From Generation to Generation: Student Homes on Campus

Holcomb Hall Dedication, Connecticut Agricultural College. (Archives & Special Collections, UConn Library)
The dedication of Holcomb Hall, the first brick dormitory for women, in 1922. Each step in the evolution of the school's mission and each successive growth in enrollment has sparked a need for new student housing. (Archives & Special Collections, UConn Library)

The evolution of the University of Connecticut can be told through the history of residence halls on the Storrs campus.

From the single, wood frame building that housed the first dozen male students, to the brick-built eight-story NextGen Hall, each step in the development of the school’s mission and each successive growth in enrollment has sparked a need for new student housing.

Shortly after its inception, the admission of women required separate accommodations; and as the future of the Storrs Agricultural School became more certain around the turn of the 20th century, brick dormitories began to be built.

World Wars I and II brought changes in the student population that were reflected in additional or re-assigned dormitories to accommodate the influx of women even as the male population decreased. The post-war era of the late 1940s and early 1950s led to a construction boom, as veterans flocked to campus for a college education under the GI Bill. Another wave of construction to accommodate the baby boom generation occurred in the 1960s.

In 1998 a residence complex, South Campus, was constructed, with some of its funding drawn from UConn 2000, the 10-year, $1 billion state-supported program to rebuild and renovate UConn’s infrastructure that was inspired by an ambitious plan to elevate the University to world-class status. With its Collegiate Gothic-style buildings similar to some of UConn’s older buildings, South Campus was a symbol of the University’s renaissance.

Then, in 2013, the state General Assembly passed legislation known as Next Generation Connecticut to expand UConn’s programs in STEM fields (science, technology, engineering, and math), increase enrollment, and help build Connecticut’s future workforce. As a result of that initiative and in keeping with its aspirations, this week UConn opened the doors of the magnificent new NextGen Hall for more than 700 students. Its layout includes not only space for social events, but for learning and innovation, too.

Over time some residences have been converted into administrative and teaching space, and some no longer exist. But many continue to provide homes to generations of students living on campus. Photos, both archival and more recent, tell the story of UConn’s residence halls.

Sources: Various articles by Mark J. Roy and Richard Veilleux from the UConn Advance
Connecticut Agricultural College – A History,
by Walter Stemmons (1931)
What’s in a Name? A Fact Book About Residence Halls at UConn, by Carmen L. Vance (1998)
University of Connecticut, by Mark J. Roy (2001)
Red Brick in the Land of Steady Habits: Creating the University of Connecticut, 1881-2006, by Bruce M. Stave (2006)