Jean Hower Taber Student Union

The Jean Hower Taber Student Union is a 192,500 square feet blended-use facility located in the heart of The University of Akron campus. Constructed in 2004, the building was renamed The Jean Hower Taber Student Union in 2018 to honor Taber’s longtime volunteerism, philanthropy and dedication to the University.

The Jean Hower Taber Union serves as a hub of resources for students, faculty, staff and many others, while doubling as an event and conference space for both internal and external clients. The Jean Hower Taber Student Union is operated by the Department of Student Life.

Who is Jean Hower Taber? 

Jean Hower Taber was a community volunteer and philanthropist who served on the Hower House Board of Trustees.

She was the great granddaughter of John H. Hower, one of the founders of the Quaker Oats Company and the builder of the 1871 Victorian mansion, Hower House–which was gifted to The University of Akron in 1973 by Taber’s father, John B. Hower.

Taber graduated from Colby Sawyer Junior College in 1943. She married Benjamin C. Taber, a Cleveland lawyer. 

A member of The University of Akron Foundation Board of Directors from 1986 to 1992, Taber was involved in a variety of volunteer work and philanthropy throughout Northeast Ohio. Among the organizations that benefited from her time and support are the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, the Cleveland Historical Society, the Cleveland Zoo Society, the Geauga Park District and the Therapeutic Riding Center Foundation.

She served on the steering committee for the University’s Heritage and Vision Capital Campaign, and was a member of the Classical Studies/Archaeology/Anthropology Advisory Board.

Taber was honored for her tireless efforts on behalf of the community and higher education by the University in 2004 when she was awarded an honorary doctorate.

Over her lifetime, Taber’s gifts to The University of Akron exceeded $7.5 million. They were given in support of Hower House and its grounds, student scholarships, and academic and athletic programs. In 2017, former University of Akron President Matthew J. Wilson announced the pending receipt of the largest gift in University history—more than $20 million from Taber's estate.

About two-thirds of the gift supports scholarships for honors students and students in audiology. The remainder will underwrite maintenance for UA’s Hower House—the Hower family mansion offering exhibits and programs to the public—and programming supporting the University’s mission.


The Jean Hower Taber Student Union is home to:

  • 1,856,645 visitors per year
  • 6,789 events and meeting per year
  • 12,889 students involved in 330 registered student organizations
  • More than 20 areas and departments, such as the Career Center and Department of Student Life