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The newly renovated School of Human Ecology building on the UW-Madison campus will be the first exclusively academic facility on campus to be named in honor of a woman.

Nancy Nicholas Hall is scheduled to open in 2012, named after Nancy Johnson Nicholas, who graduated from the school in 1955 and was the major contributor along with husband Albert "Ab" Nicholas for the building of the new facility.

The Nicholas contribution of $8 million was the lead gift in the $52 million construction and renovation project.

UW-Madison announced the naming of the facility in a news release from the university news service on Wednesday.

According to the news service, Nancy Nicholas Hall is the first exclusive-use academic building named after a woman, and one of only four facilities on campus named after women.

The Helen C. White Hall houses the College Library and the English Department, and two residence halls, Susan B. Davis and Elizabeth Waters, are named after women.

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"I'm grateful to Nancy Nicholas for her vision and generosity to enhance human ecology's capacity for excellent in education, research, creative endeavor and outreach," dean Robin Douthitt said in the release. "I'm pleased our new building carries the name of an alumna who embodies the school's mission to improve the quality of life for people in all circumstances and environments."

The Human Ecology building, 1300 Linden Drive, was constructed in 1913 and has had few renovations since a west wing was added in 1953.

The renovation and new space includes a state of the art preschool and adjacent family research interaction laboratory, which will be the first on-campus preschool research facility to include infants and young toddlers.