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In 1957, 1400 acres of property originally owned by auto pioneer John F. Dodge is donated to Michigan State University-Oakland (Oakland University's name at the time) by his widow Matilda Dodge Wilson, retaining only a small plot of property for herself and her new husband, Alfred WIlson. the festival is named in honor of her former estate. Then in 1963 founding chairperson of Oakland Universtiy's department of music, Dr. Walter S. Collins poses the idea of a summer music festival to bring the public to see the school's beautiful campus. On February 29, 1964, ground is broken for the new festival, built to be the summer home for the Detroit Symphony Orchestra. Designed by O'Dell, Hewlett, Luckenbach Associates of Birmingham and built by the J.A. Friedman Company of Pontiac, with money donated from the Kresge Foundation, the pavilion is completed in time for the Festival's opening on July 23. The Howard C. Baldwin Memorial Pavilion took advantage of Rochester School's loan of 2000 folding chairs to seat its patrons for its early shows.