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

4 thoughts on “Memories of Southside shared as halls are closed

  1. Michelle says:

    I’ll never forget my roommate and me adding a final word to the mural on the wall on Whitten-9: “Friendship is a rainbow between two hearts, Man”. Was it grafitti? Maybe –but I wonder if anyone ever noticed : )

  2. Mel Vineyard says:

    To all.

    Sorry to hear about the closing of the A-C and Ham-Whit. They were groundbreaking and were among the first high-rise dormitorys ever built. In 1965 i lived in Walker Hall across the street from them. It was always interesting to see the women at night rush to get back to dorm before the doors were locked (about 10PM).

    During summer school of 1966 and 1967 I was fortunate to stay in Ham-Whit on the 10th floor. It was a great view, especially during thunderstorms.

    I do hope these buildings can be re-purposed into something constructive for ISU.

    Best wishes to all,

    Mel Vineyard
    Class of ’69

  3. Denise (Naden) Patterson says:

    I’ll never forget our mural on our wall of Kermit the Frog singing to Miss Piggy in Atkin-Colby. The view was great from the huge windows and if I ever needed quiet for studying, the lounge between Atkin and Colby on each floor was awesome. I hope Cardinal Court serves ISU needs like Atkin-Colby did when I was there. Good luck, Denise (Naden) Patterson ’81

  4. dale dupree says:

    I just remembered the guys in my Air Force squad always talking about the football program, I mean they could never stop talking.