Rankin Hall is named after Carroll’s second president, Dr. Walter L. Rankin. He served Carroll for nearly 40 years beginning in 1866. Born in Allahabad,India in 1841, where his father was a missionary, Rankin and his family came to America in 1848. He graduated from Princeton University in 1860 at the age of 19. Following college, he taught school in Elizabeth, N.J. and studied law, before being asked to serve at Carroll.
Rankin was a tireless promoter and fundraiser, gradually increasing enrollment and the college’s stature. His childhood friend, Ralph Voorhees, along with his wife Elizabeth, were prominent supporters of a number of religiously-based colleges, Carroll included. The Voorhees’ donations funded the construction of three buildings on campus, including Rankin Hall. The facility originally housed chemistry, biology, geology and physics laboratories and classrooms. Since then, it has been home to many academic programs, including education, religion, history and modern languages. At one time, the Carrier Memorial Library was housed on the top floor of the building.