Alumni and friends of Freed-Hardeman University came together Friday, Oct. 21, 2022, to officially open the Laurel Cottage Hospitality House. The hospitality house is located at 340 East Main St. in Henderson, Tennessee.
Adjacent to Anderson Science Center, Laurel Cottage offers five bedrooms, each with its own bathroom. It provides a warm, welcoming home away from home for university guests. FHU renovated the Main Street property to host parents, alumni and other campus visitors.
All bedrooms and common spaces are named in honor or memory of former first ladies and friends of Freed-Hardeman. The cottage itself is named in honor of Laurel Sewell, who served as first lady from 1990-2008. Other first ladies (in chronological order) include: Cora Belle Freed, Leila Hall, Joanna “Miss Joe” Hardeman, Louise Dixon, Delorese Gardner and Glenda Wiley. In addition to ensuite bathrooms, all bedrooms are equipped with Wi-Fi and smart TVs. Miss Joe’s suite is ADA-compliant and Louise Dixon’s suite includes a queen bed and an adjacent room with built-in daybeds to accommodate families.
In addition to the bedrooms honoring first ladies, the common spaces also honor women who have had an impact on the university. The breakfast room is named in memory of Leila Hall, wife of W. Claude Hall, president from 1923-1925; the dining room honors Patsy Loden, wife of Woody Loden, university trustee from 1967-2009; and the back porch pergola is in memory of Eyvonne Crowder, a 1960 alumna.
“I hope Laurel Cottage can be used to show love and gratitude to our visitors,” current FHU First Lady Tracie Shannon said. “Warm hospitality has been a trademark of Freed-Hardeman’s first ladies. We are honoring their examples of gracious hospitality and lives of service.” Shannon spearheaded the Laurel Cottage project.
Additional information about Laurel Cottage is available by contacting FHU Guest Services Coordinator Rachel Woolard at firstname.lastname@example.org or visiting fhu.edu/laurelcottage.
FHU is currently engaged in a record-breaking fundraising campaign for campus improvements. The campaign, known as FHU NEXT, has already funded the renovation of Paul Gray Hall, a men’s residence hall, and improvements to athletic facilities. In September, ground was broken for a new dining hall that will include a Chick-fil-A. Plans are underway for renovation of Loyd Auditorium and converting the current dining hall to the Saunders Center to accommodate at least nine new academic programs. This year FHU added a physical therapist assistant program and a Doctor of Ministry degree.