On Campus: From Currier to Catlett


With 546 student rooms and an expected LEED Silver sustainability rating, Elizabeth Catlett Hall showcases many new-age features and finds its place as the largest dormitory on campus.

100 years after the university opened its first residence hall, Currier, in 1914, the university has more freshman than ever before—welcoming 5,027 students (1,145 of whom are first-generation students) this fall. Students lucky enough to live in Catlett enjoy 21st century amenities, like cable TV, wireless internet, and a fitness center.

Catlett dorms

Currier Residence Hall, a symbol of Georgian Revival architecture on campus, was built to address the housing shortage for female students at the time.  Now, Catlett stands 12 stories high as a coeducational residence. Like Currier, Catlett was built to address the student housing shortage. In 2015 and 2016, the university employed an extended housing system to accommodate the overflow, but with housing for approximately 1,049 students, Catlett offers a much more comfortable residence. 

Currier 1916
Currier in 1916 (Frederick W. Kent Collection, University of Iowa Libraries)

Named after Elizabeth Catlett, the first African American woman to receive a Masters of Fine Arts at the University of Iowa, the building is meant to remind the community of her values in the arts, justice for humanity, and support for all individuals.