Two years after the naming of Chalmers Library, the new admissions and academic buildings in the West Quad finally have names, as well: Lowell House and Oden Hall, respectively.
Oden Hall, bordering the cemetery and Rosse Hall, is named after Robert A. Oden Jr., the College’s 17th president who served from 1995 to 2002. His wife, Teresa Johnston Oden, an author and researcher, is also credited on the dedication plaque. Under Oden’s leadership, the College saw the development of the Science Quad, as well as numerous other buildings along Middle Path — such as the Horn Gallery and Storer Hall — thanks to his close relationship to architect Graham Gund ’63. Oden’s contributions, however, reflect more than a fondness for visual aestheticism: His “Claiming Our Place” campaign generated $116 million for the College.
Reflecting on the importance of Oden’s legacy, President Sean Decatur believes the dedication of this new building will help valorize the former president’s work. “[Oden] had a significant impact, especially in building up the size of the faculty and helping shape many of the modern features of the College,” he said. “I think being able to recognize his contributions to Kenyon is also wonderful.”
Lowell House, situated on the North side of the West Quad, will be home to the Office of Admissions. The College named the building after esteemed poet Robert T.S. Lowell IV ’40, who also studied under John Crowe Ransom — another Kenyon poet and the founder of the Kenyon Review — for whom the current Office of Admissions is named. Lowell graduated with a degree in classics as valedictorian and went on to win a Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award and the National Medal for Literature. He also served as the U.S. Poet Laureate in 1947.
“Certainly, Robert Lowell was one of our most distinguished poet alums, and it’s wonderful to be able to recognize Lowell’s work and connection to Kenyon,” Decatur said.
The construction of the new quadrangle falls in line with Lowell and Oden’s vision for the College. Their legacy and involvement with the College will not go unnoticed. The completion of Oden Hall and Lowell House will solidify the legacies of two influential members in the College’s history.