Katharine Cooper Cater Hall
Katharine Cooper Cater Hall was erected in 1915. Then know simply as the President’s Mansion, this stately two-story neo-classical building was designed by Joseph Hudnut and is now placed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Four Auburn presidents: Thach, Dowell, Knapp, and Duncan, consecutively lived in the mansion until 1938 when the new president’s home was built on the corner of Samford and College.
The Social Center
Since 1938, the building has served as an office and residence for deans of women and various members of their staffs. Known as the Social Center, the ends of the building were dubbed “mushrooms” by the students and were designated dating parlors, for the female residents at Auburn University.
The Social Center came to full bloom as the setting for social and cultural events when Katharine Cooper Cater became dean of women in 1946. As both her home and office, the building has been the setting for countless teas, coffees, receptions, meetings, and student parties.
In the late 1970s the building was transformed in to administrative offices and was home to a variety of on campus departments. In 1980 the Social Center renamed Katharine Cooper Cater Hall after its long time resident. Today Cater Hall houses the Honors College.
Students still hold the tradition of having organizational “callouts” along the porches of these beloved halls.
Celebrating 100 years in 2015, Katharine Cooper Cater Hall has undergone an adaptive reuse renovation, below is a preview of a documentary by associate professor of media studies, Kevin Smith.
Last modified: July 22, 2021