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  • Emily Cusack, Cody Oracz

Kicking it back to Dole Hall’s history

Eighty-four years ago, on Nov. 4, 1931, the cornerstone of what was to become Dole Hall, the new women’s dormitory, was laid. This new hall was to replace Shipherd, the old women’s dormitory. The new hall was to be constructed where the old chapel stood. Shipherd Hall could no longer meet the needs of the female student population, according to an Oct. 7, 1931 article in the Echo. The cold showers, clanging radiators and afternoons spent on the fire escape were soon to become memories as Shipherd was to be renovated into classrooms and office space.

The building of Dole Hall was a $250,000 venture completed in 1933 according to the Oct. 4, 1933 Echo. Gifted by and named after Andrew R. Dole and his wife Mary Hooker Dole, the dormitory would boast three floors of the best amenities. Newly furbished dorm rooms, a brand new dining hall, an open air deck on the second floor, guest rooms, a large common room and a new infirmary were among what Dole Hall had to offer.

According to the Echo article on Oct. 4, 1933, the hall was welcomed with open arms by the female students. “Someone must have made an exact calculation of all those things we did not have in Shipherd,” a fourth-year coed said. The dorm rooms on the second and third floor were fully furnished with beds and sheets, desks and dressers. The first floor of Dole featured small lounges, guest rooms, what is now Klock Commons and the Blue Room. The Blue Room was a Georgian drawing room, gifted by Claud C. Longman in memory of his wife Marie, Class of 1897. The room featured extravagant crystal chandeliers and a large fire place.

Dole Hall was used to encourage more female students to attend Olivet. A pamphlet was sent out Olivet College in 1935 entitled “Why Olivet College Attracts Young Women.” The pamphlet explains women are treated as equals to men, have many scholarships and officer positions available. Many education opportunities and freedoms were available to female students, along with a spacious and beautiful dormitory that was coed in the dining hall and commons, while the dorm rooms remained female-only.

Throughout the years Dole has hosted rooftop dances on the open air deck, gatherings in Klock Commons and many meals. The open air deck was popular for dances and parties from the mid-1930s until the 1950s, and later in the 1960s was a common place for the ladies of Dole Hall to sunbathe. In the 1980s, the rooftop deck was closed when leaks became a large problem according to senior Cody Oracz, archival student researcher.

Klock Commons was used for many informal meetings, gatherings and dances, and was later remodeled in 1993 and 1994. The dining hall, which was located in the west wing of Dole, was moved to the Student Services Building in 1963, where the Lester K. Kirk Center currently stands.

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