The History Behind The Okra Office


A service closet on the Union’s Second Floor is home to a small part of campus history that few know of: the Okra’s Office.

When asked about it, Okra Scholars Coordinator Dr. Johnathan Westfall humorously stated that he “put [his] personal ‘Mr. Okra’ plaque on the door so that [he] could look out of [his] office and see the Okra’s Office next door.” 

The Mr. Okra’s Office remained this way for nearly a year, until both the Student Success Center and the Okra Scholars moved over to Bailey during the 2019 winter break.

Before becoming the Okra’s Office, the room was used as a service closet. The closet was connected to the room above it with a dumbwaiter when the N. H. Nowell Union was built in 1974.

Once the Okra Scholars became part of the school in 2015, their neighboring office used the room. Originally, the Okra Scholars housed their Counselor Internship Center in the room, and then converted the room to storage after the internship was removed.

After the Okra Scholars moved, the service room was once again emptied, and Dr. Westfall’s “Mr. Okra” plaque was replaced with the current “Service Closet” plaque.

The empty room, hidden at the end of a long hallway, now has the title of service closet once again, and its future is yet to be decided although many don’t even know of its existence.