In 1900, Mr. Lord reported to the Board of Trustees his desire for building a women’s dormitory and expressed his ideas on how “the building is absolutely necessary if the school was to cultivate in its students a spirit that its graduates should take into the communities in which they teach” as well as “the development of social skills which would help the women maintain relationships in the schools they teach. The request was then taken to the governor in hopes for blessing on the project as well as the funding to complete it. In spite of these arguments the governor did not respond.
Only after the assistance of Senator Stanton C. Pemberton and seven years did the funding for the project get approved. This final proposal was for $100,000 and included the construction of not only the residence hall, but a gymnasium which was to be directly connected to the women’s dormitory. “This building would greatly increase the usefulness of one State institution, and future generations of young people and their parents will rise up and call him blessed who is responsible for this building”.
In the over 100 year history, Pemberton has seen thousands of women through its corridors, each one leaving their unique mark in the building. The pride which is instilled in every resident is shown through the passion for Pemberton Parliament, which is Pemberton’s governing board as well as Phi Epsilon Mu, which was Pemberton’s long-standing service sorority.
The women of Pemberton still have many traditions which are still followed today, such as decorating the building for holidays, door decorations in the staircase, providing finals snacks, respecting visiting hours, and making lifelong friends and connections.
In preparation for celebrating the 100 year celebration of Pemberton Hall, the building went through a yearlong facelift which included new hardwood flooring in the lobby and piano lounge area as well as new paint, woodwork and molding. The celebration invited former residents, staff and former administrators at EIU.
The sense of pride the women of Pemberton can still be found in the words “To Pemberton we will be grateful, to you we will be true. Our Hearts you’ve won, dear Pemberton of good Old EIU.”