Alumni bid farewell to Douglas Hall


Alumnus Brian Lanners, of Carol Stream, 30, shares memories of when he lived in Douglas Hall, Sunday afternoon at the Douglas Hall farewell event in the Douglas Hall Cafeteria. Douglas Hall will be deconstructed in the summer.

By Shikha Duttyal

Alumni, staff, faculty and residents of Douglas Hall were invited to its final closing and farewell ceremony Sunday.

More than 70 people came for the ceremony, which took place at the Douglas Hall A/B cafeteria. A final gathering of former and current residents of Douglas Hall scribbled in scrapbooks, toured the hall and had dinner.

Scrapbooks, which will be donated and stored in the NIU Archives, were available for people to write down memories of their time in Douglas Hall.

Douglas Hall will be deconstructed this summer to extend Lucinda Avenue with the objective of creating a 10-minute walkable campus. The residence hall was opened more than 50 years ago. The Board of Trustees approved the extension of Lucinda Avenue and therefore the deconstruction of Douglas at its March 27 meeting.

Residence hall director John Cheney started organizing the ceremony a month in advance. Cheney said many alumni were interested in attending.

“It is the one last get-together to use the space and have fun,” Cheney said. “The alumni involvement has made it a larger event than we thought.”

University Marketing director Brad Hoey lived in Douglas from 1980 to 1982.

“Back in those days we had to stand in a long line of two hours to check in for the rooms,” Hoey said. “If I wouldn’t have stood in line, I wouldn’t have had the five best friends of my life.”

Hoey said he was sad to see Douglas deconstructed, but it provides a beginning for other on-campus residence halls.

Others reminisced and talked about how they had met friends and spouses at the hall.

“I have lots of good memories. Other than meeting my wife, I would put on events, hang out on the floor,” said Brian Lanners, community adviser and resident of Douglas from 2004 to 2006. “We have a 2-year-old at home. We won’t be able to bring him here now and show him the hall anymore.”

Tours allowed alumni to have a last look at the rooms they used to live in. The ceremony concluded with an open mic session where people shared their life in Douglas.

“Douglas staff has done an amazing job making it a home away from home residence,” Cheney said.