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Around Campus


What’s in a Name? Plenty, if it identifies a prominent place on campus

by Jeff Samoray You’ve walked past them, taken tests in them and lived in them. But did you ever wonder how

Eastern’s buildings, classrooms and residence halls got their names? Does the name Briggs ring a bell? Have you ever heard the story of John Mayhelm Barry Sill?

Why does the student lounge have a name? And who was that Pray-Harrold guy, anyway? Grab your backpacks and walking shoes. Let’s take a quick jaunt around campus to get some answers and learn the stories behind Eastern’s notable names.


Geddes Town Hall School Most students have never actually been inside it, but this charming little schoolhouse is a living

piece of Ypsilanti history, dating back to a time when nine grades crammed into one room with a single teacher. The Geddes Town Hall School, built in 1895 and donated to EMU by the Geddes family, was intended to serve as a reminder of the University’s past as a college for teachers and its heritage as Michigan’s cradle of education.

Downing Hall Now largely populated by Honors College students, this residence hall was constructed in 1957 and named for

English professor Estelle Downing, known for her kindness, teaching fi nesse and work to promote the status of women in the U.S. Fittingly, the hall named in her honor was originally a dormitory for Eastern’s female students.

Cooper Student Lounge Last December, Eastern named the student lounge in McKenny Hall after Darrell H. Cooper,

a longtime supporter and volunteer leader at the EMU Foundation. It’s appropriate that a space devoted to students bears Cooper’s name: the Cooper Scholar Award, given annually, supports students who exhibit excellence in academic and leadership pursuits.

Hill Hall Rising high above the rest of the campus, Hill Hall is a staggering 10-story residence hall

and sister building to neighboring Pittman and Hoyt halls. Constructed in 1969, the aptly named Towers were built to accommodate the growing number of students, with Hill and Hoyt originally dedicated to housing female students and Pittman housing male students. Hill gets its name from Susan B. Hill, the longtime dean of women, then dean of students.

10 Eastern | SPRING 2015

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