Spellmann encompassed the values of LU


Spellmann Center being constructed. Photo courtesy of the Mary E. Ambler Archives.

Michael Sprague | The Legacy contributor

Featured Photo courtesy of Mary Ambler Archives

This story is part of the “Names that built LU” weekly series issued by The Legacy that has been profiling 28 campus buildings named after Lindenwood personnel.

Lindenwood has storied history that dates as far back as the 1820s. The earlier faces that shaped LU into the university it is today are now gone, but their impact still surrounds campus.

The names still carry a meaning, but the lasting efforts of so many presidents, faculty members and benefactors have been lost over the years.

Sibley, Niccolls, Eastlick; who exactly are these people? Here at the Legacy, we have identified 28 buildings named after Lindenwood personnel, past and present, that truly helped build the university. Each week over the course of the remaining academic year, The Legacy will outline each and every one of these names.

To start out the series, we chose arguably the most recognizable building on campus, as it plays a role in most students’ academic career.

Dennis Spellmann was the 19th president in LU’s history. Hired in 1990, Spellmann took the reigns of a university with around 2,100 enrolled students and an endowment estimated at $1.8 million.

Dennis Spellmann in 1989. Photo courtesy of Mary Ambler Archives.
Dennis Spellmann in 1989. Photo courtesy of Mary Ambler Archives.

Over the course of his presidency through his death in August of 2006, Spellmann saw those numbers grow to over 3,400 resident students, an all-time high according to a university press release.

The university’s endowment skyrocketed under Spellmann’s watch, jumping to over $50 million in 2006. The current endowment is now estimated at over $130 million.

Spellmann’s impacted extended far beyond the St. Charles campus. He was actively involved in implementing satellite and sports programs that brought the universities total enrollment to over 15,000 the year following his death.

Spellmann was also an advocate of smaller classrooms, now a staple of LU’s academic.

The Heritage Campaign began in the late 90s and added two new dormitories and what came to be named “The Spellmann Center.” It was, at the time, the biggest construction project the campus had ever seen.

During Spellmann’s 16 years, nine campus building were erected, including the one named after him.

The Spellmann Center was designed as a multi-purpose student center, a one-stop-shop if you will, and home to the communications department among others.

As a leader dedicated to educating, Spellmann encompassed the values of LU, just as the building that lives on in his name does today.