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Stevenson Hall

Stevenson Hall was formed as a non-bicker University-managed dining facility at the initiative of undergraduate students in the Classes of 1968 and '69 when it became apparent that the original Court Club and Key and Seal Club would not long remain economically successful institutions. Stevenson was formed with approximately 130 members to occupy these buildings, at 83 and 91 Prospect Avenue, in response to growing student calls for a "viable social alternative," i.e., an alternative to membership in one of the traditional Prospect Avenue clubs.

Malcolm Diamond (Religion) served as first Master, 1969-1971. He was succeeded by Gerald Garvey (Politics) 1971-1974, followed by Maitland Jones (Chemistry), whose wife, Susan Hockaday, served as full Co-Master, 1974~-1977.

In the early years, Stevenson Hall membership gained a reputation for strong commitment to political activism -- but activism "within the system." During the Cambodia controversy in the spring of 1970, for example, the suggestion for a regular midterm University recess to permit active student participation in political campaigns originated at a Stevenson Hall protest meeting. During the same period, Stevenson Hall became a focal point of the Movement for a New Congress. It also served as the headquarters for various campaign efforts on behalf of insurgent (i.e., anti-Vietnam War) candidates for the U.S. Congress.

Through the early 1970s, the Stevenson Hall membership broadened. Sophomores were permitted to become full members in 1972. The same year, a Kosher dining facility was opened in the building at 83 Prospect; freshmen desiring to keep the dietary laws were admitted to membership in this section. The Kosher section represents the first of its type in any Ivy League university. Membership in the Kosher section grew in the first four years from 35 to 145.

The membership has also become increasingly diversified as liberal arts and engineering members have joined Stevenson Hall, along with the Woodrow Wilson School majors, historians, and political scientists who have traditionally favored the Hall.

Gerald Garvey

Source: Leitch p. 454 ff