Farewell to OSH
Orson Spencer Hall, affectionately known by nearly everyone throughout its 60-plus years on campus as “OSH,” is no more. The two-story, mid-century modern building was razed in late October. Named for the first chancellor of the university, OSH was one of the first post-WWII structures on campus designed exclusively for classrooms. Nearly every U student since then has had a class in OSH and can probably still remember the sound of the bell signaling five-minute class breaks and the ensuing swarms of students navigating the crowded halls. Those times will be missed. OSH will be replaced by the new Carolyn and Kem Gardner Building.
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27 thoughts on “Campus Scene: Farewell to OSH”
As a toddler in ’64-’65, I was introduced to OSH by my father, who at the time was a U student and played football on scholarship. He still talks about attending post-game meetings in OSH, while viewing films from the game. He reminisces about spending time, as a student, either studying, going to class, or eating Sunday dinners with the team, at OSH. I remember waiting for him with my mom, and sitting on the stone ledge where the koi pond was by the front window. Growing up, as a family we were always going to OSH for one thing or another, and I always stopped to sit at the pond. My parents have told me on many occasions, the time I ran away (we lived in family housing, army barracks, where BEH is now) and was found sitting in OSH, by the pond, with some hippies who found me, bought me some ice cream, and concluded that someone would find me soon. They were right. My parents knew where I liked to go.
When I started college in the early 80s, I remember that OSH was the hub for college life. I would still go sit by the pond, in between classes. It was a tranquil spot and I loved the memories I had of it. The cafeteria in OSH was were I met so many people, who were as unique and different like me. We became friends and spent time talking over cup after cup of coffee, whether it was about subjects in our classes, writing papers, or similar interests we shared. I never had that opportunity in high school, so doing this at the U, gave me a purpose and helped define who I was. Those times are still part of my OSH memories that have stayed with me; longer than some of those individuals I met there.
It’s sad to see an icon like OSH, disappearing from campus, which has been my second home through most of my life. As my family prepares for my nephew to attend the U, we become melancholy that he won’t see the building that was such an important place of our lives. I won’t be able to show him the koi and enjoy an ice cream cone with him. He already is connected to the U, knowing that his family all graduated from the U, and that grandpa played football there. When we attend the games, he has so many questions for us, as he tries to envision what it was like. He is an incredible boy with such curiosity, and talks about when he will be a student at the U. Despite the loss of OSH, he will continue the family legacy and create his own special moments at the U. I hope he finds that one place on campus, that will be his place to meet new people, and enjoy making memories there. I know he will certainly share our family stories with his new friends.
Alas I lament… Freezing cold summer classrooms or the very smelly, nasty bathrooms… the days so long and office space so wrong… I shall miss you Orson Spencer Hall, despite your odd half-bathroom stalls.
I remember going to the Union Movies there in the auditorium on the weekend back in the day. The movies cost a buck and you could get popcorn and drinks outside the auditorium doors. Had a lot of classes there and faculty visits when I was an English major.
RIP OSH I wish I could get one of your old red bricks as a souvenir.. I’ve taken so many classes over there and I mostly remember the Muslim Students Association annually conference held in the auditorium..
Orson Spencer was one of my family members. I can understand the need to update buildings. I hope somewhere on a plaque in the new building a remembrance of the Spencer family will be prominently displayed. They initiated the University of Deseret which became the U.Of U. Too historical to just raze and not recognize!
I never had a class at OSH, but spent many an hour either in the cafeteria or in the lounge area in the hall on the main floor studying. Sometime after graduation I did go to a Harry Connick Jr. concert in OSH though.
I was surprised when I heard it was being razed. While the building will be no more, the memories remain.
I spent many hours as a teaching and research fellow in the English Department within the walls of Osh in the ’60,s and early ’70,s. This is where my office was and where most of my classes were taught and taken. It was so cold and drafty in the winter and so hot in the summer, I do remember. But it was “home” and familiar, and had a convenient parking lot just to the east.
I walk through campus now and everything is so “cold” and unfamiliar and BIG! I’m happy to have known the comfort, cheer and familiarity of good friends, fine professors and my own students in a place like OSH that was like home on campus for me for many, happy years.
In OSH Dr. L. McKay, head of the Lang. Dept., told me (an uninformed recent US citizen) about graduate school and advised me in 1964 to apply to Cornell U. which I did and where I received a Ph.D. in 1968. Also met my wife at Cornell U. and taught from 1968 to 2003 at the Univ. of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. All that because it started with an advising session in Orson Spencer Hall. Thank you.
Loads of great memories of OSH. I look forward to seeing the new building.
So many good memories of OSH!!
I remember many late nights cutting through the OSH on my way from lower campus to Ballif Hall (now also razed and gone); getting a Sunday meal there, bowling, sitting outside studying, with the sounds of campus life all around me, and reading the campus activities posted on the walls at the Union. I also remember learning the night janitor seen in the hallways could have been Ted Bundy. That’s my only creepy memory of the OSH. It’s a big part of my 73-77 memories; it’s a shame it couldn’t be preserved.
Repelling down the side of one wall sponsored by the Army ROTC.
If I recall this building was the location of my Shakesphere Class
When I was a teaching fellow and grad student at Utah from 1973 – 75, and then a visiting instructor in 1975-76, I spent every weekday morning every quarter in the same classroom in OSH–first as a graduate assistant to Bob Avery and Lorry Rytting–and later as one of the team of instructors–in Intro to Mass Communication. We had a direct phone line to media services so we could request Jack Vetterli, the very creative head of instructional technology, one floor away to roll one of the many videos that had been created for the course. It all seemed so thoroughly modern at the time (or maybe even futuristic). It’s interesting to think about the changes in instructional technology that those of us still teaching have come to take for granted in the decades since. Thanks for prompting fond memories of a time and place I haven’t thought about for a long, long time. I’ll miss Orson Spencer Hall, if only in my dreams.
Great memories from OSH – best economics classes, old classrooms, great professors, interesting bathrooms and happy, happy times of my life 🙂
So many memories from late 60’s. As a BYU student my first experience in OSH was a meeting with Dr. Landesman about transferring to U as a philosophy major. So many classes in OSH, the philosophy dept. office, I was student attendant in the philosophy reading room. I can still see, hear and appreciate Drs. Landesman, Wisner, Wendt, Tapscott, Hagen, etc…. My intellectual foundation was formed during those years in OSH classrooms, for which I am deeply grateful.
My study partner for Physics Advanced Mechanics and I spent may ‘happy’ hours doing hard problems on the blackboard. We sort of figured we had paid for the chalk, anyway.
Also,the backhoe in the photo seemingly knew that my German classroom was its next target. Dr. McKay, “Watch Out!”
I think some of you are getting OSH and the Union mixed up. It was the Union that had a bowling alley and cafeteria. I also had classes in OSH but worked several years in the Union just next door. Many memories.
All of my classes save one were in OSH last spring. I grew quite attached to that building, and it’s sad to me that the class of 2019 will be the last to have gotten to know it.
I remember well my psychology, philosophy, geography, and English comp and lit courses in OSH, which I see is now being described as a “mid-century modern” building. Perhaps it should have been preserved as a monument to that plain but functional architecture style. I also remember listening to speeches in the auditorium by Sens. Ted Kennedy and Hubert Humphery, two mid-century modern men. (Egads but I am growing old.) The building may be gone, but the ideas taught and learned under the name of Orson Spencer will live on — at least for a few more years.
OSH and the Union at “Mid-Century” were my home. Most of my classes were in OSH. The offices of my major were located there and in my last year at the University of Utah I was a TA in OSH. Good memories of a good educational experience.
I have bad memories of OSH. All the bathroom rumors you hear are true. I was a victim of an incident.
As a history and English student, I spent many hours in OSH, but none more memorable than the day President Kennedy was assassinated. The main hall outside the big lecture room was packed with students when Professor Sturges came out to tell us that the president had died. Just a short time before we had been in the big room to hear Ted Kennedy campaigning for his brother. And yes, there were many wonderful hours in classes, too.
Many, many classes in OSH; many, many hours spent there, studying, freaking out, napping, freaking out, you get the idea.
Change is inevitable; you shall be missed, old friend!
I remember in the late 70s when you were allowed to smoke in the hallways, but not the classrooms. I remember Dr. Sam Rich’s class in International Relations, where before he crossed the threshold into the classroom he’d grind out his cigarette on the hallway floor. Some of you older Poli Sci majors may recall what a character this guy was. Pleasant memories of what was referred to back then as simply Spencer Hall.
I took Basic Communications from Dr. Mulder in Fall 1955 – my first class at brand new OSH. I took several other classes at OSH; however, spent most of my time at the Annex after deciding on a business and economics major in 1957. OSH was great compared to the Annex!
I want one of the bricks! OSH was the birthplace of my intellectual life. I still hear voices of Don Garrett, Fred Hagen, Peter Appleby, Bill Whisner, Mendel Cohen, John Francis, etc., etc. first heard in the classrooms, hallways and offices of the OSH. It was the perfect temple; both sacred and democratic.
Oh my! Far too many memories to even try single one or two as worthy of mention…classrooms…offices…people who must never be forgotten…best memory…saying “Good morning, Professor Wormuth,” in the hallway in front of the Political Science Department, and having him reply “Good Morning Michael,” and then insisting I should address him as “Francis,” and of course I said “Oh no, Professor Wormuth, I can never do that!!” The walls and halls of that old building were such a great part of my life!
G. Michael Stathis, Ph.D.