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Eastern Michigan University
Ypsilanti, MI, USA 48197
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(734) 487-1849


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Historic Tour > Virtual Tour > Pierce Hall

Pierce Hall

Pierce Hall

Pierce Hall
Historic Name(s): John D. Pierce Hall

Date constructed: 1948

Architect: R. S. Gerganoff of Ypsilanti

Style of Architecture: Late Modern / Late International with PWA Modern detailing

Original Use: Built to house the Administration Building as well as Classrooms and the departments of English, Speech, Mathematics, and Education.

Dates of renovation: 1967 classrooms subdivided for offices. 1986-89 remodeled interior completely and added elevator shafts to exterior.

Current Use: Student Services, Registration and Student Accounting

History: The current Pierce Hall replaced Boone Hall as the central administrative headquarters for the university. Pierce Hall was completed in 1948 as part of President John M. Munson’s building campaign. Munson, a

President John M. Munson

President John M. Munson
stubborn, autocratic, scrupulously honest and highly effective president built 13 buildings on campus during his tenure from 1933-48. Pierce was among the last buildings to be completed before Munson left the presidency in 1948.

Pierce Hall was dedicated as part of the centennial celebrations of the Normal College in 1949. Even the name fit with this retrospective theme. Pierce Hall commemorates John D. Pierce who counted among his accomplishments being the first State Superintendent of Public Instruction (1836-41). Known as the Father of the Michigan School System, he insisted that a system of free public schools be included in the State constitution when it was framed in 1850. The design of Pierce Hall was a modern interpretation of the Old Main Building. Though very different in design, the building retained certain nostalgic features including the large bell tower that dominates its façade. The residents of Ypsilanti donated money to construct the 120-foot tower, in the tradition of Old Pierce Hall. In June 1950 the school installed the Alumni Memorial Chimes, donated by the alumni and dedicated to those who died in World War II.

In 1959 the Department of Education moved to new quarters and in 1967 the rest of the departments and classrooms transferred to Pray-Harrold. In 1967 building was converted from a classroom building to an office building by subdividing classrooms into usable office space. It continued to house the administrative functions of the university until EMU’s executive offices moved to Welch following its reconstruction in 1988. Between 1986-89 Pierce Hall also received a face-lift as part of the university’s modernization push. A $4 million renovation budget converted the building from subdivided classrooms to the student service center. The remodeling also added elevators, removed asbestos, and remodeled all four floors. Despite the interior remodeling, however, original tile work remains in the stairwells including tiles with representations of fish and animals. Today the building houses all Student Services under one roof.

Location - Pierce Hall


Location of Pierce Hall (Click on the image for a bigger view)