Maloney Hall was named for Martin Maloney, a Philadelphia philanthropist and papal marquis (a layman who has received a high title of nobility from the reigning pope), who gave $120,000 for the main building and $100,000 for the auditorium. The building originally housed the Martin Maloney Chemical Laboratory, the laboratory where the chemical weapon lewisite was first invented by Julius Nieuwland and later Winford Lee Lewis, with the help of CUA and Army researchers, developed it into a now-banned chemical weapon. It served as a laboratory for Army researchers developing chemical munitions for World War I.
Maloney Hall was built in November, 1917. The fieldstone Gothic‐style building was designed by architect Frederick Vernon Murphy who studied at the École nationale supérieure des Beaux-Arts. Upon his return to D.C. from Paris, Murphy introduced himself to the fourth rector of Catholic University, Rev. Thomas Joseph Shahan. The two men, who became great friends, planned the early campus, including Maloney, Father O’Connell and Gibbons halls, the John K. Mullen of Denver Memorial Library, and the old gymnasium. Malonery Hall underwent renovations and extensions in 1926, and became the home of the School of Business and Economics in 2016.