Dedicated Oct. 8, 1967, Smith Hall houses the religious studies department, faculty and administrative offices, classrooms and the William J. Moore Library. It occupies the site of Myers Hall, which had housed the Department of Religion since 1907.
Myers had been built on the site of the Rush farmhouse, purchased in 1901 by the Christian Women’s Board of Missions, Christian Church, to house the Kansas Bible Chair, offering courses in religious history and the Bible; the hall was also used as a social center and public lecture space. In the 1960s funds were raised privately and from affiliated denominations for construction of a new building, and Myers was demolished in 1966.
This building was designed by architect Charles L. Marshall of Topeka and named for Irma I. Smith of Macksville, Kan., a major donor. To incorporate images from the university seal, Marshall designed the large stained-glass window “Burning Bush” and a courtyard for a large bronze statue of Moses.
Smith Hall and the land it occupies were owned by the Christian Churches of Kansas and the Kansas Bible Chair until 1998, when the university bought them for $1.1 million.