Ludington Center Dedication Links College, Community

October 14, 2016

The dream became reality on a sun-splashed Friday afternoon in downtown Albion.

A renovated building at 101 N. Superior St., which in former incarnations was a furniture store and a thrift store (among other things), has new life after it was dedicated as the Ludington Center, in front of a crowd of around 100 people.

Calling it a “cornerstone for the linkage of the community and College,” President Mauri Ditzler said the Ludington Center is the culmination of when great ideas come to fruition.

“It’s why we think,” he said. “It’s why we dream. When we bring students here, we want them to live in an environment that says, ‘You’re special. And we want to put you in a place that inspires you.'”

President Mauri Ditzler talks at the dedication of the Ludington Center on Oct. 14. From left are U.S. District Court Judge Thomas Ludington, ’76; Board of Trustees Chair Don Sheets, ’82, and project developer Dr. Samuel Shaheen, ’88.

The building was named in honor of Jack and Dorothy Ludington, both of whom were 1951 Albion graduates. Jack had a long career at Dow Corning, eventually rising to chairman and chief executive officer. He was a longtime member of the College’s Board of Trustees who met Dorothy as a student at Albion, and they maintained a long relationship with their alma mater. She passed away in 1993, he in 2010.

Their three children—Thomas, ’76, Laura, ’78, and Annie, ’82—are also Albion graduates.

The two-story structure has been completely remodeled inside. A grand staircase leads upstairs to offices and meeting rooms for the Carl A. Gerstacker Institute for Business and Management and Gerald R. Ford Institute for Leadership in Public Policy and Service.

The Ludington Center will also be the home for the Build Albion Fellows program and the team of AmeriCorps VISTA volunteers who will spend the next two years in Albion.

The Career and Internship Center will also find a new home on the first floor along with a job placement and referral service for the City of Albion.

While there is still work to be done inside (much of it is already completed on the second floor), it was still open for tours to the crowd that gathered for the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

On hand for the dedication was Dr. Samuel Shaheen, ’88, a Saginaw doctor who has spent the past few years as a property developer. His financial support of this project, as well as for the Courtyard Marriott hotel being built a block down, are part of his plans to help the downtowns in struggling communities.

“I consider [the Ludington Center] one piece of the puzzle,” Shaheen said. “I’m hoping this is the first project in a line of things that can be done in Albion.”

Tom Ludington, a U.S. District Court Judge in Midland, spoke on behalf of his late parents and the rest of the family.

“If my dad were here today he’d be really pleased to join us,” Ludington said. “He knew Jerry Ford and Carl Gerstacker and he’d be proud of this. He also believed in the notion that a liberal arts education has a connection to Main Street, or in this case Superior Street. It’s a chance to learn and solve problems.”

Don Sheets, chairman of the Board of Trustees, spoke of the College’s commitment to downtown Albion, his talk punctuated by trucks rumbling down Superior Street.

“If I’m interrupted,” he said with a laugh. “It’s just good old American business going on, and that’s a good thing.”