Title

Exhibit - MSU’s Residence Halls and their Namesakes

Introduction 

Since the founding of Michigan State University many changes have occurred, but residence halls have remained an important part of the college experience.

In 1857, two years after the university was founded, the first boarding hall opened. This building would later receive the nickname Saints’ Rest, taken from a popular religious book.  The building stood four stories high and resided east of where the MSU Museum now stands. The kitchen, laundry, and community wash room were in the basement. The second floor (which was the floor that one would enter the building) had a dining room, parlor, and living quarters for the steward and his wife. The third and fourth floors were the residence quarters for the men. Up to four men would reside in each of the twenty-eight rooms in Saints’ Rest, with two men per bed.  Each room was heated by its own small wood stove. Saints’ Rest was destroyed by fire during the winter break in December 1876.

The first Williams Hall opened in 1869 to accommodate the rise in student enrollment. Located near Saints’ Rest, Williams stood four stories tall and could house 86 students. The first Wells Hall, constructed in 1877, was a men’s residence hall which housed 130 students.  In 1896, college president Jonathan L. Snyder initiated the women’s program. He designated Abbot Hall, which had been occupied by male students since it was built in 1888, as female dormitory. Abbot Hall would house forty women and other facilities that were related to the new program. The women quickly outgrew this facility and the first dormitory built specifically for women would follow in 1900. Known as the Women’s Building at the time, it was later renamed Morrill Hall. The Women’s Building included offices, a kitchen laboratory, dining room, recitation room, kitchen, gymnasium, music rooms, and room for one-hundred and twenty women in double rooms with single beds. Women faculty members also had living quarters in the Women’s Building. A second Wells Hall, located near the present day Main Library, provided rooms for 156 men from 1907 until its demolition in 1966.

As student enrollment rapidly increased during the 20th century, so did State’s need for residence halls.  Most of MSU’s currently existing residence halls were constructed after World War II; a result of the large influx of students attending under the G. I. Bill.  Today, MSU has 27 residence halls bearing the names of individuals that were deemed important to State’s development. 
 

North Neighborhood


Abbot

Theophilus C. Abbot was a professor of English, history and philosophy at Michigan State. Abbot was also president of Michigan Agricultural College (now MSU) from 1862 to 1885. After resigning from this position, he continued to teach at the college until retiring in 1889 due to his declining health.

The original Abbot Hall was located near Beaumont Tower and was later used as a music practice facility prior to its 1968 demolition.  The current Abbot Hall is located in North Neighborhood and opened in 1939 as an all-male hall.  Its construction was partially funded under the federal Public Works Administration program.  Abbot and Mason Halls are joined together by a section which contained the kitchen and storage areas.


Mason

Stevens T. Mason was elected Michigan’s first governor at the age of 24. During his governorship, Mason worked to build railways that would connect the rural parts of the state to the economically thriving east.

First opened in 1938, Mason Hall was an all-male hall which cost each student three dollars per week to live in.   In 1953 it became a dormitory for women. 


Phillips

T. Glenn Phillips was a graduate of Michigan Agricultural College (now MSU) in 1902, and had a career as a well-known landscape architect. From 1922 until his death in 1945, he helped improve and expand the landscape of Michigan State’s campus.  He worked to preserve the beloved West Circle area (the area Beaumont Tower resides in), as well as the Red Cedar riverbanks.

Phillips Hall (1946) is situated west of Snyder Hall.  It was originally a men’s residence hall.


Snyder

Jonathan L. Snyder was President of Michigan State from 1896 to 1915. During his presidency, the school grew from a couple hundred students to 2,000. Snyder worked with the legislature to aid in the growth of Michigan State through the hiring of more faculty members and the construction of additional buildings to accommodate the growing student body. Snyder was also an advocate for the creation of a program designed for women, which would later be known as Home Economics.

Snyder Hall (1946) is similar in style to its neighbor, Phillips Hall, and was also originally a men’s residence hall.  A few years later, both Snyder and Phillips became residence halls for women.

Campbell

Louise H. Campbell was instrumental in bringing the wealth of knowledge contained in Michigan State’s Home Economics program to women in rural areas of Michigan.  From 1921 to 1930, Campbell served as the State Home Demonstration Leader. Additionally, she initiated the Annual Homemakers’ Conference which brought thousands of women to campus each year to learn from one another.  For a brief period, 1922-1923, Campbell held the position as Acting Dean of the Home Economics Division, in addition to her other duties.

Campbell Hall opened in 1939 as an all-female residence hall.  Its construction was partially funded by the federal Public Works Administration program.


Gilchrist

Maude Gilchrist served as the first Dean of the Home Economics Division, from 1901 to 1913.  During that time, Gilchrist helped found the local chapter of Omicron Nu, a national home economics professional sorority, established teacher education courses, and helped increase enrollment in the programs by 125%.

Gilchrist Hall was built in 1948 as an all-female residence hall.  It is similar in style to Yakeley Hall, to which it is physically linked.


Landon

Linda E. Landon served as the college librarian from 1891 to 1932. Landon was also the first female professor at Michigan State, teaching English in the 1890s. Before joining the staff at Michigan State, Linda Landon was a teacher in Kalamazoo, Michigan.

In 1947, Landon Hall became the college’s first permanent residence hall constructed after World War II.  Its cafeteria featured reliefs depicting people picking fruit, playing instruments, and feeding animals.  The reliefs were carved by Professor Leonard Jungwirth, who also created The Spartan statue.


Mayo

Mary Bryant Mayo was a member of the Grange (formally known as the Order of the Patrons of Husbandry), a national agricultural organization, which women were admitted as equals to men.  A compelling and talented public speaker, Mayo advocated for the establishment of the first Women’s Course (Home Economics) at Michigan Agricultural College (now MSU).

Opened in September 1931, Mayo Hall was the second residence halls constructed specifically to accommodate women.  It was built to house 246 women, at a cost of approximately $50 per term (12 weeks).  The outdoor fountain located in a pool in the front terrace was a gift from Mary Mayo’s son, Nelson Mayo.


Williams

Sarah Langdon Williams, wife of the Michigan State’s first President Joseph Williams, was a women’s rights activist.  Williams was the founder and editor of the Ballot Box, the official publication for the suffragist movement.  Recorded as a woman who put her “energy to the cause of humanity oppressed”, Sarah Williams served as a nurse on the front lines of the Civil War and proved her passion for humanity throughout her life.

Built at a cost of $477,000 specifically to house co-eds, Williams Hall opened in the fall of 1938.


Yakeley

Elida Yakeley was the college’s first registrar beginning in 1908. After holding the position for thirty years, Yakeley was remembered for personally knowing all of the students whom she registered, each time standing to greet the arriving new students at her big desk. Yakeley was also secretary to President Snyder from 1903 to 1908. In 1939, Elida Yakeley was recognized for her work collecting and classifying material that would prove important to the history of Michigan State and named an associate in historical research.

Completed in 1948, the women’s dormitory named for Elida Yakeley is physically connected to Gilchrist Hall.


Brody Neighborhood


Armstrong

W. G. Armstrong’s most significant contribution to Michigan State was serving on its governing body, the State Board of Agriculture (now MSU Board of Trustees) from 1944 to 1954. Outside of his involvement with Michigan State, Armstrong was a farmer, served as President of the Michigan State Grange and president of the National Association of Letter Carriers.  

Armstrong Hall opened in 1956, along with two other Brody residence halls, Bailey and Emmons.


Bailey

Liberty Hyde Bailey had his start as a Michigan State student in the Class of 1882. During that time, he founded and edited the Speculum, a student paper. Bailey studied with Dr. William Beal before becoming a horticulture professor. It is said that Bailey’s courses were so popular that students brought their own seats to ensure they could attend his lectures. Bailey wrote more than 60 books and numerous articles, which became the backbone of horticulture literature.  His name was a family name passed down by his abolitionist grandparents who used Liberty as a way to signify all deserved to be free.

Designed by Detroit architect Ralph Calder, Bailey Hall opened in 1956.  It is currently home to the Residential Initiative for the Study of the Environment (RISE) community and the Bailey GREENhouse.


Bryan

Claude S. Bryan was Dean of Veterinary Medicine beginning in 1947. After he took the position, Bryan pushed for the construction of a state of the art facility for the School of Veterinary Medicine, which would become Giltner Hall.  Continuing the work of his predecessor, Ward Giltner, Bryan turned the School of Veterinary Medicine into one of the finest in the country.

Bryan Hall opened as an all-male residence hall in 1954.


Butterfield

Kenyon L. Butterfield was a native of Michigan from Lapeer. Butterfield graduated from Michigan State in 1891. After graduation, Butterfield held the position of president at two other colleges before returning to serve as president of Michigan State (1924-1928).

Butterfield Hall, which cost approximately $1.5 million to construct, opened in 1954 as a residence for men.  Due to its proximity to the Kellogg Center, in its early years Butterfield was used as overflow lodging for campus visitors during big events, such as the 1955 Centennial.


Emmons

Lloyd C. Emmons worked to improve many aspects of Michigan State’s educational programs. While Dean of the School of Science and Arts, also referred to as Liberal Arts, Emmons made many changes within the school, including establishing a nursing program and an improved teacher preparation curriculum.  Emmons continued to teach calculus while holding his position as a dean.

Emmons Hall, which first opened in 1956, cost 1.4 million dollars to build.  During its first year it housed the men who previously called Phillips Hall home.  Phillips was turned into a women’s dormitory after the men vacated.


Rather

Howard C. Rather was a graduate of Michigan State, receiving a Bachelor of Science in 1917. Following his graduation, Rather served as a lieutenant in the Army with the American Expeditionary Force during World War I. Rather was hired by Michigan State as a professor of Farm Crops after the war. Rather later became the Dean of the Basic College, which was previously the general studies program on campus that all students were required to take.

Rather Hall first opened as a men’s dormitory in 1954, and its irregular plan is the reverse of Bailey Hall’s.  The early residents of Rather established an annual Christmas fund-raiser to pay for glasses and dental work for local underprivileged children.
 

South Neighborhood

Case

Albert and Sarah Avery Case were both part of Michigan Agricultural College (now MSU) in their own way. Albert was a captain of the football team in 1901 and graduated in 1902 with a B.S. degree. Sarah was a beloved gymnastics instructor at the college. The Cases spent most of their lives living abroad, with Albert working as a mining engineer.  Together they established a scholarship at Michigan State in memory of their son. Years later, Case Hall residents sent Sarah Case flowers and cards by the hundreds for her 100th birthday.

Built in 1961, Case Hall was the first hall to be designed to house both undergraduate men and women concurrently (in separate wings), but because of the coeducational function the students had a stricter dress code.


Holden Hall

Holden Hall is named for James and Lynelle Holden.  James Holden, a Detroit native, was a Michigan State student from 1889 to 1891. He worked in the real estate business, served on a number of boards, councils, and clubs in Detroit, and was appointed Detroit Zoological Park Commissioner in 1924.  The Holdens were generous benefactors of Michigan State, particularly to the MSU Development Fund.

First opened in 1967, Holden Hall was the last of the South Complex dorms constructed.  The 7.5 million dollar structure was designed to house 1232 students - half men and half women.


Wilson

Alfred G. and Matilda R. Wilson both had interesting lives. Alfred was a successful lumber broker in Michigan. Matilda was a member of the State Board of Agriculture (now MSU Board of Trustees) from 1931 to 1937. She owned a large amount of land in Rochester, Michigan which the couple donated to Michigan State for the creation of another branch of the university, Michigan State – Oakland.  This later became Oakland University. 

Wilson Hall, which opened in 1962, was designed by architect Ralph Calder. It was designed to house 1128 students, had offices for faculty, and a 400-seat lecture room.


Wonders

Wallace and Grace Wonders were benefactors of Michigan State. Wallace Wonders, of Detroit, graduated from Michigan Agricultural College (now MSU) with a Bachelor of Science in 1902.  Wonders and fellow South Neighborhood namesake Albert Case were classmates here at Michigan State.

Constructed in 1963, Wonders Hall is similar to Wilson Hall. Both buildings have a central section with classrooms and two wings with dormitory rooms.  Wonders architectural twin is McDonel Hall, in the East Neighborhood.


River Trail Neighborhood


McDonel

Irma and Karl McDonel had strong ties to Michigan State. McDonel graduated in 1916, then immediately was hired to work for the MSU Extension Services.  He later earned a master’s degree in economics.  McDonel served as Secretary of the State Board of Agriculture (now MSU Board of Trustees) from 1941 to 1960. 

McDonel Hall (1963), designed in the International Style, is identical to Wonders Hall in the South Neighborhood.


Owen

Floyd Owen graduated from Michigan Agricultural College (now MSU) in 1902. He received the Distinguished Service Alumni Award in 1948. Owen was a benefactor to Michigan State University, and was a source of funds for the construction of Owen Hall. He also coordinated fund raising for the Alumni Memorial Chapel.

Built to accommodate graduate students, Owen Hall was constructed in 1960.  It has a beautiful view of the Sanford Natural Area.


Shaw

Robert S. Shaw had a long history with Michigan State. For more than forty years, Shaw was a professor of agriculture, and was dean of the College of Agriculture. Shaw also served as acting president of the Michigan State College (now MSU) three times and was the official president from 1928 to 1941. During his presidency, Shaw saw enrollment triple, the establishment of a graduate school, and many new departments created.

Shaw Hall (1951) was the first of the residence halls designed in the International Style.  When it was constructed, it sat at the end of a dead-end road, across from some of the college barns.


Van Hoosen

Sarah Van Hoosen Jones had an interesting career. Jones earned a B.A. degree in Foreign Languages from University of Chicago in 1914, a M.S. degree in Animal Husbandry (1916) and a Ph.D. in Genetics (1921) from the University of Wisconsin. She raised purebred Holstein-Friesian cattle, and was the first woman named Michigan Master Farmer.   Jones was elected to the State Board of Agriculture (now MSU Board of Trustees) in 1943.

Jones, when told a building was to be named after her, insisted that it be given her middle name “Van Hoosen”, because that was her mother’s maiden name and it was the family that raised her.  Van Hoosen Hall (1957) was originally a women’s cooperative residence with thirty-two apartments.  Groups of six women shared living quarters and were expected to “have a mature attitude in making individual and group decisions.”


East Neighborhood


Akers

Forest H. Akers is a familiar name at Michigan State; it can be found on a residence hall, two golf courses, and a band practice facility.  As a student at Michigan State, Akers was the baseball team’s star pitcher, and a well-known prankster. He majored in forestry until he was asked to leave the college in 1908 due to his poor academic performance and trouble-making. After his departure, Akers worked his way up the corporate ladder and became Vice President of Chrysler Corporation’s Dodge Division in 1938. From 1939 to 1957 Akers served as a member of the MSU Board of Trustees.  Akers was a generous benefactor who donated money and property for the construction of two golf courses and the establishment of scholarships. Later in his life Akers was asked if he would support the college administration’s decision to expel a student who comported himself like Akers had as an Aggie. Akers replied “They were never, in all their history, more right.”

 Akers Hall, completed in 1964, is the architectural twin of Fee Hall.  Both were constructed to serve as student residences.

Holmes

John Clough Holmes had a significant role in the establishment of Michigan Agricultural College (now MSU). He was secretary of the Michigan Agricultural Society and helped to push the legislature to support the college.  Shortly after the college was founded in 1855, Holmes was asked to design College Hall, the first building in the U.S. devoted to the study of scientific agriculture. Additionally, he helped design the curriculum and was the first horticulture professor at the college from 1857 to 1862.

The dormitory that bears Holmes’ name was built in 1965.  It is currently home to Lyman Briggs College.


Hubbard

Bela Hubbard is considered one of the founders of Michigan Agricultural College (now MSU). Hubbard was an educational pioneer, advocating for a broadening of courses to allow for a more “enlightened liberal education.”  Outside his involvement with Michigan State, Hubbard was a Detroit geologist. He owned a farm and would have been considered a naturalist. Hubbard enriched the Detroit community as well, and was one of forty original donors that established the Detroit Institute of Arts. 

Hubbard Hall (1966), which has twelve stories, is the tallest residence hall at MSU.  Originally it housed 1200 students, with men in one wing and women in the other.


Exhibit written and created by Megan Badgley-Malone.

 Michigan State University Archives & Historical Collections

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