride was not the first woman in space, but rather the first American woman in space. The Daily regrets this error. 

Julia Ingram ’21 was The Daily's Volume 256 editor-in-chief. She is a New York City native majoring in English literature and working toward a career in news reporting. Contact her at jingram ‘at’

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