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<p>President Emeritus Kerr at the construction of the Rike Center in 1974.</p>
<p><em>Permission for Use granted by the Otterbein University Archives</em></p>
President Emeritus Kerr at the construction of the Rike Center in 1974. Permission for Use granted by the Otterbein University Archives

Students say goodbye to 25 W. Home St. after name change is announced

The residence hall is being renamed in honor of a former Otterbein University president

Suite-style residence hall 25 W. Home St. has been granted its first official name change since it opened in 2008.

The Board of Trustees approved renaming the dorm in honor of President Emeritus Thomas J. Kerr IV and his wife, Donna Kerr. Kerr was president of Otterbein from 1971 to 1984 and died in 2021.

Director of Residence Life Tracy Benner said the dorm will be renamed for the Fall 2023 semester. Benner also said that it is unusual for residential dorms to be named after donors. 

“Usually, namings of buildings, especially on college campuses, happens one of two ways, well, three ways really; somebody dies, retires, or someone gives a bunch of money. And apparently, people don’t just open up their purse and donate a couple million dollars to name a residence hall,” Benner said.

Since this is the last semester before the name change, students must adapt to the new name quickly. 

“It’s definitely interesting because I didn’t really understand why it didn’t have a name in the first place," 25 W. Home St. resident Emma Britton said. "I think being just named its address is a little weird, especially since every other building on campus, at least to my knowledge, has an actual name."

Camden Gelfand, a resident assistant at 25 W. Home St., said that she thinks students might have a hard time adjusting to the name change since the residence hall is so commonly referred to as “25." Gelfand said that any change like this requires an adjustment period. 

1977 Otterbein alumnus John Newman said that he thinks it’s excellent that the dorm hall is being renamed after a former president who brought lots of positive change to Otterbein.

“Some of the things I remember is that the old gym was closed and they opened the Rike Center. And now, of course, the old gym is the Battelle Fine Arts building,” Newman said.

As students say goodbye to 25 W. Home St. going into the fall semester, they can plan to welcome its new name with an announcement and celebration during Homecoming

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