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Dobbs Hall: The "Old Man" is 100 and still serving Emory students

September 26, 2017

By John Baker Brown, Campus Life Communications

Dobbs Hall, affectionately referred to by some as the “Old Man,” achieved centenarian status this year. Completed in 1917 and named for Emory alumnus and benefactor Samuel Candler Dobbs 28H, this venerable structure has served as a home away from home for generations of Emory students.

The Old Man – as if indulging himself in preparation for the big celebration – underwent a complete renovation in 2013, one of several over his many years. But, perhaps feeling that he was not sufficiently decked out, the elderly gentleman saw a host of further improvements last year: reupholstered sofas in the main parlor, new pool table in the basement lounge, upgraded vents in all bedroom doors to increase air circulation, and enhanced landscaping along the rear of the building.

Yet, arguably, the most visible enhancement – perhaps the flower in the Old Man’s lapel – is the recently renovated courtyard, featuring new patio furniture, string lighting, refinished floor, and a brightly colored wall mural with images of Dooley and Emory’s mascot, Swoop.

dobbs courtyard image

“This renewed courtyard is a great space for community-building among residents and their guests,” said Jonathan Cooper, director of facilities for Housing Operations, an office of Emory Campus Life. “We very intentionally incorporate community gathering spaces into the design of our newer buildings, like Raoul Hall and the Campus Life Center now under construction.”

However, according to Cooper, older buildings like Dobbs are retrofitted to add shared spaces. “Campus Life’s goal is to offer attractive areas where students can gather to enjoy one another’s company and nurture the sense of community that is so much a part of the Emory experience,” he said.

As a residence hall and a locus for community, Dobbs Hall is still going strong at 100, this year providing a home for more than 160 first-year students, members of the class of 2021. Who knows? Perhaps one day some of their descendants will explore the charming spaces of Dobbs Hall.

Photo credit: Tina Chang, Campus Life Communications