Soon after the new Men’s Residence opened in March 1928, there was a call to name it. New College found little favour, nor did more broadly colonial commemorations like Riebeeck and Matopos.  A decade passed but not even the tantalising prize of a ticket to the House Dance brought a result.

There was another spurt in 1941 when Beattie College (after former Vice-Chancellor Sir “Jock” Carruthers Beattie) emerged as the favourite among Entabeni Ellisona and Burleigh. The University Council felt too many other prominent people who had been active in the establishment of the new campus at Groote Schuur were still alive. The House, miffed, “left the matter in abeyance pending the ultimate destiny of the gentlemen concerned”.

In 1950 moves were afoot to rename neighbouring Women’s Residence and a House Meeting resolved, so recently after the death of the Chancellor, Field Marshall Jan Smuts, that the honour should go to him. Smuts Hall was formally and unanimously adopted on 10 November 1950