MARQUETTE Ã‚– Northern Michigan University will dedicate Whitman Hall during an open house from 4-6 p.m. Monday, Dec. 1.
The dedication ceremony, scheduled to begin at 4:30, will feature drumming by the Center for Native American Studies, brief remarks, and the unveiling of a plaque. Visitors will be invited to tour the facility.
Willard M. Whitman School first opened its doors in 1954 to accommodate students in kindergarten through 6th grade. NMU purchased the building 2001, after Marquette Area Public Schools had closed it due to shrinking enrollment. Interior and exterior work was required to convert the 39,000 square-foot building to faculty offices and classrooms, and to provide a 285-space parking lot to serve the facility.
Whitman Hall houses the School of Education, the dean of the College of Professional Studies, the charter school program, the Centers for Native American and Upper Peninsula Studies, the international affairs office, and the modern languages and literatures department.
Its namesake, Willard A. Whitman (1884-1955), served 34 years as superintendent of Marquette Public Schools. He played a major role in expanding the district through additional buildings and extensive programming. He is also credited with creating the student heath protection program, introducing art, drama, and music into the classroom, and developing the adult education programs. Whitman taught classes at NMU for several summers.