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Originally dedicated as a museum during the commencement of 1900, the Hood Building is the oldest structure on the Alma campus and now offers a pleasant contrast to the modern facilities nearby. The exterior has been well maintained and kept mostly true to its original construction. Built of rock-faced paving brick trimmed with sandstone and topped with a slate roof, Hood was described in the College's 1899-1900 catalog as "the finest building in architectural effect on the campus. "
With laboratories and two large exhibition halls, Hood Museum had some of the finest bird, fossil, and geologic specimen collections in Michigan. Educators and researchers from all over the United States frequently traveled by train to study Alma's collections.
Through the years the structure was frequently renovated to serve a variety of functions. During World War I the building was converted to a barracks for members of the Student Army Training Corps, and it was also used by the Department of Biology, the Psychology Department, and as a faculty office building. An extensive renovation in the 1970s converted the Hood Building for use by the Admissions and Development offices. Today it houses the Admissions staff and the vice president for enrollment and student affairs.
The building was a gift from Mrs. Francis A. (Jenny Murray) Hood and her stepson Frank Hood, of Saginaw, in memory of their husband and father. Originally a New York cooper, Frances Hood came to Michigan in 1874, established a mill at St. Charles, Mich., and later expanded his holdings to six mills. He was a director of Commercial National Bank of Saginaw, and he owned several farms in Saginaw County and in New York state.
Mr. and Mrs. Hood were members of First Presbyterian Church in Saginaw, the same church where Alma's second President August F. Bruske served as pastor before he came to Alma in 1891.