For alumni who attended the College anytime between the mid 1950s until the late 1980s, the name Phelps Hall likely evokes images of a sprawling, one-story building in the center of campus that, at various times, housed dining halls, the Rhodora Theater (aka “The Pub”), and student and residence life offices. But for a new generation of alumni, Phelps Hall—and its adjacent twin, William H. Hausdoerffer Hall—will be known as magnificent, three-story residence halls.
The new buildings are scheduled to open their doors to upper class students for the start of the fall semester. Inside each building are five-person suites featuring three single bedrooms, one double bedroom, a communal living space, and kitchen. Additionally, both Phelps and Hausdoerffer offer a laundry/lounge, a large multipurpose room, a graduate apartment, and a professional apartment.
The original Phelps Hall, named after the first principal of what was then known as the New Jersey State Normal School, was demolished in 1989 to make room for Community Commons (later renamed Eickhoff Hall). The Board of Trustees resolution approving the naming of the new Phelps Hall indicates that the original building of this name “held great significance for our alumni population as it was a social hub of campus life for many years.” To honor that memory, as well as the man who “shaped the College’s mission and guiding principles in ways that have impacted the students of every generation that has been educated at the institution,” the College decided to resurrect the name Phelps Hall for the apartment building that stands closest to the Soccer Complex.
The other building’s namesake, William H. Hausdoerffer, graduated from the College in 1936 and served at his alma mater for three decades as a professor, department chair, dean, and in other administrative roles. He and his wife, Rosemary Canning Hausdoerffer ’52, remain active and supportive alumni of the College.