Rayford Lodge, located on Rosemont Avenue and behind Rosenstock Hall, has served the students of Hood College since 1944, first as a residence hall for undergraduate women and since the early 1970s as a center for undergraduate commuter students.
Rayford Lodge was named in recognition of Raymond Isaac Ford, treasurer and business manager of Hood from 1921 to 1949.
A lifelong resident of Frederick County, Raymond I. Ford was born in Ijamsville, Md. on September 12, 1895. The son of Charles and Minnie Anderson Ford, he was a graduate of the Frederick Boys High School.
Mr. Ford married Helen A. DeLaughter and the couple had three children: Raymond Jr., Dorothy Ford Krieger ’44, and Miriam Ford Cantwell ’39, deceased. His wife died in 1952 and in 1960 he married Alice Oden Brown.
Mr. Ford began his career at The Frederick Post in June of 1914 and continued to work for the paper after it merged with The News in 1916. He then was employed as a bookkeeper with Thomas and Company in Gaithersburg, Md., and then as the superintendent of a newly established cannery.
In an article in the Hood College Magazine, Mr. Ford recalled his first interview with Hood President Joseph Henry Apple when he joined the administration in 1921. After telling Dr. Apple that he didn’t know a thing about colleges, but that he was willing to try, Dr. Apple said, “If you would like to try, I’d like to try you!”
Mr. Ford served as treasurer of Hood College for 28 years. Faithful, genial and conscientious, he oversaw the College’s financial operations under three presidents: Dr. Apple, Henry I. Stahr and Andrew G. Truxal. When he assumed his responsibilities Coblentz Hall was under construction. Other buildings constructed during his years at Hood included the Joseph Henry Apple Library, Carson Cottage, Gambrill Gymnasium, Williams Observatory, Martz Hall, and Meyran Hall. He oversaw the College’s financial operations during the critical years of the Depression and World War II when resources were scarce. During his tenure the income of the College increased from $156,000 a year to more than $750,000 a year, and he saw the student body double in size from 225 in 1921 to more than 450 in 1949.
Mr. Ford was an active and devoted member of the Calvary United Methodist Church. He served on the church’s board for 46 years and was president of the Leaders Bible Class. He also served on the church’s building committee.
Active in the Masons, he was a past master of Pentalpha Lodge No. 194, AF & AM, in Gaithersburg, Md., a member of Enoch Royal Arch Chapter No. 23, and Commander of the Jacques deMolay Chapter No. 4 of the Knights Templar. He was a member of the Frederick Rotary Club and served a term as treasurer. He was active in the Eastern Association of College and University Business Officers, and served one term as vice president.
Mr. Ford died at 87 in 1982 and is buried in Mount Olivet Cemetery in Frederick.
Rayford Lodge is actually two homes connected by a passageway. East Rayford was originally the home of the Ford family. The College purchased the property from Mr. Ford in 1944. At the time, the College was in need of additional dormitory space for a burgeoning campus population. The name Rayford was suggested by Lilly Parker, a housemother in Meyran Hall. After the Fords moved out of the house, it was renovated as a dormitory for 16 students and a housemother.
West Rayford was purchased by the College in 1960 from the Schildknecht family. The College’s maintenance men built a passageway to connect the two dwellings, known as East Rayford and West Rayford, and the building continued to be used as a residence hall.
In 1974, with a growing number of commuter students, the administration decided to renovate Rayford Lodge into a center for commuter students to provide them a place to study and socialize. It then served as the Commuter Student Union (CSU) and its leadership group, the Commuter Council (CC). Meetings were held in the living room or the conference room. Commuter students enjoyed the same opportunities and responsibilities as residence hall students in creating and providing leadership for the community in which they lived. A commuter representative is elected to the Student Government Association, and of course commuters are active in many college organizations.
Rayford Lodge contained a kitchen, a small vending room, a dining area with tables, and several living spaces that opened into each other. The second floor included study rooms, lounge areas, a conference room, and an office that served as the base of operations for the Commuter Council and the Commuter Student Union. During exam week and after selected social events, the house was available for commuters to stay overnight.
The existence of Rayford Lodge has enabled commuters to become more active in campus-wide positions and activities. And, beginning in the spring of 1994, graduate students also have been welcomed to Rayford.