University Advancement

History of the Alumni House

This house, later to be known as the Craig House, was built in 1901 by Mary Carpenter's first husband, William Bayard Craig, at 2700 University Ave. It was the home of Mary Carpenter as well as a meeting place for many campus organizations. When Mary Carpenter returned to Drake for her second term, the house began to be known as the Craig House. When Mary Carpenter left Drake after her second term, the Craig House was turned into a women's dorm.

With the coming of the 1920s, Drake had to address the concern of women's housing. The house was turned into mini-dormitory and social center for women. It was administered by Mary Carpenter Craig - the daughter of the first chancellor and widow of the late chancellor. Then, in 1935 the house became the home of President Morehouse and his wife.

The American Judicature Society moved from Loyola University in Chicago to the house at Drake in 2003. In addition to providing other support, Dwight D. Opperman, LW'51, invested about $750,000 to restoring the house, turning it into the Opperman Center. In 2013 it was announced that the house would serve as home to the Office of Alumni Relations and be referred to as the Drake University Alumni House.


1901           The House was built in by Drake Chancellor William Bayard Craig
1920-1935  Women's Dormitory
1935-1941  Home of President Daniel Morehouse
1941-1945  Home of President Henry Gadd Harmon
1945-1962  Chi Omega Sorority House
1969-1988  College for Continuing Education
1988-2003  International Center and Study Abroad Office
2003-2013  American Judicature Society Headquarters
2013-Now   Drake University Alumni House and Office of Alumni Relations


1968's Alumni House

The concept of an alumni house is not new to Drake University. 
This photo, at an undetermined location, was taken in 1968 with the Student Alumni Association and Alumni Relations staff.

Historical Photos

This is the earliest dated photo we have obtained of the house. 
It can be found in the 1903 edition of the Quax yearbook (page 48). 
At this time the house was home to Drake Chancellor William Bayard Craig.

This photo was taken from the 1927 Quax yearbook.
During this time the house served as a women's dormitory.

An illustration of the house dating from 1952.

These two photos, dated 1958 and 1949, respectively, are of the house when it served as a home for the Chi Omega sorority house.


Undated Photos