In 1947 the Kresge Foundation gave the college $500,000 for construction of a men’s’ residence hall. Laying of the cornerstone took place October 15, 1948. Bishop Marshall R. Reed wrote the ritual for the event and participating were Stanley S. Kresge, then vice-president of the Kresge Foundation; PaulVoohries, Detroit attorney and president of the Kresge Foundation; W. Clark Dean, president of Union Steep Products Company and Trustee; Dr. John L. Seaton, president emeritus of the college and the man for whom thebuilding was named; Dr. Sebastian S. Kresge, founder of the S.S. Kresge Company; Paul R. Trautman, college business manager; Dr. Emil Leffler, Albion’s academic dean; Robert Mohr, of Ann Arbor, and Dr. Whitehouse. Mr. Voorhies, an honorary alumnus of Albion besides being president of the Kresge Foundation, announced a foundation gift to the college of an additional $250,000 to cover the cost of Seaton Hall. Thus, the total for this purpose became $750,000.
By December, construction was going well. Outside concrete work was finished and brick work was under way, but a shortage of bricklayers was tending to delay the work. Eleven months later on September 1, 1949, Seaton Hall was dedicated with appropriate ceremonies and a formal program in the chapel (South Hall). Many of the same members of the Board of Trustees who had participated in the laying of the corner stone attended the dedication at which Bishop Fred P.Carson, president of the General Board of Education of the Methodist Church, gave the principal speech. Dr. Seaton also spoke, and Dr. Howard C. Lawrence, president of the Board of Trustees, accepted the structure in behalf of the college.
Laying the cornerstone for Seaton Hall in 1948 marked the end of a century-long wait for men’s housing at Albion College. (L-R) Trustee Paul W. Voohries, Student Council President Robert W. Mohr (behind), Dr. Sebastian S. Kresge, President-emeritus John L. Seaton, President Whitehouse and Bishoop Marshall R. Reed.
Source: Gildart, Robert. Albion College, 1835-1960, A History. Chicago: Donnelley Lakeside Press, 1961.
From the Albion College Archives
Architectural Drawing of Seaton Hall, n.d.
Prior to its construction in 1949, men lived in boarding houses, fraternity houses and club houses such as the Goodrich Club, which still owns its own house. Laying the cornerstone for Seaton Hall in 1948 marked the end of a century-long wait for men’s housing at the College. The $850,000 necessary for building Seaton Hall were generously supplied by the Kresge Foundation. (Fennimore, pp.563-64)
A former Dean of Men, in his first year at Albion, Seaton lived in the Resident Coordinator’s apartment with his wife. She owned a small, white French poodle with pink ribbons in its hair and would daily walk the dog in the courtyard behind Baldwin and between Seaton and Whitehouse Halls. The male students, wishing to be friendly but not knowing the dog’s name, would open their windows and call out to the dog, “Hi, Fifi! How’s Fifi today?” After a few days of this, the Dean called a meeting of all the residents of the dorms. Crowded into a lounge, the young men were scolded, “If I hear any of you,” said the Dean, “yelling at my wife again, you will be in big trouble.” The young men were baffled, as none of them had ever yelled at the Dean’s wife. President and Mrs. Seaton, without Margaret, n.d.
All photographs are from the Albion College Archives Photograph Files, unless otherwise noted.
Betz, Emily. (1998, Feb. 13). “New residence hall director is young at heart.” Pleiad. Retrieved 11 June 2003, http://www.albion.edu/pleiad/1998/02_13/features_1.asp.
Ewing, Amanda. (1997, Feb. 28). “The evolution of Albion: College life: 1950.” Pleiad. Retrieved 11 June 2003, http://www.albion.edu/pleiad/1997/02_28/features_5.asp.
Gates, Tiffany. (1998, March 20). “Seaton Hall: A new freshman experience is evolving.” Pleiad. Retrieved 11 June 2003, http://www.albion.edu/pleiad/1998/03_20/news_4.asp.
Halvorson, Britt. (1996, November 15). “ResNet future determined by student interest.” Pleiad. Retrieved 11 June 2003, http://www.albion.edu/pleiad/1996/11_15/news_2.asp.
Source: Albion College Archives, 2003 [Downloaded July 3, 2003]