By Greg Russell
Don’t be surprised if a shadowy figure shows up at a book-signing session and photo
exhibit Oct. 5 at 7 p.m. in Mynders Hall. The ghost of Elizabeth Mynders has a way
of appearing at unexpected times in the dormitory that was built in the shape of an
“E” to honor her.
Elizabeth and the rest of the U of M campus are invited to the Mynders Hall lobby
for the unveiling of 25 old and intriguing campus photos that have been enlarged and
framed as part of the centennial celebration. The evening will include a book-signing
session that features history professors Janann Sherman and Beverly Bond, authors
of Dreamers. Thinkers. Doers. A Centennial History of the University of Memphis.
The book is a 128-page, hardcover coffee table volume that details the University’s
100-year history. It includes numerous historic photos, anecdotes and a University
timeline. Copies of the book will be available for purchase.
“We have been refurbishing the first floor and the exterior of Mynders the past few
months,” said Peter Groenendyk, director of U of M residence life and dining services.
“This event is a way to showcase the lobby area. This building has an important history
on our campus and with this being the centennial year, it is the perfect time to do
Mynders Hall is one of the University’s three original buildings and along with the
Administration Building one of two still standing. It was built in the shape of an
“E” at the request of Elizabeth’s father, Seymour A. Mynders, the University’s first
president. Elizabeth died unexpectedly in early 1912, months before the school opened
its doors for the first time ever. Mynders also died at the beginning of the second
school year. The lobby includes portraits of both Elizabeth and Seymour that will
be on display.
Visitors to Mynders Hall are encouraged to “greet” Elizabeth as they walk by her portrait
to maintain good relations with her. She may be in attendance Oct. 5 at a book signing
and photo exhibit in the lobby of Mynders. (Photo by Rhonda Cosentino)
Legend has it that Elizabeth has been “visiting” Mynders residents for the past 100
years, especially those students who stay out late and fall behind in their studies.
Residents have reported that they have awakened to find textbooks open to the chapters
they should be studying. She is considered “friendly” and seems to prefer the third
floor of the building, where most sightings have occurred.
Given that the photo exhibit includes “old” photos of campus, Elizabeth might just
appear. (Copies of the centennial book are also available at the campus bookstore.)