The building that served most recently as the Alumni House (and was named as such) was constructed in 1906 as a home for the Superintendent of Buildings and Grounds. Funds for this building project, $6,800, came from a statewide millage tax whose proceeds were required to be used only for constructing buildings. The 36' x 42' building is located north of Lang Hall near West 23rd Street. It is just across the street from the University Book and Supply store.
The first Superintendent to occupy the house was James E. Robinson, who also designed it. Mr. Robinson occupied the house from 1907 until he retired from his position in 1931. His successor, E. E. Cole, lived in the house from 1931 until 1953. Mr. Cole paid a rent of $50 per month.
In 1953, after Mr. Cole moved into his own residence, the Superintendent's House was remodeled for use by the Department of Home Economics. That department used the building from 1953 to 1984 as the Home Economics Laboratory. Students registered for a course entitled "Home Management House" and lived in the house for part of a semester. During this time, the building came to be called the Home Management House.
In a 1977 Northern Iowan article, Professor Barbara Pershing, then Director of the House, described the program as a laboratory for future vocational home economics teachers. Three to eight women lived in the house for nine weeks and shared housekeeping responsibilities. In November 1984, a closing sale was held to clear the furnishings from the home and prepare it for upcoming renovations.
In May 1985, after renovations were completed, the Office of Development and the UNI Foundation moved into the building, which was renamed the Development House. Those two offices remained in the building until spring 1994, when they moved to the Commons.
After renovations and life safety improvements to the building, UNI's International Services became the new residents of the house. On October 1, 1997, International Services, along with the Admissions Office, held an open house to celebrate their new center, appropriately named the International Services Center.
In 2005 International Services moved out of the building. In September 2005 the Office of Alumni Relations and the UNI Alumni Association moved into the building, which then came to be known as the Alumni House. The front porch of the building, which had fallen into a bad state of repair, was replaced. The lower level was redecorated with new furniture, blinds, and carpet. According to Associate Director of Alumni Relations Amy Mohr, the Office of Alumni Relations and the Alumni Association are "responsible for maintaining alumni contact information for the university and offering programs and services to students, alumni, and members of the Alumni Association that help connect them to the life of the university." The Connecting Alumni to Students (CATS) group and TC (The Cat) also found a home in the Alumni House. Again according to Amy Mohr, the CATS group serves as the "traditions keepers of UNI, coordinate our student outreach, and serve as the host for all alumni events on campus."
The building was most recently used as a call center for Alumni Relations, until that function moved to an accessible space on campus in the fall 2022 semester.
Originally compiled by Library Assistant Susan Basye, April 1998; modified by University Archivist Gerald L. Peterson; photos updated and citations added by Student Assistant Nicholas Steffens, October 29, 2021; updated by Jaycie Vos, Feb 2023.
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