NORMAN — Freshman pre-med student Kaitlynn Maddox makes her home in the University of Oklahoma’s newest dormitory, Headington Hall.
“The University of Oklahoma is so much more than just an overwhelming number of buildings,” Maddox told gathered crowds on Saturday at the dormitory’s dedication ceremony.
Maddox said students are not “just a face in the crowd” at OU and Headington is more than a dorm — it’s her home.
“There’s always something going on here at Headington Hall,” she said.
Headington Hall is a six-story student residence designed in the Cherokee Gothic style consistent with other OU historic buildings. It is home to 380 students, 180 of which are student-athletes, according to a university reports.
Dr. Kelly Damphousse, dean, of the College of Arts & Sciences, serves as a faculty member in residence living, along with his wife, at Headington Hall.
“Welcome to my home,” Dampousse said.
The university started the faculty-in-residence program in 1996. The program allows faculty to interact with students outside of the classroom, he said. Damphousse has two daughters who are OU students, but living at Headington, he said he has gained 380 more.
“These students have become our kids,” he said of Headington Hall residents.
Dampousse described a late night waffle dinner with waffle irons everywhere and students coming into the dining hall in pajamas. Another time a student began playing the piano and the moment turning into a sing-along.
“This is why we’re supposed to be here,” he said.
Headington Hall became a “family in residence,” Dampousse said. “This is home.”
Other speakers at the dedication ceremony on Saturday included OU President David L. Boren, Director of Athletics Joe Castiglione, Chairman of the OU Board of Regents Richard Dunning and Tim Headington, an OU alumnus who gave $10 million toward the student housing facility.
“This is one of the things I wanted to see accomplished before I left,” Dunning said.
Dunning, a regent for seven years, attended the ceremony despite recent health challenges. He made note of the dining hall, computer lab, study space at Headington and said the quality facility and welcoming atmosphere are part of what “sets the University of Oklahoma apart from others.”
Headington thanked President Boren, the other donors and the board of regents for having the vision to build the state of the art dormitory.
“I think they’ve done a wonderful job,” Headington said. “The first year of college is an enormous transition. Headington Hall is designed to make that transition as comfortable as possible.”
Boren described Headington as a very talented person with a good heart.
“It’s totally appropriate that this facility should bear his name,” Boren said.
“It’s one thing to make a financial gift,” Headington said. “It’s another thing to see our gifts go to such a wonderful end.”
Headington played tennis during his time at OU. He remembers some very unpleasant dorm rooms during his years at the university. Headington Hall provides a very different experience for students.
“The guys that designed it and built it made such great use of the space,” he said, following the ceremony.
While the dormitory bearing his name was being built, Headington watched the process via webcam, but nothing matched the feelings he had upon seeing it for the first time.
“I honestly was just blown away,” he said. “That was before people were living in it. When the people came in, all of a sudden it had this incredible sense of spirit.”
Boren called Headington a “renaissance person.”
“He is such a humble person,” Boren said. “Such a genuine person, and he is a person of such incredible artistry.”
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