UM Honors ‘A Raisin in the Sun’ Author with Education Space Naming

Feb. 19, 2020

MISSOULA – A dynamic meeting space in the new Phyllis J. Washington College of Education addition honors playwright Lorraine Hansberrywho is best known for authoring the classic play A Raisin in the SunThe Lorraine V. Hansberry Flexible Meeting Space will benefit UM students and the campus community as they collaborate and problem solve challenges together 

dedication of the space will take place at 4 p.m. Friday, Feb. 21, in the Counseling Suite of the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education. Visit the UM Events Calendar at for details. 

Taking place during Black History Month, the dedication will honor Hansberry, who was the first African American playwright and youngest American to win a New York Drama Critics’ Circle award, for A Raisin in the Sun. The play — which depicts an African American family challenging racial segregation in 1950s Chicago — was the first play written by an African American woman to be produced on Broadway. Hansberry is recognized for her voice on matters of gender, class and race, and was inducted into the National Women’s Hall of Fame in 2017. 

The naming recognizes a gift pledged by Andy Hugoswhose donation honors the 60th anniversary of A Raisin in the Sun’s 1959 Broadway debutHugos’ grandfather Charles H. Clapp served as UM president from 1921 to 1935. His grandmother Mary Brennan Clapp was a UM faculty member.  

A financial consultant based in Latham, New York, Hugos said he hopes Hansberry’s legacy will continue to inspire others with her commitment to healthy families and communities, freedom and equality and to making quality education, housing and employment accessible to all.   

"The Hansberry family's outstanding citizenship and values are very similar to those held dear by my family," he said. "We share a desire to express our patriotism by endeavoring to make our great country and our world a better place."  

The Lorraine V. Hansberry Flexible Meeting Space is part of aexpansion to the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education that opened to students in fall 2019. The addition was funded through philanthropic giving, including a lead gift from the Dennis and Phyllis Washington Foundation.  

The expansion provides 35,000 square feet of instructional and collaborative space, including the Alice Lund Instructional Auditorium (ALI); clinical labs for the counselor education program; new spaces for the Montana Digital Academy; and two additional Learning and Belonging Preschool classrooms with observation rooms, seminar spaces, an outdoor play yard, and a unique inspiration lab. 

Private support is still needed to realize the full potential of the addition. Opportunities to name spaces such as this dynamic meeting space are still available. Gifts will help the college underwrite a full-time Early Childhood Program Director and support the new spaces with cutting-edge technology to enhance learning and communication. Tours of the addition are available upon request. 

Adrea Lawrence, Dean of the Phyllis J. Washington College of Education, said that gifts like Hugos' encourage collaboration between students. 

Students today use collaborative spaces more than previously,” said Lawrence. “They share ideas and work together to solve problems addressing our communities. 

Hugos’ gift is part of Campaign Montana, a comprehensive, seven-year fundraising campaign that is inspiring more than $400 million in philanthropic giving to UM through 2020. Donors will help achieve UM’s vision of a university that puts student success at the forefront, driving excellence and innovation in teaching, research and learning. The campaign is managed by the UM Foundation. Visit to learn more.