This is the fourth in a series of six features on the buildings of West Circle. Previous features were on Campbell, Williams, and Mary Mayo Halls.
The next building constructed was Landon Hall, built in 1947.
The first female instructor at the college, Linda Landon primarily served as the librarian for 41 years, holding the post from 1891 until 1932. When Landon became librarian, the library was held in Linton Hall, which also served as the administration building. She was overlooking a mere 15,000 volumes. Just two years after the end of her reign as librarian, this number would reach 100,000. (Of course, to put this in perspective, today we have over five million volumes.)
Through her hard work and expansive collection, the library outgrew Linton Hall and she helped to initiate the opening of a new building exclusively designed to be a library. This building is the current MSU Museum, which opened in 1925. Equally impressive, the collection of books would outgrow this building even faster and would be replaced in 1955 with the current library we know today. In order to move the books across the street to the new building, students made a human line between the two and passed them over by hand, bucket brigade style.
Through her tenure, Landon was known and loved by all students and in 1912, the yearbook was dedicated in her honor. They described her as “that amiable, pleasant little lady in black who more than anyone else has been tutoring thousands of students in the art of appreciating, loving, and valuing these true friends in life - books.”
This is the third in a series of six features on the buildings of West Circle. Previous features were on Williams and Mary Mayo Halls.
The third hall constructed in West Circle was Campbell Hall. Built in 1939, Campbell was built in part by the WPA (Works Progress Administration), which gave those unemployed by the Great Depression a chance to get back on their feet and get to work improving the infrastructure of the country.
The hall was named for Louise Hathaway Campbell, a woman who was a proponent of Home Economics and became the Dean of Women in 1923. Under her tutelage, the department expanded and curriculum was refined. Instead of taking more general courses, female students could specialize in fields like Nutrition, Management, or Textiles. She also established the first graduate programs for women, as well as introducing research to the Home Economics Division.
Today, Campbell Hall is still one of the first things seen when visitors enter at the Abbot Entrance of campus and it certainly looks beautiful in every season. Here, Kurt Dewhurst, the MSU Museum Director, discusses the craftsmanship that went into the building, one of many campus locations on the WPA Walking Tour.
This is the second in a series of six features on the buildings of West Circle. The previous feature on Mary Mayo Hall can be found here.
The second residence hall built in West Circle was Williams Hall, built in 1937.
However, it was not actually the first of its name.
The original Williams Hall was built in 1869 and named for Joseph R. Williams, the first president of the university. It stood near the location of the Museum today and was the second dormitory built on campus, allowing the university the ability to expand its student population. As the city of East Lansing was yet to exist, students’ only option was to live on campus and enrollment was directly tied to the amount of beds provided by the university. It was initially just called “the new hall” until 1876 when the next dormitory was built. At that time, it was formally named for Williams.
For many years, it played a large part in students’ lives, its bell chiming to wake the students in the morning and doing so again at the end of the day. The basement cafeteria provided food for the entire student population and many student clubs used its meeting rooms.
Like many of the original buildings in the university, the first Williams Hall burnt down in a spectacular fashion on January 1, 1919. Luckily, it was over winter break and no one was in the building!
The current Williams Hall was built in 1937 and actually bears a slightly different name than the original -it’s named for Williams’ wife, Sarah Langdon Williams.
A great supporter of her husband’s work, she also made great strides herself for women’s suffrage and other causes. She founded and edited The Ballot Box, the official newspaper of the suffrage movement and called both Susan B. Anthony and Elizabeth Cady Stanton friend. She spent the years directly following the founding of MSU serving as a battlefield nurse in the Civil War and was always a strong supporter of Michigan State and all it stood for.
As for the building itself, it was one of many on campus tied to the Works Progress Administration during the Great Depression. Its famous glazed terracotta sculpture, entitled “Children Reading” depicts three young girls studying from a book. As a symbol of women in education, it perfectly fits the once all-female dorm. The fish spout directly below adds a bit of whimsey to the front courtyard that faces Michigan Ave.
As part of the Kresge Art Museum’s WPA Walking Tour, videos are available detailing more about the sculpture here and here.
Today, Williams Hall is unique in that it allows students to conveniently live on campus without a meal plan (though they can also buy limited ones if needed), providing community kitchens and a Great Hall for events like weekly ballroom dance lessons and annual West Circle occasions like the Soul Food Dinner and Casino Night.
Many international students call Williams home, as it provides them the opportunity to eat food that they might feel more comfortable with and can not be found in the dining halls. Overall, as one of the more unique living opportunities on campus, Williams provides a balance of independence and convenience.
This is the first in a series of six features on the buildings of West Circle.
Built in 1931, Mary Mayo Hall is the oldest dormitory on campus that is still used for its original purpose (buildings like the Union and Morrill once partially functioned as housing in their early days). The first of six once all-female dorms in West Circle, Mayo established the area’s Collegiate Gothic style, with its large bay windows and first floor dining hall (long since converted to study space and offices).
Mary Mayo was a well-known woman in Michigan during the turn of the twentieth century. She had grown up on a farm near Battle Creek, but after marrying a celebrated Civil War veteran (Perry Mayo), she became active in organizations like the Grange (also known as the Patrons of Husbandry). A sort of Mason-like fraternal organization for farmers, it was most notable for providing equal leadership and involvement opportunities for both men and women. In this area, Mary flourished. She organized a “Fresh Air” program that provided country vacations for urban poor and encouraged women to become more involved in all aspects of community engagement.
In a time when very few women even spoke in public, Mary Mayo was giving lectures about the importance of higher education for women. She urged Michigan Agricultural College to develop a specific women’s course. Although MAC was the first college in the state of Michigan to admit female students (in 1870), those students were looking at a very limited curriculum of agriculture and engineering. They also lacked housing, having to live with professors or family in Lansing, taking a three-mile stagecoach ride in to class each day. Thus, very few female students choose to come to the school.
With the development of the Women’s Course in 1896, Mary Mayo’s dream had finally been achieved - women could take courses in nursing, education, and many other fields. Morrill Hall opened in 1900 and was originally to be named in her honor, but the building was left unnamed for many years (known simply as the “Women’s Building” or “The Coop”) and eventually the new building in West Circle took it up instead.
Renovated during the 2008-09 school year, special attention was paid to historical restoration and refurbishment. In fact, the renovation updated the windows to be more historically accurate (having been previously remodeled to be less so). The original woodwork was kept, while new flooring, plumbing, and furniture were added. Most importantly, the entire building was cleared of hazardous materials such as asbestos. Reopening in fall of 2009, Mayo continues to be one of the most sought-after residence halls on campus.
WDBM is the current on-campus radio network operating out of Michigan State University. In the 1970s, it originated as the Michigan State Network, which broadcasted from many small studios all over campus in different dorms. From there, the studios were consolidated into WLFT, which broadcasted from the former WKAR studios in the MSU Auditorium. All of these stations were run on a carrier current network, once the largest in the country.
Eventually, in 1989, the station became licensed to broadcast on FM. Renamed ImpactFM, this student-run studio operates 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. In 2004, it became the first college radio station to broadcast in HD. It has also been named “College Radio Station of the Year” by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters more than any other station in the state.
Playing a mix of different programming blocks, talk and variety shows, WDBM (which now broadcasts from Holden Hall) has around 100 student volunteers from all different majors. Students interested in becoming an on-air DJ can apply or hone their skills on Impact’s own training website.
“Some schools have cultivated more wanna-be fans than true grads. The temptation is strong for voters to pander to these people. Everyone knows that this is why Michigan is in a BCS bowl and we are not.”—Scott Westerman, head of the MSU Alumni Association
By Scott Westerman (head of the MSU Alumni Association)
The following is my personal opinion and does not necessarily reflect the views of my employer.
Looking back on these last two years of MSU football, I have never been prouder to be a Spartan.
It wasn’t fair. Last year another team in our league broke some major NCAA rules. It was decided to wait to impose sanctions and they got a BCS game that many now believe they didn’t deserve. That knocked us out of the Rose Bowl. This year, we had the best record in the Big 10. We beat everybody who was important. Under the old rules, we would be Pasadena bound.
But now there is this conference championship thing where had to play the team we already beat, again, to see which one of us would go to the Rose Bowl.
We didn’t win that game. And because of the machinations within the BCS calculations, that team down the road, who we have beaten four years in a row, will probably get the second BCS bid.
It would be easy to be angry about this if you were a member of the MSU football team. You’ve played your heart out for two straight years, fighting from behind to win the tough ones, slowly and surely improving with every game. You’ve demonstrated that you can learn from your mistakes. Every one of your key players is academically eligible, didn’t break any rules, and came back to the fight, again and again, even as the sports media failed to believe in you and forces beyond your control conspired to keep you from the prize.
This is how life works. You can do your best work. You can be the best. And despite all of this, you may still not be recognized as the best.
There will be those who will beat you fair and square. This is how you learn. And some who others may call “winners” will bend the rules, perhaps even break them. But history will ultimately paint the true picture. And the hearts of those who deviate from the right path will inevitably know the truth. As Joe Paterno apocryphally put it,”Success without honor is an unseasoned dish; it will satisfy your hunger, but it won’t taste good.”
It turns out that those who don’t exhibit the outward signs of what others call success, are often the ultimate victors. T.J. Duckett is one of those guys. After a stellar college and NFL career, he came back to East Lansing to build businesses, to finish school and to use his influence to address some of societies most pressing problems. I’ve seen him on his way to class. In many ways, he looks just like any other Comm Arts student at MSU. But he is one of the best examples I know of what a true Spartan can ultimately grow up to be.
Kirk Cousins is another example. According to his bio on the MSUSpartans.com website, he has helped lead the Spartans to 21 victories in 24 games during the past two seasons. He has completed 64.3 percent of his passes ranking first in MSU history and tied for third Big Ten history. He has thrown the most touchdown passes in Michigan State history. He volunteers at the pediatric ward at Lansing’s Sparrow Hospital, participates in the Athletes in Action sports ministry and will likely be able to choose between an NFL shot, a broadcasting gig or a career in kinesiology. His keynote speech at the 2011 Big Ten Kick-off Luncheon was hailed as one of the best ever given.
You don’t need roses to prove that Kirk Cousins is a winner.
Wisconsin won tonight and deserves congratulations for playing a terrific game. The MSU Football Team did not take home the Big 10 Championship trophy, even though by every traditional standard we deserved it. We will probably have to wait another year to play in Pasadena. These Spartans Will continue to improve and I believe we Spartans Will end up in California on New Year’s Day. And, even thought we didn’t “win” tonight, our football team of Spartans Will be playing in the post season, just as we’ve done every year since Mark Dantonio became our head coach. I will be there to cheer them on. If you are a true Spartan, you will, too.
But don’t forget what’s most important.
We will graduate one of the highest percentage of senior athletes in Division 1. The vast majority of these young men and women will live Spartan Lives. Some may not be stars by the media’s definition. But nearly all will do good things, be great role models, and inspire the next generation to work harder, reach higher and dream bigger.