Small Houses

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1956 Sorority Hill houses constructed
1958-59 Four West houses constructed
1958 Two north houses constructed
1959-61 Four Central houses constructed
1960 Three East houses constructed
1961 Four South houses constructed


Small Houses are the brick residential units that appear throughout campus.  Commonly referred to as dorms, yet considerably smaller in size and number of residents (anywhere between 35-48 people), the houses were built during the late-1950s and early-1960s to appease the burgeoning student population.

In their early years, many were on-campus homes to university social groups that lived together to promote a sense of collaboration.  These social groups later morphed into nationally-recognized sororities and fraternities – some choosing to remain on campus while others have relocated off-campus or disbanded altogether. On occasion some buildings have temporarily housed specific groups of students (e.g. athletes, ROTC, or the Bearkat Learning Community), or university offices during transitional periods (such as Residence Life, the University Police Department, and Research and Special Programs).

Today most houses are open to any upperclassmen, though four remain dedicated solely for sorority use.

Geographic Grouping

Over the years, the Department of Residence Life has given groups of houses different designations based on their geographic location, such as:

These designations seem nothing more than verbal short-hand: itís easier to identify a building by its general area then trying to remember its proper name, actual location, or current occupant.

Honorary Names

The people that most of these residences honor run the gamut of university departments and disciplines.  It was speculated that a survey was circulated around campus in the late 1950s/early 1960s asking each department to identify someone within their section to honor on student housing, à la small houses (and, presumably, the Departmental Dorms).

This is apparently why you'll find houses honoring an instructor from the 1920s (Hathorn), a dean from the 50s (Creager), a former university president (Mallon), the owner of a SHNI-era boarding house (Mitchell), a former First Lady of the United States (Jackson), and even an elusive member of the library staff (Gidley).

As of 2022...

Because most small houses are situated on prime campus real estate it is kittle surprise that campus master plans regularly call for their demolition. 4 of the original 25 small houses still exist on campus, all used for general housing.

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