Stewart Hall: Honors Whitworth's Most Important Early President

It puts the Stew into Stewville.

Home to thirty-five men and thirty-five women on two floors, Stewart Hall was built in 1963. Initially, Stewart served as an all men’s dormitory. It was dedicated in honor of Calvin W. Stewart who was instrumental in Whitworth's early history. For all intents and purposes, Calvin Stewart was Whitworth's first president. He followed Amos Fox, who served for only a few months. But Stewart's tenure as president lasted eight years from 1890-1898. He taught as a Professor of Christian Ethics and Political Science.

Stewart led the college during its first severe financial crisis during the Depression of 1893 when it almost folded. His fundraising acumen was revealed when he managed to secure $50,000 from H.O. Armour of Philadelphia, which enabled Whitworth to move from Sumner to Tacoma. This gift represented the largest amount donated at that time to a denominational college on the West Coast. He continued to work for another four years as a financial agent after his time as president ended. The total amount he managed to secure from H.O. Armour was $100,000. In his obituary, it was said that he was “a devout man, a faithful husband and father, a conscientious minister, loyal to the standards of the church, wise in counsel and true to every trust, his works follow him and being dead he yet speaketh.” It is arguable that without Calvin Stewart’s efforts, Whitworth University would not have survived.

At the time of completion in 1964, the total cost of Stewart Hall was $300,000. It first housed fifty-eight men in eighteen three-man suites and four single man rooms on the top two floors, with the first floor having a lounge, kitchen, study room, and recreation room. It later opened up to seventy-six students, making the suites house four men. The suite design of Stewart, which promotes a united community with its residents, sets it apart from the other dorms on campus.

Over the years, the men of Stewart added much to life on Whitworth. Various traditions have included “Derby Day,” boxing as a dorm activity, and campaigns such as their “Save the Urinals Campaign.” Today, there are still urinals in the women’s bathrooms. Stewart often teamed up with another dorm, the Village, and the two were nicknamed “Stewville.” In 2000, Stewart was renovated with new carpeting , furniture, and the only indoor bicycle storage on campus.

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