Who Were Our Buildings?

Prepared for SUNY College at Oswego
125th anniversary celebration
In an exhibit by Dr. Coy Ludwig, 1987
(Ask in Penfield Library Special Collections for further information)

Some years ago an alumnus returning to the campus for his 25th Class Reunion remarked, "It's interesting to return to Oswego; all of my old professors are now buildings." A member of the staff of Special Collections in Penfield Library indicates that among the most frequently asked questions are those dealing with the identities of persons for whom campus buildings have been named. The list below provides that information:

CAYUGA HALL, ONEIDA HALL, ONONDAGA HALL, and SENECA HALL: Residence halls named for four of the five confederated tribes (Five Nations) comprising the Iroquois Confederacy. This Native American Indian culture influenced our fledgling country's ideas about democracy, government structure, the rights of individuals, and public good.

COOPER DINING HALL: James Fenimore Cooper (1789-1851), America's famous 19th century novelist, lived in Oswego in 1808 and 1809 as a young naval ensign stationed on Lake Ontario. Later, Lake Ontario and the Oswego River appeared as settings in some of his work, such as The Pathfinder and The Last of the Mohicans.

CULKIN HALL: Francis D. Culkin, member of the Bar, County Judge and Congressman from 1928-1943. Served in the Spanish American War.

FUNNELLE HALL: Amanda Funnelle entered the inaugural class of the Oswego Normal Training School in 1862. Returned to Oswego State to become head of the newly established Kindergarten Department, 1888-1911.

HART HALL: Isabel Kingsbury Hart, Class of 1907, geography teacher, Dean of Women and first Executive Secretary of the Alumni Association. A pioneer in the use of visual aids in teaching. (construction photo)

HEWITT UNION: Jesse Merle Hewitt (1898-1918), Oswego's first student to die in World War I. He was just 20 years old and had worked in the Industrial Arts Dept.

JOHNSON HALL: Harold B. Johnson (1880-1949), Editor and President of the Watertown Daily Times; Chairman of Board of Visitors (now College Council), who helped gain college status for the Oswego State Normal School and who was the guiding force in the work of the State Dormitory Authority.

KING HALL: Carol King, popular young Associate Dean of Students, who died of cancer in 1959. Under her guidance several student organizations grew into effective programs for promoting student leadership.

LAKER HALL: Oswego's athletic teams are known as the "Lakers." The men's health, physical education and recreation building is called Laker Hall in honor of the teams that are headquartered there.

LANIGAN HALL: James Lanigan, Chairman of College Council; executive of Niagara Mohawk Power Corporation; President, New York State School Board Association.

LEE HALL: Dr. Mary V. Lee, alumna, physician and influential member of the faculty, 1874-92, who taught zoology, physiology and physical culture. During the time she was on staff, more students entered the field of medicine than any other non-educational field.

LITTLEPAGE DINING HALL: The Littlepage Manuscripts was a trilogy of novels (1845-46) by James Fenimore Cooper about three generations of the Littlepage family.

LONIS HALL: Ernest J. Lonis (1878-1954), Class of 1905, State Legislator and member of The Board of Visitors, who helped to facilitate the transition from Normal School to degree-granting college.

MACKIN DINING HALL: Marian Mackin, member College Council; civic leader; Executive Secretary of the Red Cross during World War II; chairman local Housing Authority.

MAHAR HALL: Marian E. Mahar, engaging teacher of social studies at the college from ca. 1931 to 1952. Helped organize "Live in America" classes for refugees held at the War Refugee Center at Fort Ontario, 1944-1946.

MORELAND HALL James E. Moreland, popular faculty member, 1936-1951, who taught English and American Literature. Served as advisor to the freshman class.

PARK HALL: Joseph C. Park, Director of Manual Training, 1902-1908; Director of Industrial Arts, which he helped to establish, 1908-1940.

PATHFINDER DINING HALL:The Pathfinder, 1840, a historical novel by James Fenimore Cooper set in the Lake Ontario region, is one the "Leatherstocking Tales."

PENFIELD LIBRARY: Lida S. Penfield (1873-1956), Chairman of English Department. An authority on local history, she wrote Stories of Old Oswego, and she helped inaugurate the Torchlight Ceremony in 1936.

PIEZ HALL: Richard K. Piez, faculty member, 1893-1937. Selected by Sheldon to lead his innovative manual training program, which developed a national reputation. Also a great teacher of drawing, psychology and history of education.

POUCHER HALL: Isaac B. Poucher, second Principal of the State Normal School, 1897-1913, and his wife, Matilda Cooper Poucher, Outstanding teacher of language and methods, 1861-1886.

RICE CREEK FIELD STATION: Rice Creek, on which the field station is located, is named for Asa Rice, the first settler in the town of Oswego (near the college campus three miles west of the City of Oswego) who came from Connecticut in 1797.

RICH HALL: Grace Ellingwood Rich, Class of 1895, whose work in art teaching and whose character influenced the architect of the building, her brother, Lorimer Rich.

RIGGS HALL: James G. Riggs, third Principal of the Oswego State Normal School, 1913-1933. The corner stone for this new Industrial Arts building was laid by Gov. Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1930. Dr. Riggs started the first regular summer school and had maple trees planted along Washington Blvd in 1919, each named for a student who had died in WW I.

ROMNEY FIELD HOUSE: Golden Romney, head of Department of Health and Physical Education, 1930s-1940s. He helped construct this skating rink and supervised a lodge by the lake used for student recreation.

SCALES HALL: Caroline L. G. Scales, alumna, a master teacher of history, English literature, composition and rhetoric, 1884-1926; preceptor at the Wellend Dormitory for Women, 1887-1906.

SHELDON HALL: The first school building on this site, dedicated in 1914. Renamed in the centennial year 1961 for Edward Austin Sheldon (1823-1897), founder of our school. A pioneer of educational methods, Sheldon won national and international recognition for the Oswego Normal School.

SNYGG HALL: Donald M. Snygg, Professor and Chairman, Department of Psychology, 1937-1967; named University Professor, October 1, 1966. An author and authority in the field of phenomenological psychology.

SWETMAN HALL: Ralph W. Swetman, fourth Principal of the Oswego Normal School, 1933, 1947. Worked to upgrade the faculty in order to change from a State Normal School to Oswego State Teachers College in 1938.

TYLER HALL: James Gale Tyler (1855-1931), marine painter who was born in Oswego where he lived until he was fifteen, at which time he moved to New York City where he made his career.

WALKER HEALTH CENTER: Dr. Mary Walker (1832-1919), Oswego's pioneering doctor who was awarded The Congressional Medal of Honor for her service in The Civil War, and who fought for women's rights and dress reform.

WATERBURY HALL: Edwin M. Waterbury (1884-1953), Editor and Publisher of The Oswego Palladium-Times and Chairman of the Board of Visitors (now The College Council). Helped develop the school into a degree-granting college.

WATERMAN THEATER: Charlotte Waterman, head of the Music Department, 1911-1933; first Dean of Women, 1933. Started the Glee Club in 1914.

WILBER HALL: Gordon Wilber, Director of Industrial Arts, 1940-1947. Authored Industrial Arts in General Education, one of the most widely used textbooks in the country in its time.


Further information is available in Oswego: Fountainhead of Teacher Education by Dorothy Rogers. Paper copies are available.