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The University of San Francisco will today formally change the name of a residence hall (at right) from Phelan Hall, honoring one alumnus, to Burl A. Toler Hall (another). As at other colleges and universities, some names designated many years ago trouble some on campus today. The Phelan name, designated in 1955, was to honor James D. Phelan, who was mayor of San Francisco from 1897 to 1902 and served as a U.S. senator from 1915 to 1921. The honor for him no longer seems appropriate today to many on campus, because he was known for his use of anti-immigrant rhetoric and was particularly known for encouraging anti-Japanese sentiment.

Toler, whose name will now be on the facility, would have been 89 today. When he was a student at the university, he was a football player, a rare African-American star on a predominantly white team in 1951. The team opted out of postseason bowl games rather than leave Toler and another player behind, as would have been required. Toler went on to become a teacher and the first black high school principal in San Francisco.