This week I want to pay homage to Nix Hall.
This semester the residence hall is being razed amid plans to replace it with either new dorms or a parking lot for Ferguson Hall. Nix Hall has been a staple for Hardin-Simmons University dorm life since it was built in 1962. Many students have lived in its rooms, studied in its common areas and spent countless hours creating lifelong memories with their friends under the roof of this staple of dorm life.
According to Hardin-Simmons University: A Centennial History written in 1991 by A. Yvonne Stackhouse, funding for Nix Hall was provided by the E.C. Nix family of Lamesa. Nix, was a former teacher, insurance agent and shrewd business man who had acquired large land holdings in Texas. The building was designed by F.C. Olds as a memorial to Nix and his son, E.C. Nix Jr. and her son-in-law and daughter, Lee and Lunelle Hemphill.
Fifty one years ago Nix Hall used to have a “dorm mother.” During the year of 1971, Mrs. Hazel Greggston, referred to fondly by the residents of Nix as “Mrs. G,” served as Nix’s dorm mother. Her job was essentially to help the boys of Nix Hall transition smoothly from their old life at home to their new chapter of life at college. She did everything from mending rips on the boys’ shirts to being a “part-time nurse.” Mrs. G loved the 100 or so boys of Nix Hall like they were her own. She told Brand writer Gloria Graham, “The fellows here are all wonderful; we are like a huge family.”
Mrs. G had to have had a heart of gold because she was notable for always finding the good in her boys. Mrs. G did not let any of the boys’ pasts influence how she treated them. She knew deep down that they were all good men, and that if she ever needed help, she was comforted knowing that she could call on any of the boys and they would come rushing to her aid. Mrs. G was the mom the Nix Hall boys never knew they needed until they needed her. She never set a curfew for them because she strongly believed that, “Boys have to be trusted. When they come to school for the first time they need their freedom, it helps them to mature and learn to make their own decisions.”
She also played along with all of their harmless pranks, because the boys never did anything harmful to one another. They would paper one another’s rooms, smear shaving cream on their buddies’ doors and mirrors and pour water and squirt toothpaste beneath their neighbor's doorway.
Mrs. G was a kind-hearted woman who was a mother to countless young men. She was the mother of Nix Hall for nine years, and she touched the hearts of every young man that was blessed with living in Nix Hall with her as their dorm mother.