“Emu House” to be named in honor of outgoing President Susan Martin

From the Ypsilanti Courier comes “EMU to name renovated home for housing special University guests in honor of outgoing President Susan Martin.”

I had actually heard about this before because the EMU PR folks had invited me to an open house event for “emu house” last week– I couldn’t attend because of some other stuff on my schedule, unfortunately. Anyway, “emu house” is at 526 St. John’s Street, which is across the street from the dorms Best Hall and Wise Hall, and (for those of us who have been here a while) it used to be the EMU Credit Union way back in the day.

The place has been refinished into a guest house which (the article says) could be used for “visitors performing at Pease Auditorium for extended periods, new leaders who are unable to locate a residence quickly and others visiting the University for a major event.” Oh, also important to note here: emu house was made possible by the generous support of Ken Fine and his wife, Rebecca Canary, and also to William and Delores Brehm, who donated a lot of the furniture.

I think this is a great idea because we don’t really have a place on campus to house people who are here for an extended stay. For example (and this is also a plug), my friend and former colleague Annette Saddik has been at EMU this semester off and on as the McAndless Distinguished Scholar– she’s giving a talk tomorrow in the student center called “‘Act Naturally’: Embracing the Monstrous Woman in Tennessee Williams’ Late Plays”– and I know that it would have been a heck of a lot easier to put her up for a week or so at a time in this space had it been available. My hope is we can house future McAndless Scholars (and other visiting scholars) here.

But what of the name? Here’s a quote from the article:

The house is named “emu house,” which connects it to both the University and the large, flightless bird native to Australia, a few of which Rebecca adopted over 15 years ago and which still live (and infrequently reproduce) on their property.

The house will be renamed the “Susan W. Martin emu house” within 30 days of her final day as president and will retain that name for at least the next 100 years or until it has reached the end of its useful life. The plaque designating the new name of the house and honoring President Martin will be installed by early fall.

Of course, the real tribute would be a change of mascot, but one step at a time.