Alumni Hall (1888-1961)
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Merton Tour Stop #6
During Mertonís long walks, he would often pass Alumni Hall on his way to The Shrine of St. Therese of Lisieux and The Grotto of Our Lady of Lourdes. At the time, Alumni Hall had movie showings where students, nuns, clerics and friars would file in and leave the rest of the campus deserted. Merton would always enjoy the laughter filled building as he walked by. The building which served many purposes during its lifetime was torn down in 1961.
Alumni Hall was dedicated June 21, 1888, just before that year's commencement ceremonies. 90 Alumni donated the $11,560 needed to construct the Hall and used the occasion of its dedication to form the first Alumni Association of St. Bonaventure's College and Seminary.
The building was a multi-purpose facility when it opened--the basement was a gym, the main floor a library and alumni dining hall, and the third floor was the actual alumni "hall", an open space used for meetings and performances. In time, Alumni Hall also housed a print shop, carpenter shop and maintenance department in the basement, a radio station, offices for student publications and organizations, and practice rooms for glee club and band on the main floor, and department offices on the third floor.
It's believed that baseball's "bunt" was conceived in the basement gym of Alumni Hall. John J. McGraw and Hugh Jennings were student athlete/coaches for the baseball team and, in the constricted space of the gym, found a batting technique they could successfully practice during the long winter months. They used the bunt against the Baltimore Orioles in the Spring, much to the consternation of their opponents.
In 1938 the library moved to its new home in the Friedsam Memorial Library.
The building was found to be structurally unsound in 1960 and torn down in December 1961.
Dudek, Matthew J. "Alumni Hall was hub of student life." The Bona Venture. 21 April 1972, p. 7.
Hogan, Ed. "Once The Center Of Campus Life, Bonaventure's Alumni Hall Razed." Olean Times Herald. 14 Dec. 1961, p.3.
Please visit our buildings pages for more information about Alumni Hall.
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For more information about this building, visit
the St. Bonaventure University Archives in Friedsam Library.
Last updated: 11/03/06