Ford Hall


Building Name
Ford Hall
Ford Hall opened as the first college library back in 1929. Normal College had grown considerably since its founding in 1849. The small collection of books housed in one room of the Old Main Building no longer served the needs of the college community. President Charles McKenny (1912-1933) recognized the profound need for a larger library. Under his guidance, the school had become the largest teacher training program in the United States. A one-room library was no longer sufficient. Originally called The Library, it was later renamed Mark Jefferson Library in honor of the head of the Geography Department, 1901-1939. In 1967, when the second library (now Porter College of Education) opened, it became a classroom building. On May 17, 1967, it was rededicated as Richard Clyde Ford Hall. Ford had been head of the Modern Language Department from 1903-1940. In addition to his academic duties, Ford wrote articles for magazines, edited French and German school texts wrote young peoples' histories of Michigan and of the northwest, was a popular speaker and lecturer. He was an authority on the life and culture of Native Americans. The rededication took place on the 90th anniversary of Ford's birth.
Namesake Biography
Richard Clyde Ford was born in Clarence Township, Calhoun County, Michigan, northwest of Albion, May 17, 1870. He was the son of Charles A. Ford and Meranda Elizabeth (Floyd) Ford. Dr. Ford attended a country school until the age of 11, when he moved with his parents to Litchfield, Michigan, where he attended another country school before he graduated from high school in 1886. The following year, he taught at a country school, then spent one summer with his father on a farm in North Dakota and wrote sketches of Dakota life for the Litchfield paper. He became Head of Public schools of White Cloud, Michigan in 1888, and in the fall of 1889 he entered Albion College. Dr. Ford was a teacher at an Anglo-Chinese school in Singapore, East Indies from 1891 to 1892. Upon returning to college, he was graduated in absentia while a student at the University of Frieburg, Germany, 1894. Upon his return to Albion, he became assistant professor of modern languages associated with Professor Frederick Lutz. On June 25, 1895, Ford married Grace Augusta Cogshall, daughter of a prominent clergyman. Professor Ford resigned his position at Albion to continue his studies in Europe, this time at the University of Munich, where he received his Ph.D. with distinction in 1900. After returning home, he headed the Modern Language Department of the Northern State Normal School in Marquette, 1900-1903. In 1903, Ford became head of the Modern Language Department of the Michigan State Normal College. In that position he enjoyed admiration and friendship of hundreds of students, fellow faculty members, and townsfolk. Upon retirement in 1940, the big ballroom in McKenny Hall was filled for a banquet in his honor. Dr. Ford was a member of various national educational and literary groups and had a prominent place in "Who's Who" in America. He wrote articles for magazines, edited school texts of French and German, wrote books for young people dealing with phases in Michigan History and history of the Northwest. Ford was also a popular institute speaker before county teacher groups, lectured and traveled extensively, including trips to Europe, Africa and Australia. Ford was also a member of the State Historical Commission and had been president and trustee of the Historical Society of Michigan and for many years trustee of Albion College; member of the Rotary Club; founder of the Twenty Club in 1905; and belonged to the Methodist Church. Dr. Ford died May 8, 1951.
Building Namesake
Richard Clyde Ford, Head of Modern Language Department, 1903 - 1940
Year Constructed
Date Dedicated
Building Functions
Classrooms, offices and galleries for Art Department; Production and film classes for the Communication and Theater Arts Department
Library, 1929 - 1962; Mark Jefferson Library, 1952 - 1967; R. Clyde Ford Hall, 1962 - Present
Bowd and Munson, Lansing, MI
Original Cost
Architectural Style
Colonial Revival
Square Footage
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Item sets
Campus Buildings
Ford [Color]