College Campuses with Cemeteries

By   |  April 13, 2010

If you are a diehard college alumni, your college campus may have the perfect place for you both in life and in death. Some colleges offer the ultimate class reunion – in cemeteries and mausoleums, a small but growing trend on college campuses. Designed to house the cremated ashes of alumni, faculty and pets, a few colleges offer higher ed for the dead. If you’re a graduate of the following institutions of learning, you may be able to score a final resting place on campus.

Kenyon College Cemetery

Recorded burials at Kenyon College in Gambier, Ohio, date back to when the college began, around 1827.  Perhaps the most mysterious grave site on this campus is the grave of “an old man.” It’s believed that this grave was the first one among the hundred-odd graves in the official Kenyon College Cemetery. The college cemetery, which is surrounded by a low wrought iron fence behind Rosse and Rutherford B. Hayes Halls, is still used for alumni, employees and others, with the permission of the college president.

Notre Dame Cemetery

People are always trying to sprinkle their loved ones’ ashes on the Notre Dame football field, in the woods around the lakes and elsewhere on campus. In response to this clandestine scattering, the university opened up a final resting place for alumni. Cedar Grove, located on the Notre Dame property, is an open-air garden mausoleum at the west end of campus that features vaults (for purchase only by faculty and staff) and niches for cremated remains which can be purchased by alumni. You can even buy a custom coffin or urn for Notre Dame’s “Coming Home” mausoleum marketing campaign.

The Jackson Street Cemetery (University of Georgia)

Buried in this historic cemetery are merchants, tailors, ministers, children of UGA faculty members, families of state government officials and two UGA presidents, Robert Finley and Moses Waddel Duncan.  The cemetery is also known as the Old Athens Cemetery and is located between the Visual Arts Building and Baldwin Hall. While this historic grave site is no longer active, you can purchase a lot at Oconee Hill Cemetery down the road owned by the University of Georgia. Bulldog Haven is a section in the cemetery devoted entirely to the university’s football letterman.

Iowa State University Cemetery

Iowa State University has maintained a university cemetery since 1876. Located on the northwest corner of the Central Campus, there are more than 700 graves in the cemetery, seven of which belong to university presidents and faculty and staff members who helped shape Iowa State. Two students also are buried in the cemetery. One of them, Kung Fan Chi, a 29-year-old horticulture major, was believed to be the 70th direct lineal descendent of Confucius, the ancient Chinese philosopher. In order to be buried in the Iowa State cemetery today, one has to have continuously served the university for at least 20 years. In addition, faculty members must have attained the rank of tenured assistant professor or higher.

Duke University Memorial Garden

Because many people have been caught scattering ashes on campus, Duke University started a program in which they charge $25,000 a pop to bury ashes in its new two-acre memorial garden. For that price, the deceased receives a stone with his or her name on it that lines the gently winding path leading from the courtyard up to a wooded hill. Ashes are scattered in the Memorial Garden, which is situated on two acres just north of the terraces, between the Rose Garden and the Hanes Lawn. Profits from this program help finance the school’s vast public gardens.

University of Florida Gator Graveyard

The University of Florida is hoping to cash in soon on the campus cemetery bandwagon. The school is trying to receive special permission from the state to turn part of its campus into a cemetery. The university wants to build what’s called a columbarium, a structure with niches for the ashes of alumni.  UF officials say that they hear requests from people who want spread their ashes on the football field at Ben Hill Griffin Stadium. Many people have scattered family remains on campus without permission, so they figured, why not build a columbarium and charge alumni $3,000 to $5,000 to store their charred remains for all eternity? This plan is still pending the state lawmakers’ approval.

Woodland Cemetery: Clemson University

Woodland Cemetery, also called Cemetery Hill, was the idea of Clemson’s former president Walter Merritt Riggs, who developed a fierce loyalty to the school when he was nominated as president in 1911. He wanted a final resting place, a faculty cemetery, to recognize faculty and college administrators for their service. In 1924, Riggs became the first person buried in the cemetery. Woodland Cemetery no longer has plots for sale, but to help support the grounds’ preservation and research, the college accepts gifts designated for the Cemetery Hill Preservation Fund.

Texas A&M Aggie-Themed Cemetery

The Memorial Cemetery of College Station has an eternal resting place for folks who are really devoted to Texas A&M University. This cemetery has a section for Aggies and their supporters who want to show their school pride – forever. Roughly one-third of Memorial Cemetery’s 57-acre burial ground is dedicated to A&M devotees. There are more than 3,000 spaces for Aggie alumni. The school says it has no financial stake in the $10 million project but is allowing the city to use the school logo and a few other A&M-trademarked items as part of a licensing agreement. The new cemetery is marked by two stone columns the with college’s logo.  Kyle Field can be seen in the distance a mile or so away, creating a visual gateway to the football stadium. The stadium view was one of the college’s requirements in the cemetery contract.

April Lentini writes for Apartment Guide in Austin.

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3 Comments on “College Campuses with Cemeteries”  (RSS)

  1. Oconee Hill Cemetery is not owned by the University of Georgia. It was turned over to a board of trustees by the city of Athens in 1856 and is managed by them to this day.

    Don Smith
    General Manager
    Oconee Hill Cemetery

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