In Brief

Sugaring Time Again; Former President Writes Autobiography; Alum Signs with Baseball Team; News from the Nursing and Business Administration Departments and more.

Making Their Mark

Learn about how our community members engage in writing, presentations and exhibitions.

Past as Prologue

Explore Haystack, a portal to the history of Colby-Sawyer College.

Colby-Sawyer Courier

Keep up with campus news from students' perspectives through the Colby-Sawyer Courier.


This new literary magazine features creative writing in many genres by current students and alumni, faculty and staff, and a few friends and partners.


Find out what Colby-Sawyer alumni have been up to since graduation.

Currents: where we live now

Colby-Sawyer's Distinctive Residence Halls

Colby-Sawyer's 11 residence halls are, physically, socially and educationally, an immense part of the college campus. The Georgian-style architecture is visually appealing; first-time visitors to the college, including prospective students, are immediately drawn to it. But each residence hall is also a home and a neighborhood with its own distinct personality. Below is our campus correspondent Larissa Dillman's quick survey.

Colby Hall Colby Hall.

Colby and Austin: A History of Changes

The original Colby Hall, named for the Colby family, who were very involved with the college since it was established, was built as the New London Town Meeting House. Purchased at auction by Governor Anthony Colby and moved to the Old Campus of Colby Academy in 1875, the 18th-century building was reconstructed to serve as a dormitory for boys. After two more moves and name changes, parts of that structure now form the framework of Lethbridge Lodge.

In 1931, the most recent version of Colby Hall was built. Caitlin Merrill '07, who is residing in Colby for her second year, said “I would say that it definitely gets a little rowdy in here, but the overall atmosphere is friendly. Colby is close enough to Colgate [the main academic building], but I also like getting the exercise when I have to walk to the library or somewhere on the other side of campus.”

Austin Hall was the next building added to the campus. In 1927 it was built as a new gymnasium. Reconstructed in 1965 as a residence hall, it was given the name of Austin Hall after Dr. Eugene M. Austin, a former president of the college. Jody Moore '07 described the residents of the hall to be “just like one big happy family. I think it is easier to get along with everyone in smaller dorms, because you see the same people all the time.”

McKean Hall McKean Hall.

Substance Free McKean, Laid-Back Shepard

McKean Hall, built in 1930, came next. It was named for Dr. Horace G. McKean, who was principal and headmaster of the school in the 1890s, when it was a co-educational academy. McKean is now a substance free living environment, which was established in 1995.

Patrick Sylvia '08 has lived there since his first year at Colby-Sawyer and describes the building as “a very close-knit community as a whole; there are always lots of doors open. People always find things to do without drinking; there are generally lots of movie nights and people hanging out in the lounge.”

Shepard Hall was built in 1932 and named for the Shepard family who were one of the first families to live in the town of New London. Krissy Caron '07 is in her second year of residence in Shepard and she said “I think the personality of Shepard is that it's very laid back. Everyone does their own thing and everyone is really respectful.

"Each floor has a great relationship and it usually pretty quiet. People hang out in the hallways and are social as well as being quiet enough to study.”

Outgoing Burpee, Homelike Page

Burpee Hall, named for Perley Burpee, one of the founders of New London Academy, was introduced to the campus in 1934. Until 1949, the school's library was located inside Burpee.

“I can say that the people who live in Burpee are usually very outgoing and like being in the center of things, they are very social,” said Lauri Baudanza '07, who currently lives in Burpee as a Resident Assistant (RA). The personality of the residents of Burpee coincides with the location of the building. It literally is 'in the center of things' because the rest of campus surrounds it.

Page Hall was built in 1938 and named for Reverend Charles L. Page, class of 1880, who served as a trustee for 40 years. Having lived in Page for four years now, Cory Marien '07 described Page as “a very friendly, close community. It is nice to come back to because it is relaxed and feels like home.”

Clean Living in Abbey, Best Fun

Abbey Hall was built in 1940 and named for Charles Clinton Abbey and Mrs. Emily F. Abbey Gill, who made generous contributions to women's education in New England. The residents in Abbey are all female and enjoy the building's cleanliness, as well as the bond that all the women create with each other.

For the past two years, two faculty members (one each year) have called this Abbey their home. This year's Faculty in Residence, Hester Fuller, gives her impression of Abbey: “It's a friendly communal place where people take a good deal of pride in their surroundings. It's always very clean and well kept.

"The ladies who live here enjoy their fun, but they do their carousing elsewhere and then come home to the relative peace and quiet of Abbey. It's a great place to have a sane life!”

Best Hall, named for Dr. Samuel M. Best, a football coach at Colby Academy and long-serving trustee, was constructed in 1954. It was the last residence hall to be built on the upper part of campus. Betsy Berkenbush '08 said “Best is great, it looks a little like an asylum because of the all the plain white walls and doors, but it's a fun place.

"It is such a big dorm, there are a lot of people in it, so there is always someone to go and visit, but no one really leaves their doors open so it's not as easy to meet new people.”

Rooke Hall Lounge Residents meet with senior college staff in the Rooke Hall Lounge for a "Deans in Jeans" discussion.

Rooke: Independent but Engaged

Rooke Hall was built in 1994, introducing apartment style living to the campus. The hall was named for Robert Levi Rooke, whose generous bequest helped fund its construction. Jerry Volpe, Resident Director of Rooke, commented that “Rooke Hall seems to be a place in which many residents find desirable and attractive. The hall is typically comprised of groups of students who have made very deliberate decisions about who they want to live with, and how they want to live.

“Because Rooke is made up of entirely sophomores, juniors and seniors, the population is quite busy in their academic lives. However, we also tend to find very involved students in the application process, as well as students looking for a bit more independence; therefore we also have a significantly engaged group of residents living here.

"Stop by to visit, and you are likely to find some of the most involved, active, caring, and social students on campus around the hall.”

A resident of Rooke for two years, Jessica Kingsbury '07 added “I would have to say that the personality of Rooke is very independent and fun. You have the capabilities to make your own meals although you also have responsibility of cleaning. It is an enjoyable living environment as you get to share the apartment with 3 or 4 people of your choice.”

Suite Living in Lawson

Lawson Hall joined the line-up in 1996 and was named for Charles J. "Chuck" Lawson and his wife, Joan. It has suite style living, where nine students share a common space outside of their rooms. Lawson has two all female suites, one being an International suite.

Laura Sawyer '07 is currently in her third year as a Lawson Hall resident. She sees the hall as a place “where you can build a lot of friendships. It is a suite-style dorm where students share a communal space, so they tend to build a sense of community in individual suites.

"The dorm is relatively quiet; making it a great environment to study, but it's also a place where I can have fun without worrying about bothering other people all the time.”

Danforth: Green Peace

Danforth Hall, the most recent residence hall on campus, was built in 2004 and named for Peter D. Danforth, a long-serving college trustee. It includes the Harrington Center for Experiential Learning for Career Development and two green houses on the first floor. Along with Lawson, it also has suite style living with two quiet suites.

One RA of the hall, John Bryan '08, said “I think the personality of the building is that people live in it when they want peace and quiet. It also seems to be the home of those who don't want to be bothered; such as some student teachers or students with long internships.

The first-year students who are placed here either love it, or hate it, because of how quiet it is. Also the resources such as the common areas and the nice kitchen seem to keep the loyal residents coming back from year to year.”

Returning students choose the building they live in for a reason; they all find specific residence halls to be an enjoyable place to live--a place they can call their 'home away from home.'

Based on each description that Colby-Sawyer students gave us, each hall has its own distinctive personality that coincides with the general personality of the residents who live in them, and this generally stays the same from year to year.

-Larissa Dillman '07