Happy 80th birthday, Alexander Hall!
Alexander Residence Hall is officially an octogenarian!
Eighty years ago today — Jan. 22, 1940 — Baylor broke ground on Alexander Hall to provide a new home for Baylor students.
At that time, in the throes of the Great Depression, it was quite unusual for a university to take on a major construction project like that. But Baylor was facing the kind of “problem” that many would love to have: it was growing so quickly that it was hard to keep up. In fact, more than 100 deserving female students were turned down for admission in 1939 simply because there was not enough housing to accommodate them. Alexander Hall would solve that problem.
The groundbreaking came amidst concerns from some voices that the poor economic conditions should force the university to build the hall in sections, rather than all at once. Administrators, however, felt losing out on the ability to provide perhaps hundreds or thousands of female students with a Baylor education was a far greater concern. Its namesake, Mrs. Catherine Alexander, agreed.
Though not a Baylor graduate, she provided the lead gift of $350,000 to make the hall a reality. For eight decades now, Alexander Hall has housed students near the southern edge of campus; today, approximately 140 young men live there as part of Baylor’s Honors Residential College. (Honors College women are housed in the adjoining Memorial Hall.)
Soon, Alexander Hall will undergo major renovations as one of Baylor’s Give Light capital projects. The entire hall will be reworked (along the same lines as recent remodelings of Penland, North Russell, South Russell, and Martin). Plans also call for an expanded central location for Honors College faculty and staff, who are currently scattered across campus, as well as classrooms, study spaces and more.
However, just like construction on Alexander Hall couldn’t begin without Catherine Alexander’s gift, renovations cannot begin without fundraising. Once fundraising is complete, plans will be made to take Memorial/Alexander offline so the renovation and construction can take place, with the goal of completing the project within a single school year so that students can begin benefitting from the new space. (Want to help make this renovation a reality? Contact the Office of Advancement at 1-800-229-5678, option 4, to discuss opportunities to support construction.)
Alexander Hall started as a symbol of Baylor’s growth amidst challenging times, and to this day it remains a symbol of Baylor’s commitment to the education of the whole person.
Sic ’em, Alexander Hall!
You might also like:
* What do Baylor residence halls look like today? (Aug. 2019)
* Meet this year’s Baylor Faculty-in-Residence (Aug. 2019)
* Give Light projects: An expanded Memorial & Alexander for the Honors Residential College (April 2019)