O'Hara Hall, the multifaceted athletic building in the southeast corner of the Academy, is named for Edwin J. O'Hara. O'Hara was the second Midshipmen to receive the Distinguished Service Medal, the Merchant Marine's highest honor, and the first to give his life while earning it.
O'Hara, an 18-year old Californian, was assigned to the Liberty ship Stephen Hopkins. The Stephen Hopkins was alone and traveling westbound in the South Atlantic in September, 1942, when it encountered two German commerce raiders. Though the Hopkins carried only one four-inch gun and other light armament, its crew decided to fight rather than to surrender. With his ship aflame and near sinking and with the rest of the crew killed, O'Hara began single-handedly loading and firing the ship's remaining shells. Astoundingly, O'Hara scored hits on both enemy ships, sinking one and damaging the other. When the Hopkins finally sank, O'Hara went down with her. O'Hara's medal was presented to his mother on March 15, 1943. One year later, and a dedication day was held in the building which would bear his name.
O'Hara Hall serves as the home arena for the men's and women's basketball, men's and women's swimming and diving, women's volleyball and wrestling teams. Physical education classes are also conducted in O'Hara Hall with a row of offices on the west end of the building accommodating the physical education and athletic department staffs. Construction in the late 1970's added a swimming and diving facility, wrestling room, lockerrooms, and racquetball courts. Recently, the lobby was refaced along with necessary construction to the front of the building to aid in O'Hara Hall's handicap accessibility.
Also located in O'Hara Hall is the Thomas J. Hughes and Robert J. Lavinia Conference Room, donated by the two Alumni, for Physical Education and Athletic Department meetings and conferences. Located downstairs is the team media room, locker rooms, and equipment room. In addition, O'Hara Hall is home to the Kings Point Athletic Hall of Fame and the Blue and Gray Fitness Center.