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Inside Iowa State, a newspaper for faculty and staff, is published by the Office of University Relations.

Feb. 15, 2008

Alumni Hall

Looking north from Lincoln Highway at a windowless Alumni Hall, circa 1906. The building took three years to complete; construction ran from 1904 to 1907. Beardshear Hall also was under construction at this time. Photo courtesy of University Archives, ISU Library.

It's a functional name: Enrollment Services Center

by Annette Hacker, News Service

An influential building that has served many purposes on campus will have a new name this August. Alumni Hall will be renamed Enrollment Services Center.

Alumni Hall has graced the south side of the ISU campus since 1907. It currently houses the offices of the Registrar and Admissions, and for that reason many students view it as the "front door" to the university.

Alumni Hall is the building in which students begin and end their academic adventures at Iowa State. All admissions applications flow through the building, and it's one of the final stops for students to drop off their graduation applications and pick up their diplomas.

Those milestones still will happen there, said Kathy Jones, assistant vice president for enrollment services and registrar. Only the name of the building will change.

"The name 'Alumni Hall' hasn't accurately described the function of the building for many years now," Jones said. "But primarily, we are planning ahead to avoid confusion between Alumni Hall and the new Alumni Center."

The $10.7 million Alumni Center on Beach Avenue, slated for completion in June, will be home to the ISU Alumni Association.

University officials say customer service and safety are the primary reasons it's important for the two buildings to have distinctly different names.

"We want to make sure people get to the correct building -- especially since prospective students and their families may be unfamiliar with campus. But we also want to avoid confusion for essential city services such as police and fire. When you have two buildings with similar names a few blocks apart, getting locations mixed up is a very real possibility," Jones added.

Jones said campus maps and informational materials used by the Office of Admissions already are being updated to reflect the change.

The soon-to-be Enrollment Services Center building has been on the National Register of Historic Places since 1966. Until the mid-1980s, it was owned by the Alumni Hall Corp. board of directors. In 1986, the Board of Regents, State of Iowa, gave Iowa State permission to acquire the building and renovate it for its current use as an enrollment services complex.


Did you know?

Alumni Hall has had a colorful history:

  • The cornerstone for Alumni Hall was laid in 1904, but the building was not completed until September 1907. Alumni pledges were slow to come in, and the building was an empty shell with a roof for two winters. LaVerne Noyes (the alumnus for whom Lake LaVerne is named) agreed to fund the remainder of the construction so the building could be completed.
  • Until 1914, Alumni Hall housed the only swimming pool on campus. The pool, a cafe and bowling alley were in the basement. After the opening of State Gym in 1914, the Alumni Hall pool was replaced with a larger dining room. An addition to the south also was built at that time to accommodate a larger kitchen.
  • Alumni Hall was home to a dining hall called the "College Inn," which flourished in the early 1920s. After the opening of the Memorial Union in 1928, the College Inn was replaced with additional study rooms and offices.
  • The ISU Alumni Association established a professional staff in 1914 and was housed in Alumni Hall. The organization moved to the Memorial Union in 1928.
  • From 1944 (end of WWII) through the mid-1980s, Alumni Hall was an independent men's residence. The YMCA and YWCA also had offices there.