Stadium Scholarship Dormitory History
In 1933, a group of 75 young male students with limited financial means moved into a dormitory built beneath the bleachers in Ohio Stadium. Those 75 young men lived in barracks-like conditions in the stadium’s southwest corner, which would become known as the Tower Club. In exchange for reduced rent, the young men did all of the chores except cooking in the no-frills dorm. Their shared experiences created a tradition of cooperation and scholarship that remains alive today.
In subsequent years, the dorm expanded along the west side of the stadium and acquired additional names including Buckeye and Tower clubs.
The Stadium Scholarship Dorm was the brainchild of Joseph A. Park, the university’s dean of men at the time. Park realized that many Ohio high school students weren’t going to college because they couldn’t afford it. The lowered cost for housing made it possible for more of these financially challenged students to attend.
Through the years, the unique dorm gained national attention. Even First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt visited the student living quarters housed in Ohio Stadium. The dorm has also been featured several times during nationally televised OSU football games.
In 1975, both the program and the dormitory itself were expanded and the first women moved into the dorm. In the 1980’s, the university completed a multimillion dollar renovation that increased the dorm’s capacity to 360 students.
In the late 1990s, the university expanded and renovated Ohio Stadium. In June, 1999, the program’s history inside the stadium ended as the last group of 356 residents left the dorm.
In the fall of 1999, the first students moved into the Stadium Scholarship Program at Mack Hall. After a year of challenging renovations, the 2000 group of SSP residents shared the privilege of living in one of the most impressive dorm facilities on campus.
The Stadium Scholarship Program called Mack Hall its home for several years before moving to its current location at the Scholars Houses on 10th Avenue in 2005.
Stadium Dorm alumni continue their involvement with the program. The active participation of these former dorm members insures that the unique character of the Stadium Scholarship Program continues.