Story and Photos by Thomas Scearce
As students, campus buildings shape a huge part of the college experience. Walking into Meredith Hall , Hubbell, Dining Hall, Olmsted Student Center and the residence halls is almost a daily routine for most. What students may not think about is how and why a building receives its name though.
Buildings are either named in honor of someone who played an important role on Drake University’s campus, or the name is donation-based.Associate Vice President for Alumni and Development Diane Caldbeck said if a donor gives at least half of the total cost of the building, the building can be named after that person or that person can choose the name.
“Mostly , moving forward at Drake, I envision a majority of the buildings will be named for philanthropy as opposed to honorary namings, as it has been for the most part,” said Director of Alumni Relations Blake Campbell.
Let’s take a look into the history of some of Drake’s major buildings.
Olmsted was named after General George Olmsted. Olmsted grew up in Des Moines and went to Iowa State University for a short period of time before transferring to West Point Academy. Olmsted served on Drake’s Board of Trustees and believed in the value of a higher education, according to Drakeapedia. The Olmsted family donated $2 million to construct Olmsted Center.
Construction for Olmsted began in June 1972 and was set to be completed at the end of the same year. However, multiple issues pushed back the opening to April 1973.
“I’m a fan of Olmsted because it is so versatile,” said first-year broadcast news major Ned Leebrick-Stryker. “I can get coffee, play some pool, exercise and study all in one place.”
Quad Residence Halls
After World War II, Drake University experienced a surge in enrollment and needed more student housing. To accommodate this, architects Eliel and Eero Saarinen began the construction of what iare known as thas the Quads. Carpenter, Crawford and Stalnaker were completed on 1955 and Herriott was finished in 1957.
According to buildingamoderncampus.com, Carpenter was named after Mary Carpenter, the daughter of Drake’s first Chancellor. Crawford was named after Robert A. Crawford, a prominent Des Moines businessman “who gave plentifully to Drake.” Stalnaker was named in honor of Luther Stalnaker, a professor of philosophy and former Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Herriott was named after former professor Frank Herriott.
Hubbell Dining Hall
Hubbell Dining Hall officially opened in 1953. Hubbell was named after Grover Cooper Hubbell, a prominent businessman and civic leader who served as a member of the Drake Board of Trustees from 1929 until his death in 1956. He was the Chairman from 1931 to 1948, according to Drakeapedia.
In 2010, a major renovation to Hubbell was completed thanks to a donation from the Hubbell family.
“The Hubbells have always played an important role in our university,” Caldbeck said.
Meredith’s construction began in 1963, but the opening was delayed to 1965 due to foundation problems. The entire project cost $1.9 million, according to Drakeapedia.
Today, Drake and the SJMC till have close ties to Meredith Corporation.
“Journalism wouldn’t be what it is at Drake today without Meredith’s support,” Caldbeck said.
Drake University’s first official library was housed in what is currently Carnegie Hall. When that location became out of date and ran out of space, Drake was in need of a new library. The Gardner Cowles Foundation agreed to donate a new library.
The building was officially named after Gardner Cowles Sr., a member of the Drake Board of Trustees. He realized Carnegie was not the right place for the library, so, according to Drakeapedia, the Gardner Cowles Foundation donated the $100,000 to make the new library a reality.