History of La Maison Française
La Maison Française was dedicated on October 4, 1971. Through the efforts of Theodore Wakefield, Paul Wurzburger, the Honorary French Consul in Cleveland, made a gift of $50,000 to furnish La Maison Française as a residence where students could become acquainted with French culture, learn about French customs, and increase their knowledge of the language. Professor Micheline Ghibaudo was named the first Faculty Director of the Maison, a post which she held until her retirement in 1990.
In the years following its dedication, supporters continued to endow La Maison Française, enabling it to fulfill its mission. Mrs. Henry Dodge assisted in the establishment of the Dolly Donnell Fund to support cultural activities in La Maison Française. The late Mrs. Donnell’s interest in the French House has been continued by her daughter Mrs. Susan Konkel. Also with the help of Mrs. Dodge, the Paul Wurzburger scholarship was created to assist residents of La Maison Française in studying in France.
A ten-year rededication ceremony was held in 1982. A full week of French activities ended with an address by Jacques Royet, French Consul in Detroit, a reception for French House alumnae and buffet dinner dance.
In 1992, the twentieth year of La Maison Française was celebrated. The French Consul in Washington, Jean Dufay, came to La Maison Française to confer the Order of the Academic Palms upon Professor Micheline Ghibaudo. He was accompanied by the French Honorary Consul in Cleveland, Albert Borowitz.
In October 2002, the thirtieth anniversary of the Maison Française was celebrated with a reception for residents, university faculty and administrators, and Advisory Board members.
In 2014, La Maison Française learning community relocated to Kohl Hall.