Lola Tilly Commons

1850 Tanana Loop

Lola Tilly Commons

UAF photo by JR Ancheta

In 1963, the university built a common dining area on Tanana Loop, just below Stevens, Nerland and McIntosh halls. The building was dedicated to Lola Tilly in May 1985.

In August 2014, the university opened a new campus dining facility in Wood Center and closed kitchens at the Lola Tilly Commons. As of May 2020, the Facilities Services' Division of Design and Construction occupies the main floor and the kitchen is used by the OneTree Alaska lab. In February 2020, the Center for Student Engagement opened The Commons on the second floor. The Commons is a nondenominational gathering space for the UAF faith community, with a focus on student needs. 

Lola Cremeans was born in 1898 in Wayside, Ill. President Charles Bunnell persuaded her to join the Alaska Agricultural College and School of Mines in 1929. She served on the faculty until 1937, when she married engineer Gray S. Tilly. She resumed teaching in 1942. She taught classes in weaving and sewing as well as cooking, and her home economics teas were one of the social highlights of the year. In 1963, she retired as professor emeritus and received an honorary doctorate of humanities degree. A 1937 collection of Tilly’s canned salmon recipes is one of the earliest publications of the University of Alaska.

The Gray S. Tilly Memorial Award was established by Lola Tilly after Gray’s death. The award recognizes an outstanding senior whose education was interrupted because of family responsibilities, including financial hardship. Gray Tilly came to Alaska in 1923 and lived in southeastern Alaska for several years. He later moved to Fairbanks and was head of the Selective Service Board for 25 years.