Stitzlein legacy lives on at UA

The Alumni Association moved to InfoCision the Spring before demolition.


Dakota Phillips

The Alumni Association building known as The Stitzlein stands no longer.

By Alicia Finch, Editor-in-Chief

The 1870 Victorian-era home, known as the Stitzlein Alumni Center, no longer stands at the corner of Fir Hill and East Buchtel Avenue.

Demolition for the building began July 11. The university took preparations for the leveling of the building prior to the demolition starting in the 2014 spring semester.

The university decided before the demolition to save some of the interior of the building. These would include some of the light fixtures and doorknobs the university desired to keep for momentums.

The Stitzlein building shared the same unique structure as the Hower House on campus. The Stitzlein building was built only one year prior to the Hower House and both are Victorian homes.

The Hower House acquires more traffic due to the events they hold such as exhibits open to the public. The Hower House was in better shape than the Stitzlein building. The university was left to decide to demolish the worse of the two.

The Hower House still stands and the demolition of the Stitzlein building is completed.

“The university felt it better to put its resources to preserve one very well rather than two. It was just a building that was a costly investment,” Associate Vice President for Alumni and Development Kimberly Cole said.

The Stitzlein building was said to have too many costly repairs to fix. Some repairs included the roof caving in and chipping lead paint.

“The renovation to remove lead paint is not an easy one,” Cole said.

The university acquired the building in 1985. In 1996 the building was dedicated to the Alumni Association. On June 25, 1995 the Board of Trustees at UA decided to dedicate the building in recognition of the university’s most dedicated alumni Harry P. and Rainy G. Stitzlein.

Rainy Stitzlein served on the Board of Trustees for nine years at The University of Akron. After leaving the board, the building was named in the couple’s honor for their services and contributions to the university.

In the spring semester of 2014, the Alumni Association relocated into InfoCision Stadium-Summa Field and is now located on the second floor.

“The Stitzlein building was old. It had two floors and was not handicapped accessible,” Cole said. The relocation brought both the Alumni and Developmental Office to reunite onto one floor.

“We are very happy here. This space reflects us better and it makes a big difference with hosting events daily,” Cole said.

The new office has much more space now to entertain the alumni that come to campus. There is now access to give visitors and alumni walking tour around the stadium. This gives the alums access to the sixth floor. This floor shows an entire view of the city of Akron and the entire UA campus.

“This is something we did not have before,” Cole said.

The Stitzlein name has been carried over to the new office. The building may be gone, however, the legacy of the Stitzlein’s continues to live on. In the new office, the staff has hung a picture of the prestigious couple.

“The picture is to keep the legacy of the Stitzlein’s alive,” Cole said.

Rainy Stitzlein was a Chairwoman for The University of Akron Board of Trustees. Her late husband Harry served as a Chairman for Malone Advertising Inc., which is now a part of Geometry Global. Rainy always promoted academic excellence and was also the owner of Rainbow Inc.

Cole said she had the pleasure of meeting Rainy personally when she was a student at UA and spoke very highly of her.

“I watched her with such great interest. Everything she did was with such poise,” Cole said.

Rainy Stitzlein was a lifelong Akronite and is known to be one of the most generous and committed alumni since her graduation in 1948 and Harry Stitzlein’s graduation in 1950.

The Stitzlein family, along with friends, alumni and Malone Advertising, in memory of Harry Stitzlein, established The Harry P. Stitzlein Endowed Scholarship for Excellence in Business in 1995

The grassy seed that now covers the ground where the building once stood sits waiting for nature to take its course or the university to do something with it. This has not yet been decided.