Hamilton-Whitten and Atkin-Colby residence halls and the Feeney Dining Center were decommissioned in summer 2012, after 50-plus years in service to Illinois State University.
To mark the occasion, we asked for your memories of life on Illinois State’s South Campus, and you delivered. We got back dozens and dozens of personal stories about Southside – from finding love and long-lasting friendships, to sliding down the bannisters from top to bottom.
Here are some of the best submissions. And don’t forget: We’ll be collecting memories throughout 2013 as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Alumni Association.
Top floor friends
Lisa (Landl) Scherer ’77
“My very first day on campus (August 1979) after my parents left, I went to the basement of Atkin-Colby to check things out. I was shy and nervous about finding my way around. I met another girl there who felt the same way I did and we became friends. Being night owls and living on the 10th floor at the very end of the hall allowed us to go up to the 11th floor after-hours to study, make popcorn, share dreams and make what are now very fond memories. Fast forward 33 years later, you will find we are still best friends who met in the basement of Atkin-Colby and dreamed up on the top floor! I will be sad to see our dorm close and I am sure we will make a trek back to ISU to have a final, fond farewell memory.”
Megan (Thome) ’06 and Derek Eskew
“I met my husband while living in Atkin Hall, and when we got engaged, he set up a scavenger hunt for me all through campus, leading back to my room where he was waiting with my ring! We will always remember Southside with fond memories of love, friends, and late-night movie sessions.”
Pete Schulte ’80
“Living in Hamilton-Whitten on the sixth floor, it was an easy trip down to the first floor. The stairwells had continuous bannisters from top to bottom of the building (now probably part of the fire code problem). It was possible to slide down the bannisters, going around corners all the way.”
Lisa (Dickson) Pena ’96
“I lived in Hamilton-Whitten for two years, from 1994-96. One of my most vivid memories is from the day the Cubs won the pennant. My roommate and I were sitting in our room doing our homework and we heard this roaring sound coming from outside. We looked out our window and saw that there were hundreds of ISU students walking through the quad cheering! It made the paper the next day. I loved living there. It was in such a great location and being right across the street from Avanti’s was definitely a bonus!”
Carol Sue (White) Bufka ’65
“I was an incoming freshman in September 1960, the first class to live at Hamilton-Whitten. Because the rooms on the first floor were not finished by the time classes started, those of us assigned to that floor spent our first three weeks living in the infirmary! That’s where I learned some valuable laundry lessons: how to iron using a hospital table as the ironing board and not to wash my white towels with my roommate’s navy blue skirt. The experience of living in such an unusual space helped us to bond and become very close friends in a short time. All in all, it was a great start to four wonderful years at Illinois State!”
Rita (Meeske) Hensley ’70
“Coming to ISU in 1965 was a big adventure for me. I lived on the third floor of Whitten for my first two years. Great friendships were started that are still going strong today. I met my husband, John, while living in Whitten Hall. Oh how I remember those revolving doors as curfew time approached. It was a crazy last-minute dash to get inside! I have a lot of great memories that were created while I was living in Whitten Hall.”
Starting a fire
Betty (Mitchell) ’75 and Leon Savage
“I lived in first-floor Atkin during my freshman and sophomore years at Illinois State. In the spring of 1971, I had decided to allow my perm to grow out so I could wear an Afro. I was wearing a wig during that process. I left my wig on a Styrofoam wig stand under the hairdryer while I went to take a shower. When I returned, there was black smoke pouring out of my room. The dorm was evacuated and I was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. It was not really a fire, but the wig stand melting. There was a blurb in The Pantagraph. They boarded up my room I was moved to the suite for the remainder of the term.
Good times in 229
Mike Miserendino ’76
“I lived in Whitten 229 for three years, from 2003-06. I have many memories of doing homework late at night, practicing my theatre and musical numbers in the second-floor lounge and in the basement, having a great view of the mini-quad between Walker, Dunn, and Barton, eating the best dining food on campus at Feeney, and, of course, the late-night Subway cravings. I also loved cramming 23 people into my dorm room during the 2007 postseason Cubs vs. Marlins game for the Steve Bartman incident. I then proceeded to dress up like Bartman for Halloween that year, ran around the Quad, and stole baseballs and footballs while people played catch on the Quad. Good times in Whitten 229!”
Fresh and modern
Katherine (Beeson) Hurst ’64
“In September 1960 Hamilton-Whitten Halls first opened. That was when I began my freshman year at ISNU and moved into 909 Hamilton Hall. Everything was new and fresh and seemed ultra-modern for 1960. However, by current standards, life was pretty primitive. There was no television in the building and only two telephones per floor. Of course, there were no computers and no one had microwaves or refrigerators in their rooms. Our parents could rest easy back home. In those days no “men” lived in the building, and none were allowed above the first floor. Curfew was 10 p.m. weeknights and midnight on weekends. A few minutes after curfew honor residents checked to make sure we were safely in for the night and enforced quiet hours. On Saturday mornings the HRs inspected our rooms to see that they were clean and tidy. Some girls felt they had been sent to prison, but Hamilton Hall was really a great place to kick off our college years.”
Getting a workout
Gayle (Lorenz) Morrell ’75
“I lived on the sixth floor of Whitten, for the 1971-72 and 1972-73 school years. My good friend from high school, Doreen K., and I lived right across from the laundry room. (I can’t remember the room number.) It was the best room to have, since we didn’t have to haul our laundry down the hall and we could stay comfy in our room waiting to change the loads. Living on the sixth floor inspired me to walk the steps, several times a day, for exercise. Since there were two flights of steps between each floor, my legs really got a workout. I also worked at Whitten’s reception desk for most of the same two years. I remember checking out cookware for the students to use in the basement kitchen, and albums for playing in their rooms. I used to like to sort mail into the boxes, except when free soap/detergent packets broke open and made a smelly mess. I remember being at the reception desk the night the dorm director – I can’t remember her name – the night she showed a stag movie to an all-girl audience. I think there was some “fallout” after that. I’m going to miss the “Virgin Towers” when I visit ISU next.”
More than a job
Terry Molloy ’81
“I worked at Feeney Cafeteria from fall 1977 though graduation in May 1981. My primary jobs were always on the morning shift – first as the deep fryer cleaner three days per week under Head Chef d’Cuisine Ray Schildt, then on to “cooks help” every morning, and finally as dish room captain for the last two years. In the dish room during those early morning shifts, I always had two pots of coffee heating on a burner – one for me, the other for everyone else. I also volunteered for the Saturday evening dish captain shifts, where I had a different treat available; those who worked those shifts will remember what it was. Let’s just say that it was nice having an ice machine downstairs. I met a lot of great people while working at Feeney, from student coworkers, to the Civil Service – George, Frank, and Jean-Jean-The-Cooking-Machine, and administrators Ray, Marge, and Debbie G. The time I spent at Feeney was more than a job; it was a very memorable part of my experience at ISU.
Being the ‘Condiment Girl’
Sheila (Hassler) Scruggs ’71
“I lived in Hamilton Hall my freshman year, 1967-68. I also worked in the cafeteria the same year. The first semester, I lived in one of the quad rooms at the end of the hall, sharing the space with three other freshmen. Needless to say, there was little privacy or even personal space, as my bed slid under another bed or sat out in the middle of the room. But it was fun, and certainly a new experience. The spring semester, one of my quad-mates and I moved to a double room on the same floor, after it became available. Much better living conditions! The cafeteria was really interesting. I was the “Condiment Girl” the first semester, with the responsibility of setting up four condiment stations around the cafeteria. This meant putting out peanut butter, jelly, cottage cheese, and peaches by the gallons daily, or chopping up heads of lettuce or whatever was needed as a condiment for the menu that day. I had to scoop the peanut butter, jelly, and cottage cheese from 5-gallon containers into serving dishes and then replenish it as it was eaten. I didn’t like eating cottage cheese before this experience, but after smelling gallons of it five times a week, I learned to eat it with fruit and to this day, eat cottage cheese most days for lunch! The spring semester found me washing dishes downstairs during lunch time. Before the dirty dishes went through the dishwasher, we used a water sprayer, hanging from the ceiling, to rinse off the food. Did you know that when uneaten Cream of Wheat sits in a bowl for a couple of hours, it congeals into a big “hockey puck?” Fun times in the dish room!”
Do you want to share your own memories? Post in the Comments below!