An Acquaintance with Buildings
Written by Caroline Welton
As I walk through campus, I sometimes imagine all the other people who have passed through the buildings of Hillsdale and what they have left behind. Sometimes there’s a more obvious contribution, as in the case of people who have a legacy here in the form of building names. It is entrancing to connect the name of a building with an actual person who cared about the College and indirectly affected my own experience here by donating money, working in an administrative job, or helping to form the community. It ties the daily humdrum into a bigger picture of relevance and history.
As college librarian Linda Moore explained, the story of the Mauck family is one such connection. The Mauck name is attached to several buildings, the most obvious being Mauck Hall, which serves as a women’s residence hall. This is named after Frances Ball Mauck, wife of the eighth president of the College, Joseph Ward Mauck. Both of the Maucks attended Hillsdale as students. I can imagine them exploring campus in the 1800s, enjoying the beautiful winter weather and reading texts perhaps similar to those I read.
When Joseph returned to Hillsdale in 1903 to become the College president, he and Frances moved into what is now the Alpha Tau Omega fraternity house, then called Windsor Castle, and renamed it Sunnycrest. Although Joseph’s term lasted through the Great Depression, the Maucks still hosted social functions in this house, contributing to Joseph’s popularity.
The Maucks’ tale took a more somber turn, which led to the founding of Mauck Residence. When Frances and Joseph were vacationing in Egypt, Frances died abruptly. Her brothers, who owned the Ball Canning Company, donated a large sum of money to fundraise for a new women’s dormitory and named it in honor of Frances.
Just as classes begin with definitions and names of key terms, I like to begin my acquaintance with buildings by learning the significance of their names. Buildings named after persons who contributed to the legacy of Hillsdale provide an interesting peephole into the story of the College.
Caroline Welton, ‘22, plans to study Politics and Latin, and thinks one can always choose to have a good day. This is primarily done by laughing at oneself a lot, but is of course aided by pleasantries such as rainstorms, Beethoven, Russian literature, and long conversations with friends.
Published in March 2019