Summer 2012: Remembering Harper Center

Look back on the history of Staley, Moffitt and Harden Dining halls as we say goodbye to Harper Center.

In this 1971 photo, facing north from Alamance Building, you can see the distance between Harper Center (upper left of frame) and main campus.

Click here to see a slide show of Harper Center, 1968-2012

Harden Dining Hall may have been the place where you ate lunch on your first campus visit. Moffitt may have been where you met your freshman roommate – and eventual best friend – on move-in day. Staley may have been the place you stayed up all night long, cramming for fall semester finals with your hallmates.

On Thursday, June 21, work crews began demolition of the dormitory/dining complex, making way for construction on the new Global Neighborhood living/learning community.

When Harper Center opened its doors in 1968, acres of empty land stood between the buildings and their closest neighbor – the Jordan Gym recreational building. It’d be a decade before Story Center (Colclough, Chandler and Maynard Halls), Jordan Center and the Center for the Arts joined Harper Center on the north side of campus, and still another decade before Loy Center, Moseley Center and Belk Library created the landscape we’re familiar with today.

To honor three former Elon presidents and an influential local philanthropist, Elon built Harper Center to house 200 women in Staley and 100 men in Moffitt. Administrators called the dormitories a “commodious, attractive architectural addition to the college plant,” wrote Elon historian and alumnus Durward Turrentine Stokes in his book, Elon College: Its History and Traditions.

In addition to feeding generations of students, Harden Dining Hall also hosted events such as the 2003 Elon vs. Wake Forest Battle of the Chefs.

The board of trustees, according to archival documents, hailed Harden Dining Hall as “one of the nicest to be found on any college campus” at the time. Among its distinctions, Harper Center became home to Moffitt-based WSOE 89.3 in 1977 – the first radio station to broadcast live from campus since the 1923 fire.

We invite alumni, faculty and staff to share photos and memories of Harper Center with Elon University and the Elon Alumni Association on Facebook.