History of the Alumnae Scholarship Housing Program

On June 7, 1924, four alumnae established The Ohio State University Alumnae Council as an official group of The Ohio State University Association.  Its purpose was “the consideration of matters of special interest to alumnae of the University and to women students of the University.

During the Depression of the early 1930s, there was an increased need for financial assistance to college students, especially women.  As a result, The Ohio State University and the Alumnae Council combined resources in 1935 to establish the Alumnae Scholarship Housing (ASH) Program, the first cooperative scholarship housing for academically gifted women with financial need.

1935 – In June 1935, a duplex property, on W. 10th Avenue, west of Neil Avenue, was leased by the Alumnae Council.  The Council assumed responsibility for the rent and other expenses, and the University agreed to remodel the houses.  In the fall of 1935, the first scholarship house for women was opened to 23 freshmen and 10 upper classmen.  The Alumnae Scholarship House Advisory Board was created at this time to pursue the Alumnae Council’s goal – providing cooperative housing for academically gifted women with financial need.

1945 – On August 4, 1945, the Alumnae Council purchased a brick home at 201 E. 16th Avenue for $18,000.  The house was named the Mary Pomerene Alumnae Scholarship House in honor of the women who donated $3,000 for the down payment.  The deed was transferred to the University.  Alumnae Clubs raised money to pay off the mortgage and for furnishings.  This facility housed 28 women, later reduced to 26.

1954 – On February 12, 1954, Stanley and Mabel Davisson Hanley contributed $40,000 to purchase another home at 195 E. 16th Avenue, next door to the Mary Pomerene Scholarship House.  The house was named the Davisson-Hanley Scholarship House.  The deed was transferred in 1954 to the State of Ohio for The Ohio State University.  Twenty-six students resided in this scholarship house.  The Ohio State University Development Fund advanced $10,000 for the furnishing of the Davisson-Hanley Scholarship House, of which half was contributed outright and the remainder was repaid interest free by the Alumnae Council.

1971 – Each house had a housemother until 1971 when the University assigned student personnel assistants (SPAs), graduate students in counseling to manage the houses.

1977 – Due to the increasing costs of repairs and the declining condition of the homes, the Alumni Association and the Advisory Board voted to relinquish management of the houses to the University.  At this time, the ASH Program became a part of the University’s Residence and Dining Halls.  The Alumni Association remained as the liaison between the Advisory Board and the University.

1987 – Based on an engineering firm’s evaluation report, the University mandated the Mary Pomerene and Davisson-Hanley Scholarship Houses be closed or remodeled to comply with building codes and assure the safety of the residents.  At the end of Spring Quarter, the University decided to close the two houses.  The ASH Advisory Board began working with the University to find a permanent home on campus for the ASH Program, but in the meantime the program was moved to the Stadium Scholarship Dormitory, 1978 Cannon Drive.  Forty ASH participants temporarily resided at this location.  Most rooms were assigned for double occupancy, but single, triple and quadruple rooms were also available.  The ASH Program was roughly 10% of the total population of male and female students living in the Stadium.  As the University’s other cooperative housing program, the Stadium Dorm was the ideal location for the ASH Program during this transitional time.  With a history spanning six decades, the Stadium Scholarship Dormitory was originally established to provide cooperative housing for financially strapped men who displayed high academic promise.

Located in the southwest corner of Ohio Stadium, Dean Joseph A. Park is generally credited with spearheading the original concept of the Stadium Dorm.  He formed the cooperative housing program when 18 top scorers on the Ohio Scholarship Test could not afford to attend college.  In August 1933, the University established the Tower and Buckeye Clubs in the Stadium Dorm.

These original living quarters were expanded in November founding the Ohio Club, Olentangy Club, Scioto Club, and Stadium Club.  Over the years references to the dorm have included “Scholarship Dormitory,” “Stadium Scholarship House,” and “Tower Dorm.”  More affectionate nicknames developed such as “the Rock” and “Sigma Sigma Delta,” as a satirical jab at the Greek system on campus.  The all male tradition of the dorm was changed in January 1975 by a vote of the Stadium residents.  In fall of 1976, the first women took up residence in the dorm.  While this marked a change in tradition, the women continue the tradition of scholarship and leadership exemplified by Stadium residents through the years.

1989 – While the majority of the ASH participants remained in the Stadium, the University provided housing for 18 ASH participants in the Ann Tweedale House, 220 W. 11th Avenue, which was formerly called the Grace Walker House.

1991 – The Ann Tweedale House, by action of the Board of Trustees, was officially renamed the Alumnae Scholarship House.

1992-1996 – The ASH House and Stadium Dorm, Unit J and K, housed 18 students plus a Graduate Student Advisor (GAA) and 40 students plus a Resident Advisor (RA), respectively.

Since the Stadium Dorm would no longer be available for housing after the spring of 1998, the Stadium Dorm Cooperative program prepared to move to Mack Hall.  The search continued to identify another freestanding home(s) for the ASH Program instead of ASH residents moving to Mack with the Stadium Dorm residents.  Freestanding homes were necessary to accomplish the mission of the ASH Program.  Meetings with Residence Life (Housing, Food Services, and Event Centers) produced a Cooperative Agreement that arranged for the loan of monies from ASH Funds to renovate a house at 225 W. 10thAvenue.  The house, owned by the University is off-campus but only a block south of the 220 W. 11thAvenue ASH House.

It was noted that the University also owned the house at 231 W. 10th Avenue, another potential home for the ASH Program.  The loan of ASH Funds was sufficient to provide for renovation costs for this house as well.

1997 – ASH at 220 W. 11th Avenue housed 18 students plus an RA.  The Stadium Dorm Unit Jhoused 20 plus an RA.  Stradley Hall was used temporarily for another 16 students plus an RA until the newly renovated second ASH house at 225 W. 10th Avenue was ready.

1998  The move to 225 W. 10th Avenue was accomplished by the first day of winter quarter 1998.  $154,000 was used from the Hosford Endowment and $40,000 was used from the Stephenson Fund for renovations.  The University and ASH Board entered into a “Cooperative Agreement,” signed by both parties, which would establish an account in HFSC to replenish these monies for future needs.  This account would receive a small percentage of the room and board fee, which is charged to the residents over a fifteen-year period beginning after the first year of occupancy, which would be July 1999.  Sixteen women plus an RA were thrilled to move into the home and out of Stradley “study lounges.”  The women quickly voted on officers, established their duties and enjoyed the ASH “home-like atmosphere.”

Plans made by the University for the renovation and occupancy of a third Alumnae Scholarship House at231 W. 10th Avenue by fall quarter 1998 were not realized.  It was not possible due to the delayed relocation of the current residents (Maryhaven) of the house.  Therefore, when the Stadium Dormitory was discontinued as a temporary home for the ASH Program, Canfield Hall opened its doors to 20 ASH women plus an RA.  In Canfield Hall there were no opportunities for cooperative living experiences and bonding was difficult.

1999 – Due to major roof leaks in Canfield Hall, nine ASH women moved into the Humanities House on Pennsylvania Avenue during winter quarter 1999 and remained there through spring quarter.

The first floor of the 220 W. 11th Avenue ASH House was redecorated in a very comfortable style and in attractive colors.  The University covered the expense.

Sixteen women and an RA moved into a third house, a duplex, purchased by the University at 219/221 W. 10th Avenue at the beginning of fall quarter 1999.  The University renovated the home for the ASH Program expressing OSU’s commitment to the ASH program.

2000 – During 2000, the house at 231 W. 10th Avenue became available and was renovated for the Ash Program.  For autumn quarter 2000, ASH women moved into this beautiful house and vacated the property at 219/221 W. 10th Avenue.  With 18 women and an RA in the house at 220 W. 11thAvenue and 16 women with an RA in each of the two houses on W. 10th Avenue, the ASH Program now served 50 undergraduate women and the ASH Advisory Board and the University finally achieved their goal, set in 1987, to find a new permanent home for the ASH Program.

Assistant Director of Residence Life reported the ASH retention rate last year was 90%, which was 6% higher than all campus residencies.  The ASH program was second to the Honors Program in GPA.

The year 2000 was the 65th anniversary of the ASH Program.  No celebration was planned other than a Homecoming meeting on October 21, 2000 for the ASH Alumnae Group.  The group kept alive the University’s Adopt a Bed program with flowers for the West 11th house.  The effort is to add color to campus areas and not to re-landscape.

A gift of $2000 from the Alumnae Group and a $5000 gift from Lois Moor were appropriated to upgrade computers, printers and software for the three houses.

2001 – For this academic year, 21 residents renewed their contracts.  Several who did not renew became Resident Advisors in other programs.

Adopt a Bed program continued to be supported by the ASH Alumnae Group with fall bulb plantings.

The ASH Program was designated as one of the Living-Learning Communities (LLC) at the University.  The LLC’s help expand learning beyond the classroom . . . an environment that integrates social and intellectual growth.  With over a half-century of tradition, the ASH Houses still offer a home-like setting.  The facilities foster the pursuit of academic excellence and personal growth for undergraduate women with financial need.  For many of its residents, the ASH Program is an important vehicle through which they can obtain a college education.  More than 1,000 women have benefited from the financial, emotional and physical support of the ASH Program.  Of those ASH residents, about 85 percent received undergraduate degrees, and 25 percent continued their education, graduating with advanced degrees.

The ASH Board elected to personalize the houses by selecting names for them.  In keeping with the history of the ASH Program, Hanley House and Pomerene House were chosen for the homes located on W. 10th Avenue and the house on W. 11th Avenue was named the Fechko House in honor of Ruth Fechko, to acknowledge her many years of support and participation in the ASH Program.

2002 – On May 15, 2002, the University, the Alumni Association, and the Ash Advisory Board hosted a dedication of the Fechko Alumni Scholarship House at 220 W. 11th Avenue (formerly ASH I).  The celebration took place under a tent in the side yard and was attended by friends of the University, friends and former residents of the ASH Program, and friends and family of Ruth Fechko.  OSU President William Kirwan spoke, as did Dan Heinlen, President of the Alumni Association and Vice President of Student Affairs, William Hall.  Ruth Fechko was able to attend and enjoy the reception held after the celebration and ceremony.  Ruth passed away on July 16, 2002.  Ruth will be missed and ASH lost a great friend.

2003/2004 – This was an exciting year for the ASH Program.  For the first time ever, the ASH Board awarded full housing scholarships to six residents at the spring “Woman of the Year” Reception.  Two residents from each ASH House – Hanley, Pomerene, and Fechko – were awarded scholarships.

To further enhance the “family” atmosphere, Hanley and Pomerene Houses were redecorated inside and out. This included new furniture, lighting, artwork, painting and structural repairs over the summer of 2003, in preparation for the coming school year.  Color schemes were chosen using the stained glass window unique to each house as a focal point.

2004/2005 — This  year the ASH Women were enjoying their finished redecorated homes. There are discussions of other projects that may come in the future. Energies were now turned toward programming and increasing scholarships.

2005/2006 — As the governing body of the ASH Program, the ASH Advisory Board is composed of a chair, vice-chair, 12 members and 14 ex-officio members.  The ex-officio members of the Advisory Board include the current president of the Scholarship House Alumnae Group; Residence Life staff members; Alumni Association President/CEO or Association staff members serving as his representatives; Office of Admissions and Financial Aid staff members; the ASH House Managers; and the ASH Units’ Resident Advisors.

2006/2007 — The ASH Board has been able to continue the awarding of six full housing scholarships each year since its inception. The kitchen at Fechko was completely remolded in 2006. Adnelle Heskett established a fund for $25,000.00 in 2006. The ASH silver inventory was offered to board members and interested parties for purchase and monies netted were put into the Adnelle Heskett fund. The ASH women started a yearly tradition and host a Thanksgiving dinner as well as a Winter Formal. Annual trips for ASH women involving cultural and social experiences had found them traveling to Baltimore and Chicago.

2007-2010 — The ASH Board awarded six full housing scholarships each year.  August 13-15, 2010 was the 75th Anniversary of the ASH program (1935-2010).  The weekend consisted of a Friday night welcome, campus bus tour and visit to the three current houses, banquet at the Alumni House, and Sunday picnic at Antrim City Park.  The oldest attendees were Demi Beyer who lived at the original house on 190 W. 10th Ave. from 1939-1943 and Ruth Deacon who also lived there from 1941-1944.  Five states were represented. The 1960s decade had the most attend. Pictures were taken by decade.  Tammy Torbet Passa created a DVD depicting a pictorial history of ASH. The ASH Advisory Board created a strategic plan for the future and updated Memorandum of Understanding signed by appropriate University Departments.

2010-2011 — There were 49 total residents in the houses in 2010-2011. Fundraising continues. There were 11 full housing scholarship awarded for 2011-2012! A committee was formed to unite The ASH Advisory Board and the ASH Alumnae into an ASH Society. New constitutions and bylaws were written by the ASH Society Unite Committee. The fall 2011 ASHES TO ASHES newsletter announced the exciting new structure. Alumnae were asked to email questions and comments to Carole Bickel. The OSU AA Board of Trustees are expected to approve the new ASH Society constitution at their February 2012 meeting.

2011-2012  — It was an exciting year!  In February, 2012 The ASH Advisory Board and the ASH Alumnae Group united to form the ASH Society, now referred to as Alumnae Scholarship Housing Society – ASHS. There are already close to 100 members. The Constitution, By-Laws and Memorandum of Understanding were all updated to reflect this new status. The ASH program was given a $100,000 donation for scholarships by Elaine Buerkel in memory of her sister Monica Buerkel, both of whom lived in the ASH houses. At the annual Woman of the Year Banquet, over $63,000 was awarded in 23 scholarships, 9 of those were ASH full housing scholarships. The women of the houses took their annual trip to Washington DC where they did volunteer work as well as enjoyed the monuments and cultural aspects of the city.