January 24, 2024

Wayne State lights up Old Main in Lions' Honolulu Blue

President Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D., wore a Detroit Lions sweatshirt to her interview on WJR 760, on Monday, Jan. 22, 2023.
President Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D., wore a Detroit Lions sweatshirt to her interview at WJR 760, on Monday, Jan. 22, 2024.

DETROIT – The Detroit Lions’ historic playoff run has brought joy and hope to fans throughout Michigan. In acknowledgement of the accomplishment – and in preparation for the NFC Championship game Sunday against the San Francisco 49ers – Wayne State University will light up its iconic Old Main Building at 4841 Cass Avenue with Honolulu Blue for the week.

To create the tribute in Old Main’s upper-most windows, a system of 30 four-foot-long fluorescent lights were removed, Honolulu Blue-colored shades were slid over them, and the lights were put back in place. Four white flood lamps that typically light the four faces of the clock tower were also replaced with blue ones.

“Wayne State and the city of Detroit are inextricably linked, and we are so excited to be on this ride with the Lions,” said WSU President Kimberly Andrews Espy, Ph.D. “The roar and energy emanating from Ford Field the last two weeks has spread throughout our campus community. We are pleased to show our Lions pride by lighting up our signature building in Honolulu Blue.”    

An electrician changes the lights on one Old Main’s four clock faces.
Electricians change the lights on one of Old Main’s four clock faces.

Changing out the lights in Old Main is a job conducted by two university electricians and requires going to the top floor of the building and then climbing a few different staircases, including a spiral staircase that dates back to 1896.

Old Main, which is located 1.8 miles from Ford Field, was originally constructed as Detroit’s Central High School in 1894. Today, Old Main houses the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences (CLAS), the University Planetarium and Museum of Anthropology, as well as several other programs.   

One Old Main resident who has Lions fever is CLAS Dean Stephanie Hartwell.

“Coming from New England, I never thought I’d find a fandom like this in Detroit,” said Hartwell. “I am a huge fan of gritty cities, and the way people come together under this One Pride banner, transcending differences and cheering for something bigger than themselves — it’s a masterclass in community. Seeing Old Main, my home away from home, shine blue alongside the rest of the city? It’s a beacon of hope, a reminder that Detroit dreams brighter together."

TOP PHOTO: In recognition of the Detroit Lions' playoff run, Wayne State is lighting up the clock tower atop of the iconic Old Main Building, located at 4841 Cass Avenue, with blue lights.

Faculty spotlight


Matt Lockwood
Phone: 248-622-8060
Email: mlockwood@wayne.edu

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