Remembering McCollum: Stories from alumni
We invited alumni to share their stories of McCollum Hall with us, some of which are included below. If you have a special memory of the...

We invited alumni to share their stories of McCollum Hall with us, some of which are included below. If you have a special memory of the residence hall, email us at The residence hall will be demolished at 9 a.m. on Wednesday, November 25. Watch a livestream of the implosion, along with additional coverage, at


I lived in McCollum last year as a senior after years of living in Oliver. We always complained about how horrible it was to live in “McNasty”, but at the same time we enjoyed the camaraderie that came from that shared experience. RAs and floormates became family. I’ll never forget the time the power went out and I got stuck inside the elevator with three other people for thirty minutes. We might have panicked some, but it turned out to be a tiny adventure and we spent a good chunk of our “stuck” time cracking jokes.

I am very sad to hear of the implosion of McCollum hall, but understand the need. I was only in McCollum for one year (1986-87), but it was the best experience of my young adult life. I remain in contact with my last roommate, Leslie, as well as another hallmate, Chris. I have such fond memories of early morning breakfasts and those Thursday nights in the commons area watching Cosby and the whole lineup of great shows. We were on the 9th floor (west) and I remember on move-in and move-out days having to take the stairs all the way up and down. I remember typing up my last final paper while waiting for my laundry in the basement (I received an “A” – go figure; must have been the whirring of the dryers and fragrance of laundry soap).


One of my fondest memories was having chicken for dinner one evening and I was trying to dissect the chicken leg—I was taking human anatomy at the time and had a test coming up. I think I grossed everyone out. The best memory I have is the evening I met the man who would become my husband, Mark. Leslie was studying for a particularly hard pharmacy test and her boyfriend, Tom, stopped by with donuts from Joe’s Bakery and he brought Mark with him as a tag-along. I was immediately smitten. Mark and I have been married for over 25 years and we have 5 beautiful children. So, thanks McCollum, for all of the excellent memories from my last year on the KU-Lawrence campus!

One fun filled summer, I served as social co-chair for McCollum residents.I must first apologize for not crediting all of the residents who contributed to the activities that summer…must have been ’66. A hootenanny ranks as the most prominent event of the season. The beginning of Paul Gray’s Gaslight Gang entertained employing members of the KU band and included Skip DeVol on the banjo.


Seems one drunken evening I even recall a resident riding a skateboard along the ledge on the sixth floor…he was hammered.


Living long enough to witness the birth and demise of a concrete and steel structure like McCollum hall makes one wonder if anything temporal really lasts. Some things seem to never change and others don’t seem to when they desperately need to.


Thanks for the memories and lessons faculty and friends.

I lived in McCollum in 1988. I have many fond memories of that dorm. I lived on the 6th floor which that year had two men’s wings and one women’s. One night, the guy I was dating over imbibed and (probably on a dare) walked out onto the ledge of the 6th floor. He was safely brought back in. Rumors ran wild that we had broken up and he was going to jump. They were not true but everyone called him “Spiderman” after that.
—LS, class of ‘92

I was an RA there from 2003-2004 and one of the things I enjoyed the most was the peace and serenity of looking over Iowa street during the winters from my 6th floor room.


I also participated in JOE (Jayhawk Observation Eating study) and one of the requirements was that I had to occasionally get up super early in the mornings to have my breathing monitored. Thankfully another co-RA (Hannah) and I were both in the study so we both suffered the agony of early mornings.


One particularly cold morning, Hannah and I were both in the elevator when I noticed something felt very strange in my sock/shoe. As I took off my sock/shoe a massive roach flew out, landed on the floor, and scurried away. I was immediately horrified and started yelling because there is no way that I could be gross enough to house roaches in my room. The elevator doors opened and the desk staff was semi-startled/awakened by my yelling as I hurriedly hopped out of the elevator (I was struggling to put my sock and shoe back on) while Hannah was doubled over laughing.
—Natalie, class of ’04

One day I had a nap on my bed in the dorm. The door opened and my friend Scott said, “Got something for you….”


When I opened my eyes a snake looked at me in a funny way..It was perfectly harmless, but I didn’t know it. I freaked out and ran out of the room where Scott was taking a photo… He had done that with several snakes to various people.


When he entered my room to put the snake back into the box, it had disappeared along the pipes of the heating system into other rooms. That also happened in some more cases. There were screams coming out of various rooms for the rest of the evening. When people looked up they saw snakes crawling along the pipes of the heating system.


That was the day when McCollum came closest to a Stephen King movie.
—Harald, class of ’74

I lead community walks on Saturday mornings in my community of Pleasanton, California. A couple years ago, a new Walk Star wanted us to see her quaint town nearby, and she volunteered to lead us on the adventure walk. I joined the walk that morning not having been involved in the planning. As she led the group, I introduced myself. Within 100 yards, we discovered that not only had we been at KU at the same time—we had lived in McCollum Hall at the same time.


I moved in during the opening year, and she transferred in her sophomore year, 1966. She also knew my longtime friend, Bill. A small world that started at McCollum Hall ended with us becoming walking friends in California, 46 years later.
—Ron, e’69

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