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Mr. Lord reported to the Board of Trustees his desire for building a women’s dormitory in 1900. He 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.” The request was taken to the governor in hopes of blessings for the project as well as funding to complete it. Despite these arguments, the governor did not respond.
After seven years and with the assistance of Senator Stanton C. Pemberton, funding for the project got approved. The 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.
Throughout over 100 years, Pemberton has seen thousands of women through its corridors, each one leaving their unique mark on the building. The pride which is instilled in every resident is shown through the passion for Pemberton Parliament, which is Pemberton’s governing board. This passion is also present in Phi Epsilon Mu, which was Pemberton’s long-standing service sorority.
The women of Pemberton still have many traditions they follow 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 anniversary of Pemberton Hall, the building went through a yearlong renovation which included new hardwood flooring in the lobby and piano lounge area, and new paint, woodwork and molding. Former residents, staff, and administrators of EIU were invited for the celebration.
The sense of pride the women of Pemberton have 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.”
Historical Information about Pemberton Hall
2008 Pemberton Hall 100 Year Reunion Video. This video was taken at the 100-year reunion celebration in 2008. The video begins with the past and present Pemberton Hall residents singing the Pemberton Hall song. Past resident interviews include a recount of First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt visiting Pemberton and speaking to residents.
Memories of Pemberton Hall shared at the 100 year Reunion. Jill Nilsen, former Vice President of External Relations, recounts her memories of Pemberton Hall and the three years that changed and shaped her life.
The History and Significance of the Mary Hawkins Sculpture. This video tells the story of the donation of the sculpture and the significance of the wood used to create the frame for the sculpture's display.
Mary Hawkins Sculpture Unveiling Ceremony. This video recounts the unveiling ceremony of the sculpture that Mary Hawkins’ family from New Zealand donated in honor of Mary's contributions to the EIU and Charleston community.
Pemberton Hall 4th Floor Tour. Mark Hudson, Director of Housing & Dining, gives a tour of the 4th floor of Pemberton Hall.
Scrapbooks of Pemberton Hall
MLK Jr., University Union,
600 Lincoln Ave.
Charleston, IL 61920