Dudley House Celebrates 20 Years in Style

Candy, photos, and fun were themes at the twentieth anniversary party for Harvard's graduate student center.

Graduate students pose with the Dudley Lion mascot.
A student poses in the Dudley House photobooth.
The table of colorful green and yellow candy was a hit with the crowd.
The green and yellow lollipops added flair to the candy table.

Dudley House is the undisputed social hub for 4,000 students in the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, a place where students from any discipline can mingle, join a book club, or try out an intramural sport. So naturally, this week’s bash celebrating the House’s twentieth anniversary was tons of fun.

Students crammed into a photo booth for party shots with “Dudley Lion,” a graduate student dressed in a full-body mascot suit. They donned bowler hats and sipped “Dudley Daiquiris.” Those with a sweet tooth indulged with swirled lollipops in green and yellow, the official House colors.

Dedicated as the graduate student center in 1991 as an “experiment,” the House has been a success almost since day one, said House master James M. Hogle. “There is a tremendous buy-in to the idea that students are more productive when they have outlets that are important to them, in addition to their scholarly activities,” he explained. Founded in 1935 as a home for commuting students, the House was formerly located on Dunster Street before moving into Lehman Hall during the 1950s.

The House holds frequent events, including intramural sports, game nights, book-club meetings, theme parties, and writing workshops, all hosted by the 25 graduate students who serve as Dudley Fellows.

Mary DiSalvo, a Romance languages and literature doctoral candidate and Dudley House literary fellow, organizes book clubs and writing workshops for non-literature majors, plans outings to places like the rare-book library, and even has a special “weekend shut-in” where students gather and spend two straight days working on their dissertations.

But perhaps the best part of Dudley House, she said—aside from its great location, in the heart of Harvard Square—is that it’s a great place to hang out with fellow graduate students who might live off campus, or have little natural contact with those outside their field of study.

“This is really one of the only places where graduate students have that built-in sense of community,” DiSalvo pointed out. “It’s very relaxing and reassuring to come in every day and just see fellow students you know.”

President Drew Faust, who stopped by the anniversary celebration, joked about the evening's wet and rainy conditions, all too similar to the University's 375th birthday celebration held in Harvard Yard two weeks earlier. “Not only do you know how to give a party, but you’re smart enough to give it inside,” she said, to much laughter.

The Dudley House celebration, Faust explained, “underscores something which I think is at the heart of what Harvard is: the best thing about this University is all of the people that are in it.”

She read aloud two lines of an ode to Dudley House written by a former student several years ago—“Long may these chambers echo and resound, in concourse of diverse opinions sought”—before concluding, “I would say that’s a good goal for the next 20 years as well: may the chamber resound, may we have diverse opinions, and may we all learn a great deal from one another.”

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