Tales of dorm life: professors remember campus living

Professors look back on their time in Baylor dorms. Photos courtesy of Jake Abell and Baylor University

By Emma Weidmann | Staff Writer

Communal bathrooms, lofted beds and quirky roommates are the trademarks of a freshman dorm. Years and even decades after graduation, these Baylor alumni and professors remember it all.

Dr. Jerolyn Morrison earned her Bachelor’s in fine arts at Baylor in 1995 and now is a lecturer of art history.

As a freshman, Morrison lived in Kokernot Residence Hall. She said the experience was a lot like being at camp, and being from out of state, Morrison enjoyed getting to know the other girls.

“We knew everybody in the dorm,” Morrison said. “I just remember it being really small. It was on the edge of campus at that time … It was a quiet part of campus.”

Morrison said her favorite memories from her time in Kokernot are with friends in the outdoor area in front of the dorm. During a time when the university had strict curfew rules, students would congregate outside instead of in the building in order to work around the rules.

“Because we weren’t allowed to have guests then, particularly young men, they would come out and sit around and bring guitars,” Morrison said. “There was nobody [on that side of campus] except for the bears, so we weren’t
bothering anyone.”

Dr. Jacob Abell, a lecturer in the French department, earned his bachelor’s in the University Scholars program in 2013.

Abell said his favorite memory from his time in Alexander Hall as a freshman was the “nerdy” conversations he would have with people in the Honors College. As a transfer student, he enjoyed meeting other students.

Abell recalled one night in Alexander doing calculus homework, when a classics student struck up a conversation with him about mathematics.

“That was the delight, for me, of the dorm, being surrounded by students studying something very different from you, but they took an interest in what you were studying,” Abell said. “There were a lot of late night conversations about the kinds of questions we were asking in class.”

He said living in the Honors Residential College was a great way to meet people from other countries, as his first roommate was from El Salvador and their suitemates were also international students.

“It was a cosmopolitan environment,” Abell said. “It certainly fanned the flames of my interest in global cultures.”

The personal connections made in the dorms stand out to both Morrison and Abell. Morrison remains friends with her freshman year roommate to this day, and Abell and his suitemates keep in touch.

“The friendships that I had at Baylor as a freshman and sophomore and through college, I still have them today,” Morrison said. “A lot of our friends now, our children are now coming to and graduating from Baylor. It’s kind of nice.”

Emma Weidmann is a junior English major from San Antonio, with minors in News-Editorial and French. She loves writing about new albums and listening to live music. After graduating, she hopes to work as an arts and culture reporter.