Kittredge Hall opened in 1942 as the student hub of the College of Puget Sound. For eighteen years it housed student dining services (with soda fountain), the bookstore, sorority chapter houses, yearbook and newspaper offices, Y.M.C.A. and Y.W.C.A. rooms, and the Dean of Women Students, as well as providing a home to Army Specialized Training Program soldiers for three months in 1942-1943. When the new Student Union Building was constructed in 1959 to accommodate burgeoning enrollment, Kittredge Hall became the home of the Art Department in 1960. Clearly, Kittredge Hall has a rich and layered history!
To celebrate the vital life and history of this central structure on the Puget Sound campus, a series of events were organized over the 2015-2017 academic years to commemorate both the early years of Kittredge Hall as the Student Union and the fifty-seven years as the Art Department (now Department of Art and Art History) with Kittredge Gallery. Since 1942, Kittredge Hall has been a rich space of memory for Puget Sound students, the campus community, and broader Tacoma community. All of these groups were well represented in events detailed below that celebrated staff contributions to the history of our institution, welcomed hundreds of students and alumni who were able to reunite with old friends and to return to a site important in their liberal arts undergraduate education, and a wide range of community members who attended public talks and exhibitions.
Professor of Art History, Linda Williams, coordinated the 75th Anniversary events. Student assistants Kyla Dierking ’17 and Lianna Hamby ’17 facilitated the receptions, organizing, promoting, and providing historical tours; we thank them very much for their engaged and positive support. Many thanks to John Finney for initially suggesting the celebration and for his historical excavations that produced several articles in the Puget Sound Arches Magazine related to Kittredge Hall. Kittredge Hall 75th Anniversary events were funded by the Department of Art and Art History Tilley Fund and a Chism grant from the Office of the Academic Dean.