Mayo to rename administrative building in honor of Rosa Parks

By Matt Russell

Mayo Clinic will rename one of its downtown Rochester buildings in honor of civil rights pioneer Rosa Parks, a clinic official announced this morning.

The Pavilion Building, which is at the northwest corner of South Broadway and Second Street Southwest, next year will be renamed the Rosa Parks Pavilion, said Craig Smoldt, Mayo’s head of facilities.

"The building is a crossroads for the community and Mayo employees," said Smoldt, who noted that the administrative building also is connected to the new University of Minnesota campus.


The Pavilion Building, which has a Red Lobster restaurant at street level, once housed a Dayton’s department store. A storyboard commemorating Parks’ life will be placed in the building’s skyway level, Smoldt said.

In 1955, Parks refused to give her bus seat to a white man in Montgomery, Ala. She was arrested, leading to a boycott that brought Martin Luther King Jr. to national prominence.

A tireless advocate for equal rights, Parks often is called the mother of the modern civil-rights movement. She was chosen by Time magazine as one of the most influential people of the 20th century and was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal of Honor.

Discussions to name a building in Parks’ honor started shortly after she died in 2005, when it became clear what kind of lasting national impact she had, Smoldt said.

Smoldt announced the Pavilion Building’s name change at a Mayo Clinic diversity symposium in Rochester. He drew parallels between how Parks and a key figure in Mayo Clinic’s founding, Sister Mary Alfred Moes, believed in the equality of all people.

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Rosa Parks

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