Four years of Gilbert Hall memories

Category: 2012 Spring Letters

I was the residence hall director at Gilbert Hall from 1973 through 1976, so its picture on the last page of Northern Now caught my eye. At that time, Gilbert Hall became one of the first residence halls at NIU to offer coed floors in addition to the “new” music floor. If I remember correctly, the addition of women to Gilbert Hall was to “soften and upgrade” its reputation as an all-male dorm. Gilbert Hall’s unique atmosphere provided wonderful opportunities for students and staff as well as its reputation for being “a real home-away-from-home.” I still smile when I look at my pictures of Gilbert Hall’s participation in Homecoming float building and parades; Halloween dances and Christmas door decorations; floor pizza parties and staff meetings.

I’ve lived in Texas since 1976 but Gilbert Hall still has a special place in my heart. I’m happy to see it returning to its original intent as a residence hall. If there is ever a “Student Affairs” reunion from the 1970s, I’d love to attend because I also worked as a graduate resident advisor in the Grant Towers. It would be fun to share “dorm” pictures from the 1970s.

—Donna Zelisko Smith McLaughlin, ’70, M.S.Ed. ’73