In 1994 the Plaza of Heroines was created by the director of the Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics to support the renovation of Catt Hall. The site chosen for the Plaza was the south entrance of Catt Hall. The Plaza contained engraved bricks named for the women who inspired donors to the Plaza and Catt Hall. Each brick sold for one hundred dollars with a goal to sell two thousand bricks.
Plaza of Heroines
In October 1995 at the grand opening of Catt Hall, the Plaza of Heroines debuted to a well attended gathering. Donors to the Plaza provided information about their honored heroine to be shared at the celebration. By the winter 1996, over 2,300 bricks had been sold along with 225 pavers and two benches. After the renovation of Catt Hall was completed, funds from the purchase of bricks, pavers, and benches went to the Catt Center to continue their leadership development programs.
The Plaza of Heroines has not escaped controversy, however. After members of the Iowa State community disputed the renaming of Old Botany Hall to Catt Hall, a small group of donors who purchased bricks in the Plaza covered the names of their heroine in protest. Despite these conflicts, the Plaza of Heroines stands at the entrance of Catt Hall as a testament to the women whose lives inspired many others with their leadership and service. Today over 3,600 bricks have been purchased, and a complete registry of names on the Plaza of Heroines can be found through the Catt Center’s website.