WMU said goodbye to Hoekje and Bigelow halls on June 6, 2013 with an event celebrating the history of both residence halls.
The halls were named for two longtime and highly respected members of the University community. Dr. Howard F. Bigelow was an economics professor at WMU from 1924 to 1961. John C. Hoekje was a professor of education and psychology who also served as registrar, dean of admissions and director of extension during his 1916-to-1955 tenure at the University.
"These are two facilities that have had an impact on tens of thousands of students during the more than half a century that they each have been in service. Memories were made here as students came and made these halls home. For many, Bigelow or Hoekje Hall was their first home away from home--their first home as young adults," said WMU President John M. Dunn at the reception.
Dr. Diane Anderson, vice president for student affairs also talked about the communities developed in the residence halls. "We believe living in a residence hall is more than the bricks and the mortar, more than the buildings, it really is about what the students learn, the relationships and the friendships that developed by living in the halls together... It is building a community, helping young people grow and finding their passions in life. For us in Student Affairs, the buildings are critical, they are the structure that allows these kinds of interactions."
Plans for the new residence halls that will replace Hoekje and Bigelow halls will build on the theme of community. "These will be very different kinds of residence halls," Anderson said. "It will be like walking through the front door of a family home."