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University celebrates opening of Elizabeth Catlett Residence Hall

Designed to enhance the student living experience, Elizabeth Catlett Residence Hall opened on the university campus on July 28. Standing twelve stories high, covering 303,000 square feet, and housing roughly 1,049 students, Catlett Residence Hall is named after Elizabeth Catlett. Catlett, a former MFA student, graduated from the University of Iowa in 1940. She was the first African-American to earn an MFA degree and her pieces frequently depict women, children, and working-class African-Americans.The hall features Catlett’s artwork throughout common areas and the main entrance to the building.

To enhance the student living experience the hall is broken into three ‘houses.’ These houses contain floors that are much smaller than other residence halls on campus, making students feel a close-knit sense of belonging and community. Each floor has a large lounge, complete with sweeping views of the Iowa River. In addition, 10 individual and group study rooms are also located within the hall to provide students with the academic support they need. Large glass windows bring natural light in to give the hall an open and expansive feel. The residence hall is also home to Catlett Market Place, one of three marketplaces on campus. The marketplace features a wide variety of food and features breakfast served all day, made to order entrees, and a late night window.


Catlett Hall is also home to the Arts Living Learning Community. This learning community gives current students the opportunity to not only learn about art, but to link their experiences to the life and work of Elizabeth Catlett. The building has been home to other artwork including student art shows and performances by musicians visiting Hancher Auditorium.


“We are thrilled to have opened two outstanding residence halls in the past three years. Using Petersen Hall (opened in fall 2015) as a template, we were able to design Catlett Hall to better meet our students’ wants and needs. Our students find Catlett to be a great place to start and continue their college careers,” says Von Stange, assistant vice president for Student Life and senior director University Housing & Dining. 

Learn more about Catlett Residence Hall on Iowa Now.

2018 Year In Review

This article is part of the 2018 Year in Review, which highlights some of the Division of Student Life's accomplishments from the previous academic year.

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