The Union Building Entrance, 1940s
Theophilus C. Abbot Hall
The original Abbot Hall (1), undated
Theophilus C. Abbot was a professor of English, history and philosophy at Michigan State. Abbot was also a president of Michigan Agricultural College (1862-1885) and, even after resigning from this position, continued to teach at the university. The original Abbot hall was located near Beaumont Tower and became the Music Practice Building. It was demolished in 1968. The current Abbot Hall is located in North Neighborhood and opened in 1939 as an all male hall.
Stevens T. Mason Hall
The Steps of Mason Hall
Stevens T. Mason, also known as “boy governor”, was the acting governor of the Michigan territory and led the fight to statehood when he became the first governor of the state. During his governorship, Mason worked to build railways that would connect the rural parts of the state to economically thriving east. First opened in 1938, Mason Hall was an all male hall costing a student three dollars per week. Later it became a women’s hall and eventually switched to a co-ed hall, as it is today.
Glenn Phillips Hall
Snyder-Phillips Residence Hall, 1954
Glenn Phillips was a well-known landscape architect. From 1922 until his death, he worked on Michigan State development. Phillips helped plan the landscape expansion of Michigan State’s campus during the 1930s. His worked planned around the beloved Circle (where Beaumont Tower and the Music Building stand) to preserve the area. He worked to expand along the Red Cedar riverbanks. A graduate of Michigan Agricultural College (now MSU), Phillips was a student in the Class of 1902. Outside of Michigan State, Phillips worked for the United States Bureau of Forestry.
Jonathan L. Snyder Hall
President Roosevelt rides in a REO motor car with President Snyder beside him, 1907
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 and the construction of additional buildings to accommodate more students on campus. A big moment during Snyder’s time at Michigan State came after his successful effort to bring President Theodore Roosevelt to speak at the college for the semi centennial celebration.
Louise H. Campbell Hall
Louise H. Campbell Hall
Louise H. Campbell was a pioneer for women at Michigan State. Campbell established a program that would help rural women students teach back in their communities. She also initiated the Annual Homemaker’s Conference which brought thousands of women to campus each year to learn from one another. Campbell was the head of Home Economics in the 1920s and helped advance women all over the state. Louise H. Campbell Hall opened in 1939 as an all female residence hall.
Maude Gilchrist Hall
Class of 1907 co-eds, Dean Gilchrist listed bottom row, middle right
Maude Gilchrist was a graduate of Michigan Agricultural College (now MSU). Gilchrist was a botanist who came to Michigan State’s campus in the early 1900s. Later, Maude Gilchrist served as Dean of the Women’s Department. As a woman of science, Gilchrist pushed to have the women’s program at Michigan State expand past homemaking. She insisted courses in the program should include music, art, and literature. Her fight proved that these subjects were just as important for women to learn as home economics. Gilchrist Hall was built in 1948 and as another women’s hall, it took the name of on of Michigan State’s early leaders.
Linda E. Landon Hall
Miss Landon reads in the Linton Hall library
Linda E. Landon was a cherished part of the university’s history. Landon served as the librarian from 1891 to 1932 in the building that is now Linton Hall. Landon was also the first woman to teach at Michigan State. The course she taught was English composition back in the 1890s. Before joining the staff at Michigan State, Linda Landon was a teacher in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She had graduated valedictorian of her class in Niles, Michigan and continued to impress throughout her life. Landon was a Daughters of the American Revolution member, as well as an honorary member of the Men’s Union Library society, as unlikely as that may have seemed. Remembered fondly by students, Linda Landon was honored as the namesake for the first post-WWII hall, built in 1947.
Mary B. Mayo Hall
Mary Mayo Hall, 1940
Mary Bryant Mayo is credited for taking action to create the first women’s program at the college. When she was told that her life after marriage was defined by her ability to make butter, she began to study and established reading clubs for local youth. Mayo did not leave her home county of Calhoun until she was an adult. Pushed by her disappointment in the lack of opportunity for her daughters to receive the same education as males, Mayo fought to establish the first Women’s Course in 1896. Built in 1931, Mayo Hall was one of the first residence halls to accommodate women, and rightfully named for a woman that worked for their place at the university.
Sarah L. Williams Hall
Williams Hall (2), 1940
Sarah Langdon Williams, wife of the university’s first President Joseph Williams, was a fighter for women’s rights. Part of the women’s suffrage movement and good friends with suffragist Susan B. Anthony, Williams was the founder and editor of the official publication for the movement, the Ballot Box. Recorded as a women 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 and fight for humanity throughout her life. In 1937, Williams Hall was erected and dedicated to the admirable Sarah Langdon Williams.
Elida Yakeley Hall
An aerial shot of the construction of Yakeley Hall, circa 1948
Elida Yakeley was the college’s first registrar in 1908. After holding the position for thirty years, Yakeley was remembered for personally knowing all of the students who registered through her, 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. When it was finished in 1948, the next women’s hall was named after the thoughtful Elida Yakeley.
Written by Laura Williams