Honoring the past, celebrating the future

Honoring the past, celebrating the future

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Burr Hall Female Residents measuring a skirt height in the 1950s

The year was 1957. Dwight D. Eisenhower was in the White House, Elvis Presley was on the big screen in Jailhouse Rock and you could get a gallon of gas for less than a quarter.

At that time, Carolyn Hall of Bassett, Nebraska, was studying animal science at the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. She lived in apartments south of Holdrege Street while she anxiously awaited two new on-campus residence halls to be constructed on East Campus. That fall, Carolyn became one of the first residents of Fedde Hall.

I have so many fun memories from Fedde Hall Carolyn Hall Bassett, Nebraska

"It was like driving a brand new car," Hall said of the new living space. "It was mighty nice to live right on campus and be so close to everywhere you needed to go."

One of the most memorable tales from her time in Fedde is from a day she was trying to study in the basement. When she heard what sounded like an animal squealing, she raced around the building to find a group of fraternity brothers trying to sneak pigs into the Fedde laundry room.

"I have so many fun memories from Fedde Hall," she laughed.

Fast-forward nearly 60 years, and while the world has completely changed, Burr and Fedde Halls are still at the heart of East Campus and home to many university students. A new residence hall is scheduled to open on East Campus for the fall semester of 2017, bringing an end to the reign of the iconic Burr and Fedde Halls.

To celebrate the new hall, and relive the many memories of Burr and Fedde, a special event is planned. Attendees at the Burr/Fedde & Friends Reunion on June 10, 2017, will get to experience Burr and Fedde Halls one last time, get a sneak peek of the new residence hall and connect with friends.

"It's a special time on East Campus," said Steve Waller, dean of the College of Agricultural Sciences and Natural Resources. "We wanted to plan a reunion to celebrate the community of people who have helped us get to this point; those who have passed through Burr and Fedde, and those who will pass through the new hall."

The new hall sits on the site of the former Biochemistry Hall, immediately north of C.Y. Thompson Library and east of the Nebraska East Union. The 370-bed hall will feature a mix of traditional and apartment-style units, and will house both freshmen and upper-class students. While the new, modern amenities of the hall are a draw for potential residents, it's the community–like atmosphere that university administrators are hoping to replicate from Burr and Fedde.

"If there has ever been an under the radar cocurricular activity that has complemented and enhanced the educational experience, it has been what's happened in Burr and Fedde Halls," said Waller.

For several residents, their experience at Burr and Fedde did much more than shape just their education. Anita Sandahl lived in Room 221 of Burr Hall from 1979 to 1983. On one of her first days living in the hall she met Kerry Keys, a young man living in Room 205. A few years later she and Kerry were married, and in 2010 they moved their daughter into Room 236 of that very same hall.

"I lived there for four years so I got to know everything about the building and the people who lived there," said Keyes, who today lives south of Valentine. "It was so much fun to relive some of those memories when our daughter Amanda lived there."

Natalie Jones
Current Burr Hall resident Natalie Jones

Current Burr Hall resident, Natalie Jones, a freshman Agriculture and Environmental Sciences Communication major from Stapleton, also has connections to the hall. Several of her relatives were Burr Hall residents, which is what pushed her to make Burr her home.

"I really wanted to keep the family tradition alive by living in Burr, and I'm glad I did. There's such a fun atmosphere in the hall and we're a close-knit community."

For more information about the reunion or to register, visit go.unl.edu/bffunl.