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Hart Hall Named for Alumni Couple

February 22, 2008

Hart Hall, an apartment-style residence located in North Village, was dedicated Feb. 22 and named in memory of Casper Hart ’29 and Louise Orem ’35. The couple earned their degrees on the Hill, and gave a combined testamentary gift of $503,498.

Hart, of Cambridge, majored in history. Orem hailed from St. Michael’s and majored in English and history. Although both grew up on Maryland’s scenic Eastern Shore and both earned degrees at WMC, they did not meet until the handsome history teacher requested a young town librarian, Louise, to help him do research. Miss Orem became Mrs. Hart.

Louise, known to her closest friends as “Orem” or simply “Lou,” died in 2006 at age 92; her husband of 41 years, Casper, nicknamed “Cas,” died in 1981 at age 74. Both were lifelong learners; the Harts always were interested in the classics, current events, and the future of their beloved alma mater. Orem’s grandmother was an older sister of William Roberts McDaniel for whom the College is named.

Following graduation in 1929, Hart continued his studies in history during the summers and earned a master’s degree from Columbia University. He taught history in Maryland public high schools for 42 years. A self-described romantic, Hart quoted poetry and fondly remembered his travels walking through the ruins, temple and stadia of ancient Greece or gazing at the vista along Southern Italy’s coastal Amalfi Drive.

Together they adored being outdoors; Hart was an accomplished gardener, enjoyed hiking and boating on the Chesapeake Bay. Orem shared these interests and was an avid birdwatcher and accomplished organist. She regularly attended concerts and plays and convinced him to join her in dance lessons.

As an undergraduate, Orem planned to be a teacher until volunteer work in libraries redirected her career. For many years, she drove the local bookmobile to remote regions of the Eastern Shore. She also worked in school and public libraries in Prince Georges County, Baltimore and Talbot counties, as well as for the Census Bureau, Weather Bureau and Andrews Air Force Base. She loved mysteries, but as an avid reader of the The Wall Street Journal, she developed a discerning eye for investments and managed her own portfolio.

After Hart’s death, Orem continued to travel with tours of Canada, the Caribbean and Panama, and attended Elderhostels in Arizona and California. She also volunteered her professional skills and launched libraries in her church and retirement community including many large-print volumes for residents with limited sight.

For more information about how to make a legacy gift, contact Gail Shaivitz Oppel at 410-857-2249 or gshaivit@mcdaniel.edu.