Memory Lane: Dorm life at the University of Illinois

dorm life (1967 photo courtesy of UI Archives)
Residence halls act as a home away from home for college students as they navigate their campus lives. Here’s a look at Illinois’ dormitories over the years, from bedrooms to lounge areas to on-site eateries.

Today known as Clark, Lundgren and Barton Halls, Fourth Street Residence Halls became the first all-male dormitories on the Illinois campus when they opened in 1941. Prior to their construction, male students traditionally lived in fraternities and local rooming houses.

dorm life

(1960s photo courtesy of UI Archives)

Gregory-Peabody Residence Halls opened in 1958 as a men’s dormitory. Astronaut Dale Gardner, ’70 eng, and Mannie Jackson, ’60 ahs, one of the men’s basketball team’s first African American letter winners and starters, are among the former residents. The halls now are called the Stanley O. Ikenberry Commons.

dorm life

(1950s photo courtesy of UI Archives)

Lincoln Avenue Residence Halls opened in 1949 for women, but today accommodate both genders. LAR featured high ceilings, spacious rooms, a grand piano in the main lounge, and a dining hall and snack bar. Famed local chef Jean-Louis Ledent, who owned the former French eatery Chef Jean-Louis Restaurant in Urbana, served as LAR’s head chef in 2003.

dorm life

(1942 photo courtesy of UI Archives

Busey-Evans Residence Halls were Illinois’ first dorms when they opened in 1916. Available only to women, they originally were called the Women’s Residence Halls, but quickly were renamed for Illinois’ Board of Trustees Mary E. Busey and Laura B. Evans, who helped secure U of I campus housing for women.

dorm life

(1982 photo courtesy of UI Archives

A state-of-the-art facility for students with physical disabilities, Beckwith Hall opened in 1981 on the corner of Second and John streets, thanks to the UI Division of Disability Resources and Educational Services. In Fall 2010, students as well as the disability program for campus residents (Beckwith Residential Support Services) relocated to the first floor of Timothy J. Nugent Hall.