The Bachelor of Bachelor Hall

By Andrea Sikorski

With so many talents and so many achievements, it is plain to see why Joseph M. Bachelor, was endowed with his own building, Bachelor Hall.

A Miami University graduate, class of 1911, Joseph M. Bachelor was already on his way to meet with success. While an undergrad, Bachelor edited the Miami student, an activity that would come in handy while working for the editorial staff at the Century Company. But first, Bachelor would have to earn his master’s degree and doctorate at Harvard University, and then serve as professor of English at Cornell College from 1913 to 1914.

During his stay with the Century Co., Bachelor was the definitions editor for the two-volume New Century Dictionary. However, a familiar voice would soon beckon him back to his alma mater.

At the urging of President Hughes, Bachelor returned to Miami as an associate professor of English and head of freshman dormitory Fisher Hall. While he was teaching, Bachelor created a course titled Words where he challenged his students to learn a new word everyday.

“Increasingly, students were using fewer words,” said Phillip R. Shriver, retired university president. “Joe Bachelor said ‘Look at the dictionary.’”

It is rumored that Bachelor was so loved by his students that his course sections were always filled on the first day of registration.

Much to the disappointment of students and the University, poor health eventually forced Bachelor to retire in 1946. After seven years of dormitory living, Bachelor had purchased a sizeable amount of land two miles across the Tallawanda. Though not an active member of the University, Bachelor continued contact either throwing dinner parties or speaking with students and professors alike.

On Dec. 11, 1947, Bachelor was found unconscious in his reading chair. He passed away the following day at Hamilton Hospital.

Bachelor donated approximately 400 acres to be used for the Joseph M. Bachelor Wild Life and Game Preserve.

“He gave funds to the University for the preservation of an area out east of campus,” said Shriver. “Bachelor said this gift was to remain a conservation project.”

“It is an incredibly beautiful area.”

In April of 1977,construction of the University’s new home for the departments of English, Mathematics and Communication, Bachelor Hall, was approved. It was to be located at the corner of Patterson Avenue and Route 73. Keeping with the predominantly Georgian architecture, Bachelor Hall is defined by its square courtyard at the center of the building.

There has been speculation as to why the courtyard was made, but University Architect Bob Keller said, “The primary motivation for the courtyard in the center of Bachelor was probably to allow for more windows to get more natural light to the interior of the building.”

Prior to 1974 the area had been open space belonging to the Western College for Women, which was then incorporated into Miami’s campus. Bachelor Hall would be the first Miami addition to the land.

The dedication ceremony was held on November 4, 1979.

“The University was indebted to him for his thoughtfulness and his preservation of the woodland,” Shriver said.

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