In 2014, the Departments of Resident Life, Residential Facilities, and the Office of the Vice-President for Student Affairs released the On-Campus Housing Strategic Plan, a fifteen-year roadmap for the construction of new residence halls and the renovation and modernization of other halls to enhance the Maryland Residential Experience. A 2019 update accounts for evolving student needs, current market conditions, and the latest university priorities. The update focuses on the construction of two new residence halls that will serve as replacement housing for some of our older facilities and proposes a revised timeline for sequencing renovation schedules for the modernization of our other facilities.
The two new residence halls have been named in honor of former students who broke racial barriers at the university. Pyon-Chen Hall, which opened in Fall 2021, honors Pyon Su and Chunjen Constant Chen. In 1891, Pyon became the first Korean student to receive a degree from any American college or university. Chen was the first Chinese student to enroll at the Maryland Agricultural College. Johnson-Whittle Hall, opening in Spring 2022, will honor Hiram Whittle, the first African American man to be admitted to the university, and Elaine Johnson Coates, the first African American woman to graduate with an undergraduate degree.
The new dining hall, Yahentamitsi (Yah-hen-tuh-meet-c), will be the third building in the Heritage Community. The dining hall is the first building at UMD to honor the Native American heritage of its campus. In addition, the dining hall will also feature a tribute to the Piscataway people throughout the building through the art, artifacts, and other educational materials in the interior.