Lauren Hallow / Lantern photographer
“We are a country club without a golf course. That’s exactly who we are,” said executive director Jeffrey White.
According to its website, the Faculty Club was established in 1923, born out of the desire for professors to connect with one another.
“Engineering wanted to know what they were doing in agriculture and what they were doing in English,” White said. “It was an opportunity for professors to cross over disciplines.”
Since then, the Faculty Club has evolved as a social club with a diverse membership of about 1800 faculty, staff, graduate students, alumni and friends of the university.
Individual membership fees range from $23 to $125 a month, in addition to a varying initiation fee. The application process takes between one and two days and is not selective.
The club recently developed a membership for parents of students. This allows the student use of the club’s facilities even when the parent is not present.
“Over the past 80 years, what we have done is grown to envelop the entire community,” White said. “If you love Ohio State University, this is a great place to come express that.”
At present, undergraduates are not able to apply for memberships, but White said they should “absolutely stop by.” The club is looking for ways to expand its services to younger students.
“We’re just now studying the possibilities of opening the club up on certain days of the week, it could be for dinner or for a special event geared towards undergraduates where meal cards are accepted here or BuckID’s are accepted here,” White said. “It would be a phenomenal place to have a real nice dinner right in the center of campus.”
Some undergraduates have been able to experience the Faculty Club in connection with student organizations.
“I had a great experience at the faculty club,” said Amanda Michel, a fourth-year in accounting. “I helped organize the Beta Alpha Psi graduation there, and they were very helpful in helping us pick out the menu. The food was good, and the atmosphere was also nice.”
The club boasts three floors and 15 rooms, including two restaurants and an outdoor patio overlooking Mirror Lake. There is a full-service main dining room as well as the Colleagues Dining Room, which is often abuzz with professors enjoying a buffet style lunch.
“Our culinary team is very talented,” White said. “I would put us up against any country club.”
For David Murray, a professor of epidemiology, the food is reason enough to belong to the club.
“They have a great lunch, a wide variety of nutritious, tasty, well-prepared food,” Murray said. “I don’t participate in many of the organized social things, I use it for the food.”
The social aspect is also a big draw for many members. The club hosts a variety of events throughout the year such as beer and wine tastings and family brunches. For others, it is a place to escape the monotonies of the office for a few hours.
“It’s a nice space to get out of my academic building,” said Darla Munroe, professor of geography and seven-year member of the Faculty Club. “It’s got its little luxuries. It’s a nice place to go and restore. I come here with my colleagues to eat, and sometimes I grade in the library.”
The Faculty Club is a private, self-supporting corporation, although the university maintains responsibility for the building.