The Student Centers is a multi-faceted office that promotes a sense of community on campus by managing multiple student life spaces, overseeing the student-run coffee shop program, and employment of over 100 students.
The Student Centers oversees the following spaces on campus:
- Ida Noyes Hall
- Reynolds Club
- Mandel Hall
- Bartlett Hall, 1st floor
- Harper and Stuart Classrooms for co-curricular use
- Cobb, Ex Libris, Hallowed Grounds, and Harper student-run coffee shops
- The Pub
Through this broad offering of locations, programs, and services, the Student Centers provides opportunities for all campus communities to engage in life at the University of Chicago. We look forward to working with your group this year to create and maintain a vibrant community at the University of Chicago!
History of Ida Noyes Hall
Nestled at 1212 E. 59th Street on the captivating campus of the University of Chicago, Ida Noyes Hall stands as an enduring testament to both the university’s rich history and its commitment to fostering intellectual and social engagement. Originally conceived as a women’s gymnasium and social center, this 82,000 square-foot architectural marvel has evolved over the years into a dynamic hub for a diverse range of events, both grand and intimate, catering to the University community’s needs. At its core, Ida Noyes Hall remains dedicated to serving student organizations and University departments, offering a myriad of facilities and services. While the building’s physical landscape has transformed, from the gymnasium’s conversion into the Max Palevsky Cinema in 1987 to its continued role as a vital social nucleus, the echoes of its storied past persist in its oak wainscoting, gessoed ceilings, and meticulously crafted ironwork.
As we step back in time to its grand opening in June 1916, where the “Masque of Youth” came to life in the murals of the second-floor theater, and explore its dining rooms, club meeting spaces, ballroom, and athletic facilities, including the gymnasium, swimming pool, and the WAA’s trophy room, we uncover a vibrant history. Yet, Ida Noyes Hall’s significance extends beyond gender-segregated spaces; it has always been a place where the University community converged for public lectures, club meetings, and social gatherings, fostering a sense of intellectual and communal unity.
History of Reynolds Club
Nestled on the southwest corner of 5706 South University Avenue, The Reynolds Club, originally known as The Tower Group, stands as a testament to the University of Chicago’s rich history and the generosity of its benefactors. In 1895, Mrs. Joseph Reynolds made a generous donation in memory of her late husband, a contribution that gave rise to this remarkable institution. The pressing need for a University Commons, as advocated by Mr. Hutchinson, led to the establishment of what is now the Reynolds Club. Mr. McCormick’s contribution found its place in the Commons Cafe, now home to Hallowed Grounds Coffee Shop. Originally designed exclusively for male students, it served as a gathering place for meals and camaraderie.
Mr. Mandel’s vision extended to the construction of an Assembly hall and a pipe organ, which materialized as Mandel Hall, intricately connected to The Reynolds Club at 5700 South University Avenue. The building also boasts the John J. Mitchell Bell Tower, a stunning homage to Oxford University’s Magdalen College Tower, generously supported by Mr. Mitchell.
Within The Reynolds Club, Hutchinson Commons, meticulously modeled after Christ Church’s Dining Hall, has served various purposes over the years. Hutchinson Commons historically hosted presidential receptions, convocation dinners, alumni banquets, football feasts, and numerous social gatheringstoday. Today, it serves as both a dining hall and a comfortable lounge space.