What is in a Name? Randall Hall

Reino Randall 1940s

Reino Randall, 1940s

Born in Canada and raised in Rainier, Washington, Reino Randall came to Ellensburg to attend the Washington State Normal School in 1928 and found a career.

Randall, who was born in 1911, recalled in an oral history recorded in the mid-1990s, that after graduating from the normal school in 1934, he worked as an art teacher in Wapato, Washington, before going back to school to earn a master’s degree in teaching at Columbia University Teacher’s College.

Randall told historian Samuel Mohler that since money was tight when he decided to go back to school in 1937, he had to hitch-hike part of the way and worked on a sheep train to earn money.

“I arrived in New York, smelling like sheep, with $200 in my pocket, and a job washing dishes at the International House where I stayed,” Randall said. Following graduation, Randall taught art at the high school in Gloversville, New York.

In 1938, Randall married Naomi Edwards, a descendent of early pioneer settlers in the Kittitas Valley, who he had met in Ellensburg, and was hired at his alma mater to teach art and design. He didn’t leave until his retirement from the school 38 years later, in 1976.

During that time, he saw his department move from almost strictly classical art instruction to embracing graphic design and more commercial types of art, and served as chair of the Art Department for many years.

In addition to his teaching career at Central, over the years Randall taught summer classes at Fresno State College, the Toledo Museum, the University of Hawaii, the Honolulu Academy of Arts, and the University of Montana. He also served on the Washington State Arts Commission for many years.

Randall also helped create the first international study abroad programs at Central, including numerous educational study trips to Mexico City.

Following his retirement, Randall and his wife (who also had a long career as an art teacher in Ellensburg) relocated to San Jose, California, to be closer to their children (both CWU graduates). He died in 1997 at the age of 85, while Naomi died in 2011. Both are buried in the IOOF Cemetery in Ellensburg.

In 1969, a Fine and Applied Arts Complex consisting of two buildings was built at Central, which was named for Randall and Helen Michaelsen, a long-time Home Economics professor at the university.

The two brick and class buildings, linked by a one-story catwalk, are generally referred to as Michaelsen-Randall Hall. The pair of two-story structures have an irregular floorplan, meaning they have lots of sharp angles, and have seven courtyards scattered around the periphery of each structure. Student-created sculptures are located in many of the courtyards.

Randall Hall, which is 82,000 square feet, is also home of the Sarah Spurgeon Gallery, created in 1977 to honor longtime art professor, Sarah Spurgeon. Randall continues to serve as home of the Department of Art + Design.

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