Women of West Circle

North Neighborhood is home to some of Michigan State’s first residence halls. Tudor styled buildings with gabled roofs and renaissance detailing make this the most picturesque and historic neighborhood. The six halls along West Circle Drive are named in honor of women who made a substantial contribution to Michigan State University. Mary Anne Mayo, Louise Campbell, Linda Landon, Elida Yakeley, Maude Gilchrist, and Sarah Langdon Williams, lend their names to these landmark residence halls. This March, in celebration of Women’s History Month, Live On honors these women, and their lasting impact on Michigan State University.

Mary Anne Mayo – Mayo Hall

In 1931, the first residence hall built in North Neighborhood was Mayo Hall. The building honors Mary Mayo, a school teacher who saw a lack of educational opportunities for her daughter at the Michigan Agricultural College (MAC). At this time in MSU’s history, coursework or housing for women did not exist. Through speeches and lectures with The Grange organization, Mayo advocated for the creation of a women’s course and women’s dormitory at MAC and in 1896 a women’s course was officially created.

Sarah Williams – Williams Hall

Williams Hall is named in honor of Sarah Langdon Williams, a nurse in the civil war and a leader in the women’s suffrage movement.  Williams was also the wife of MAC’s first president, Joseph Williams. Both Sarah and Joseph Williams fought against oppressed humanity, for the women’s suffrage movement, as well as general social and civic reform. After her husband’s death, Williams founded and edited the Ballot Box, the official publication of the women’s suffrage movement.

Louise Campbell – Campbell Hall

A leader in the Home Economics Extension Service and Dean of Women, Louise Hathaway Campbell lends her name to Campbell Hall. In 1923, after earning her Bachelor of Science degree in Fargo, North Dakota, Campbell came to Michigan to serve as the Dean of Women at MAC. Here she expanded the Division of Home Economics, re-organized the curriculum and divided courses into six groupings,  Foods and Nutrition, Institutional Management, Clothing, Textiles and Related Arts, and Vocational. One of Campbell’s most influential legacies was the establishment of a graduate and research department within Home Economics.

Elida Yakeley – Yakeley Hall

Yakeley Hall was built in 1947 as a female-only hall, to this day Yakeley Hall remains as the only female-only hall in West Circle. Named after Elida Yakeley, MSU’s first registrar. Throughout her thirty years as registrar, Yakeley took the time to personally know student registered at MSU. During Yakeley’s time, only three majors existed at MSU, those being agriculture, engineering and women’s program. She made her lasting impact on the University by streamlining the enrollment process, helping students and faculty for years to come.

Linda Landon – Landon Hall

Landon Hall was built in 1948 and honors Linda Landon, beloved university librarian, and one of the most well liked women in MSU’s history. Prior to serving as university librarian for 41 years, Linda Landon was the first female instructor at MAC. After becoming the librarian, Landon quadrupled the amount of books housed in the library and doubled its size. In 1912, students dedicated the yearbook to Landon stating, “No person at MAC more deserves the honor of the dedication of the year’s Wolverine than does that amiable, pleasant little lady in black who more than anyone else has been tutoring thousands of students in the art of appreciating, loving, and valuing these true friends in life – books”.

Maude Gilchrist – Gilchrist Hall

Built in 1948, Gilchrist Hall honors, Maude Gilchrist Dean of Women. Earning the position in 1901, Gilchrist brought with her an extensive educational background and vast teaching experience. She received a Bachelor’s of Science from Iowa State Teachers College and received a Masters of Arts from the University of Michigan. During her 12 years at MAC, enrollment in the Women’s Course increased exponentially and the curriculum was advanced to a higher level.