The Collegiate Way: Residential Colleges & the Renewal of University Life  ‹›


New Programs Come With Remodeling

[Report on the opening of Strong College in Moore-Strong Hall]

By Steve Gilliam, UNCG News Bureau

Greensboro News and Record, 26 October 1994

Students living in Moore-Strong Residence Hall noticed the physical difference in their newly renovated campus home when they moved in this August. But since then, they’ve also gotten a taste of a new residential program that has just been launched in the facility at UNCG.

The residential program at Moore-Strong Hall is being modeled on the undergraduate colleges of institutions such as Harvard, Rice and the University of California at Santa Cruz. Designed to bring students in closer contact with faculty members and the academic life of the campus, it represents a joint planning effort by the UNCG College of Arts and Sciences, the Honors Program and the Office of Residence Life.

Opportunities are being developed for students to participate in lectures, social events and special lunch-hour discussion groups with 20 faculty fellows. There’s even a President’s Tea every Wednesday at 4 p.m., which, in fact, serves tea, along with soft drinks and a chance for students and faculty to rub elbows and get better acquainted.

A rededication ceremony for Moore-Strong will be held at 4 p.m. today with activities on the lawn. Speakers will include UNCG Interim Chancellor Debra W. Stewart; Dr. Laurie L. White, president of the Moore-Strong Community and assistant director of UNCG’s Honors Program; Gina D. Hutchens, president of the Moore-Strong Council, and senior tutor and residence director Dr. Robert J. O’Hara.

Why provide a change from traditional dormitory life? O’Hara says that the idea is for students to enjoy a bit of small college atmosphere while living and studying on one of North Carolina’s larger university campuses. The university is meeting a need for students who seek a more studious, more rigorous college experience. The program is working, he said, noting that several students in the UNCG Honors Program have moved to Moore-Strong, along with students in such pre-professional areas such as pre-medicine and pre-law.

“There are lots of advantages to attending a large university like UNCG—research opportunities with faculty, excellent library facilities, a diverse faculty and student body,” said O’Hara. “But that large size can bring a certain degree of anonymity where a student can feel like a face in the crowd.

“Students want to feel like they belong to the institution and are invested in the life of the campus. What this program is attempting is to create a sense of community, both academic and social, among students and faculty. It has just started this fall, but we feel like it’s starting to make a difference.”

The program is getting started in a residence hall that has had $4,455,000 million in renovations. In the front, a facelift gave the hall an attractive patio area with new entrances which were designed for handicapped access. Porches were placed on the second and third floors.

Inside, the changes provided 10 six-person suites—with two-person and single rooms and bathrooms—in addition to the rooms that were retained on the standard double-loaded corridors. An attractive sunken parlor was created as a student commons area. An elevator was added and space was left for a second one if there is a future need. Six lounge areas also were created along with a kitchen, a laundry room and space for vending machines. Other new items installed were heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, an electrical system, fire alarms, and telephone, cable television and data communication systems. Also added were new furniture, floors, windows and carpeting.

The structure first opened in 1960. It was named in honor of Cornelia Strong, who taught mathematics on the campus from 1905–48, and Mary Taylor Moore, an alumna who was the institution’s registrar from 1909 until her death in 1948. Originally, the residence hall had two wings—divided by fire doors—with one named for each of the women. Today, the new parlor area and hallway renovations have removed those barriers, and the building now houses approximately 270 students.

Some traditions of residential colleges elsewhere in the United States and at Oxford and Cambridge universities in England already are in place at Moore-Strong. The residence hall’s parlor has been named the Junior Common Room. The area designated for faculty fellows is the Senior Common Room. A motto, “Per Aspera Ad Astra,” or “Through Difficulties to the Stars,” is already in place. The motto has been translated visually into a coat of arms—a shield bearing three stars—which also has been rendered in a banner.

Most important to the program are the 20 UNCG faculty members and administrators who have joined as faculty fellows, said White. They range across disciplines which include economics, biology, classical studies, political science, nursing, education, physics and astronomy, English, history, international programs and religious studies.

“Faculty from different disciplines have a chance to get together outside their departments and to get to know students better outside the classroom,” said White. “Everyone seems to be enjoying it and the faculty members have a facility in the hall, the Senior Common Room, where they can come and study or meet with students.”

White and O’Hara say that the program’s components, large and small, will create a sense of community for students and faculty. Weekly newsletters on activities and student news come out of President White’s office and are distributed.

“This kind of residential-academic program may not suit every student but it’s generating a lot of enthusiasm among the students who live here,” said O’Hara.

© Robert J. O’Hara 2000–2021