Since opening for residents last semester, the women’s New Dorm still lacks an official name, and there is no plan for one as of yet.
Chief Administrative Officer Richard Péwé said representatives from Hillsdale College’s Institutional Advancement are reaching out to friends of the college who may be interested in making a donation for naming the New Dorm.
“It’s possible something could happen before the May 1,” he said. “There is no predictable timeline.”
According to Péwé, Institutional Advancement prioritizes the use of donations to meet unrestricted operating needs, then scholarship needs, and finally capital project funding. Unrestricted operating needs include labor and utility costs, while capital project funding is used for building or improving facilities.
“Typically when at least half of the total cost of construction is gifted, that donor is honored,” Péwé said. “This new dorm costs $3.5 million, so naming would require a gift of at least $1.75 million.”
In the case of the New Dorm, Péwé said the college administration financed the construction, anticipating that a generous lead gift would be made.
“It’s a really great facility, so I bet we will encounter interest before too long,” he said.
Associate Vice President for Institutional Advancement Nancy Johnson said the college does not place a time limit on naming new dorms.
“We are continually developing relationships with people who are interested in supporting Hillsdale College, and they all have different interests when it comes to designating their support for a project,” Johnson said.
Waiting months, if not years, to name a newly built dorm seems to be a common occurrence.
According to Public Services Librarian Linda Moore, who handles Hillsdale College’s archives, it took 11 years to name Simpson Residence and eight years to name McIntyre Residence.
Moore said construction on both Simpson and McIntyre residence halls began Feb. 20, 1965.
Simpson was known as West Dorm from 1965 until Oct. 8, 1976 when it was dedicated as the Robert J. Simpson Residence.
“Simpson was a local man, a long-time benefactor and trustee of Hillsdale College,” Moore said. “He had been killed in a car accident on Aug. 27, 1976.”
According to Moore, McIntyre Residence was originally known as North Dorm or the dorm in back of Waterman Residence. McIntyre was dedicated Nov. 4, 1973 to honor Brouwer D. and Jane E. McIntyre.
“Brouwer had been a member of the Board of Trustees until his death in 1966, and Jane McIntyre was a member of the Board of Women Commissioners,” Moore said. “They were longtime contributors to the College, and a donation from the McIntyre Foundation was applied to the indebtedness of McIntyre Dorm.”
Péwé said donors sometimes do not want their names on buildings or they may want to honor an individual, family, foundation, or — in the case of the chapel — Christ.
“College President Larry Arnn makes all those agreements with lead donors,” Péwé said.
Although some students have expressed interest in referring to the New Dorm based on its location, Péwé said student leaders liked “New Dorm” better than “Union Street” or other names based on location. According to Péwé, the administration agreed to call the new residence hall “New Dorm” on a temporary basis.
“Giving it a more fitting temporary name may have stuck,” Péwé said. “It’s best to transition to a the permanent name – when the time comes – without resistance.”
New Dorm House Director and senior Rosemary Pynes said residents of the New Dorm are neutral toward its temporary name.
Pynes said she believes the temporary name will last even if the New Dorm lacks an official name in the next couple of years.
“It seems to me that the first name you give a place normally sticks as part of habit,” Pynes said. “For instance, students still call the dining hall ‘Saga’ even though Saga hasn’t provided the food for more than five years.”