Published April 4, 2018
Residence hall life is an integral part of the Clarks Summit University on-campus experience. The halls have cultivated a tight-knit community of students, faculty and staff who spur one another along in pursuit of Christ.
Residence halls are designed to make it easy for students to form positive, God-honoring relationships. Students live in a three-bedroom, one-bathroom suite with up to five other students. The suites create a small, comfortable place where friendships can be formed and living in community is put into practice. Students benefit from this small group atmosphere, a large dorm family and the live-in adult mentorship provided by resident directors.
Behind this unique design is Dr. Friedie Loescher who came to CSU in 1954. After conducting his doctoral studies on dorm life and student development at Kansas State University, Loescher fervently sought to change the design in the works for barrack-style dorms for the then newly acquired campus in Clarks Summit, Pennsylvania. Instead he fought to build the suite-style dorms still used today.
Dean of Students Frank Judson says, “In Jackson Hall, students learn about Bible, theology and ministry. In the residence halls, students have the opportunity to put what they learn into practice. The residence Hall is the place where loving God is evidenced in the way students love their neighbor; it is the place where living in community becomes an inescapable reality; it is also the place where students are faced with scenarios in which they are actively engaged in learning discernment.” These key values align with the mission and goals of the student development at CSU.
Residence Hall Facts
Have you ever wondered who Fletcher Hall was named after or how the guys in Ridley like to have a good time? Here are some fast facts and history on some of our residence halls!
Thomson Hall was named after Miss Mabel Thomson, one of the university’s original teachers. Thomson was highly respected as an excellent Bible teacher and was known for her etiquette, strict discipline and genuine interest in the lives of students.
Today, Sarah (Bagley) Ross (’04) is in her fourth years as Thomson’s resident director (RD). The Ross’ have an open-door policy and are always up for an Ohio State football game or movie night with the girls who reside in the dorm.
“I encourage my girls to be real. If they have doubts, express them. If they have questions, ask them. If they have an issue, let’s talk about it. I’ve seen them grow because they feel freedom to share without worrying about whether or not they’ll be loved in return,” explains Ross.
The girls of Thomson also enjoy going on dorm trips. They have been to Philadelphia, Washington D.C., New York and Boston!
Fletcher Hall was named after Elizabeth B. Fletcher, one of CSU’s original full-time professors. Known as a strict but deeply compassionate teacher, Miss Fletcher was loved and respected by her students and fellow faculty members.
Kristi Parker (’91, ’93, ’16), has served as RD for almost six years; she is also an instructor in CSU’s business administration department. In her spare time, she loves to garage sale, read and spend time with friends and family.
Fletcher hosts a monthly dorm breakfast and a movie. Fletcher ladies are very involved in extra curricular activities and have athletes on all the women’s sports teams. Their Christmas traditions include cutting down a live tree, hanging senior ornaments, having a mug exchange and viewing the lights display at Nay Aug Park. Fletcher residents make and donate fleece tie blankets to a local rescue mission.
Barndollar Hall was named after Dr. W. Walker Barndollar who joined the CSU faculty in 1947, teaching subjects such as Systematic Theology, Apologetics and Eschatology. In 1976, at the 45th commencement, Barndollar Hall was named in his honor.
Marilyn Luster (’11, ’16) has served as RD for four years. She likes to read, bake and spend time with others. She also enjoys learning and using opportunities to teach. She is passionate about seeing change and transformation in her girls and enjoys being involved in their lives.
Of the culture of dorm life, she says, “Students have a passion to reach those around them and engage where they are, whether in their job or in a ministry. Students today are also increasing in their desire to learn and grow. They are continually asking questions and challenging thoughts in order to learn, grow and develop.”
The girls of Barndollar host the annual Barndollar Dating Game and enjoy serving on campus.
Carter Hall is named after Dr. Rembrandt Carter, who joined the CSU faculty in 1961 to teach in the history department. Introduced a fine arts course and encouraged interaction with the arts through “culture days,” during which students visited various cities.
Michelle Hammaker (’88) just completed her 20th year as a CSU resident director! She moved to Carter Hall upon its fall 2000 debut. She enjoys spending time with people, reading a good novel, going to the beach, painting and scrapbooking. She served overseas for two years in Durban, South Africa, and now a few of her favorite vacation spots are the game park and mountain resorts there. She enjoys watching baseball, soccer, basketball, cricket and rugby.
Hammaker makes it a priority to minister to the girls in her dorm. “Over the years, there have been several opportunities for community in Carter; including small groups, weekly suite devos, in-dorm socials, doing ministry together and all-school socials. Community also happens naturally through the friendships that are built and daily interactions that take place of encouragement, sharing, crying, praying and rejoicing together.”
The girls of Carter host the largest all-school social, “Carter Clue.” They enjoy small groups, dorm parties and late movie nights. Carter is very diverse, housing representatives from each female sports team, music group and drama production.
Dr. Friedie Loescher, a 1959 alumnus, served in a number of top leadership and teaching capacities.
Ted Boykin has served as a resident director at CSU for 24 years, 15 of those in Loescher. Boykin is known for his love for students and his passion to see them grow spiritually through teaching, counseling, discipling and spiritual conversations.
Loescher is known for its diverse group of guys among whom everyone is loved and accepted. Loescher Hall houses a projector television for movie nights and sports events, heated tile bathroom floors and air conditioning for hot days in the fall and spring.
The guys of Loescher also host one of campus’ most well attended socials: “Under the Lights.” The Boykins are known for hosting fun parties. “Mama B.” makes her famous hot wings for the dorm’s Super Bowl party.
Ridley Hall is named after Rev. Raymond Ridley, who was a major part in helping the school purchase property.
Fred Defendorf (’03) has served as RD for five years. He enjoys reading, selling things on Ebay and impersonating other people. His favorite verse is Mark 10:45, “For even the Son of Man did not come to be served but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”
The Defendorfs believe that being in the dorm is a family ministry. “We teach our children that it’s not just Hannah and I who should reach out to the guys, but they (our kids) need to show love to the students as well. We try our hardest to make our apartment feel like home, so they can relax as if its home and be a part of the family,” explains Defendorf.
The Ridley guys enjoy Saturday morning pancake breakfasts cooked by the Defendorfs complete with classic cartoons like Scooby Doo and Looney Tunes. They also host an annual couples kickball event, and they are famous for their steak and chicken kabobs with apple turnovers at homecoming.
Shaffer Hall is named after Mr. Jack Lee Shaffer, an RD and seminary professor. Shaffer was a fun-loving man who always enjoyed a good laugh. He dedicated his life to full-time ministry.
Frank Judson (’04, ’16), dean of students, has served as resident director in three different residence halls and now leads in Shaffer Hall, which houses male seminary and graduate students.
“Dorm life is not about ‘me;’ it is about ‘we,’” explains Frank. “The dorm is family, and we need to work diligently to accept each other, love each other and live as a body. The dorm is a reflection of the church.”
Other Residence Halls
Woolsey Hall has been home to the widest variety of students at different times, from undergraduate females to married and graduate students. Vibbard is open for campus guests at reasonable rates for individual rooms or suites. Bancroft Hall, named after Dr. Emery Bancroft, one of CSU’s founding faculty members. (Commons, Christen)
Thoughts from “Commons Girls”
“We did so many things as a dorm; we supported a missionary together, and we always had so much fun. The most rewarding part of it all is seeing what the Lord has accomplished in their lives.”
Peggy Shupp, Commons Hall RD from 1988-1999
“Residence Hall life did facilitate lifelong friendships. I had the same roommate (Amanda [Gaumer] Owen) for four years. The two of us also shared a suite with three of our other friends for several years. We spent hours upon hours in each other’s rooms. We also shared with each other on a deep level spiritually. It was the first time in my life where I attended a school with other followers of Jesus. It was a natural environment to really bond because we spent hours together in such close proximity. We had ample opportunity to share about our hidden struggles with God and to be vulnerable with each other.
When I think about some of my closest friends, they are girls who I have been in the dorm with. We’ve been in each other’s weddings, prayed during years of infertility, watched God do miracles, and we now are raising babies together—even though we all live miles apart. I still keep in touch with my beautiful dorm Mom, Amy Norvell. She supported, and was always on my side in college, but even now all these years later she is still pouring out love on me.”
Abigail Dubbe (’04), Commons Hall resident