Memories of Southside shared as halls are closed

Memories of Southside shared as halls are closed

After more than 50 years as a home to thousands of Illinois State University students, four residence halls and a dining center in South Campus will be decommissioned this August.

Changes in Illinois fire codes mandated substantial investments be made to bring Atkin-Colby and Hamilton-Whitten up to standards by 2013. The University’s administrators opted to invest in a new complex at Cardinal Court to better meet the needs of students, resulting in the closure of the four residence halls.

Hamilton and Whitten halls opened in September of 1960. President Robert Bone led the faculty in carrying in the furniture. Hamilton Hall was named after Alma Mary Hamilton, an assistant professor of English, who was also the first recipient of an Illinois State Normal University bachelor’s degree. Whitten Hall was named after Jennie Alma Whitten, head of Foreign Languages from 1919 to 1959.

The Feeney Dining Center, named after former assistant dean and residence hall director Mae Warren Feeney, opened at the same time as Hamilton-Whitten.

Atkin and Colby halls opened in September of 1962. Atkin Hall was named after Edith Irene Atkin, a distinguished math teacher. Colby Hall honored literature professor June Rose Colby.

The University is working to gather memories from the five decades the residence halls were in use. Do you have a story from living in Southside or working in the dining center? Share it by going to