Givens Hall is named for Joseph B. Givens, who in 1930 provided Washington University in St. Louis with funds to construct a building for the School of Architecture and establish a general scholarship fund.
Givens’ gift was made in memory of his parents, Joseph W. and Kate Abigail Givens.
Joseph W. Givens
Joseph W. Givens was born in August of 1859. His father was a partner in the construction firm Givens & Adams, a company that built many of the buildings on the Washington University in St. Louis Danforth Campus. When Joseph Givens began to work for his father, the business began to see a steady increase in profits, and before long, Joseph and his father had acquired a substantial fortune. When Joseph’s mother died, he and his father both retired from the business; Joseph remained a bachelor until 1930, and his father lived a quiet life at the family home until his death.
Shortly before Joseph’s death in 1934, he gave a sum of $700,000 to the university; a portion was to be used to build Givens Memorial Hall, and the rest was to be used to begin a scholarship fund for architects. He dedicated the hall to the memory of his parents.