Built in the summer of 1951 as the first permanent dormitory on the Oswego campus, the Mackin Complex today includes a full-service dining hall and two residence halls, Lonis and Moreland, which each house around 140 students.
Seniors, graduate students, and juniors in the College Honors Program comprise the majority of residents in these halls.it housing men and women in separate wings of the building. Between the residence halls stands the college's first space dedicated as a student union (the original Hewitt Union) with "a fine cafeteria, private dining room, snack bar, lounges and various types of recreational facilities" as reported by the Palladium-Times in a 1951 article.
The Lonis-Moreland-Mackin Complex was completed in summer 1951 and welcomed residents that fall. The building has endured little change since its opening although the student union and dining hall was renamed for College Council member Marian Mackin in 1967 when the current student union continued as the Hewitt Union in its new building. The residential wings named for former State Legislator Ernest J. Lonis of the Class of 1905, and for faculty member James E. Moreland.
Lonis helped facilitate the institution's transition from normal school to degree-granting college. Though Oswego boasted many accomplishments, its students did not receive bachelor's degrees upon graduation. "This lack of degree recognition at Oswego has the effect of handicapping our graduates in the keen competition for positions," Lonis argued. "Boards of education are more and more requiring the degree on the part of candidates as well as the completion of courses required for certification." In supporting the college's drive for degree-granting ability led by then-Principal (later President) Ralph W. Swetman, Lonis and many others backed a measure passed three times by the state legislature but vetoed by Gov. Lehman each time. Finally, with increased support from across the state (including those leading other future SUNY schools), Lehman relented and signed a bill on April 13, 1942 that turned Oswego Normal School into the Oswego State Teachers College.
Small in stature, Jimmy Moreland was a giant in his contributions to the school. Optimism and an easygoing temperament characterized Moreland in his English classrooms, as freshman advisor, and in all his interactions with students and colleagues. Moreland imparted his love of learning and limitless curiosity to each of his students as they learned together. He stayed connected with those he recruited to campus and tried to learn each student's name and build a relationship. He encouraged students to call him "Jimmy" and to see him as a friend, not just an advisor. Jimmy Moreland died suddenly of a heart attack in May of 1951, just before the opening of the building, and was remembered by Herbert Van Schaack, then president of the Associated Student Body and a future longtime professor and leader at the college and Oswego County, as "a great teacher and a great man."
Marian Mackin impacted the campus and community through her outstanding service on College Council, an important governing board for the campus. Mackin also contributed to the Red Cross acting as executive secretary during World War II, managing day-to-day operations and supporting the American war effort. Mackin's concern for safety and health is seemingly continued through the building bearing her name as Mackin Hall currently houses the Student Association Volunteer Ambulance Corps (SAVAC) base, a pioneering program which provides emergency medical service to students on the Oswego campus.
-- Kathleen Davis, Class of 2012