Take a step into the past and discover secrets of one of the University of Louisiana at Lafayette's most iconic buildings — Stephens Hall.
Stephens Hall: Then
Construction on the building, originally dedicated as the Stephens Memorial Library, began in 1939 and was completed in 1940. In this photo is from the 1941 L'Acadien yearbook, you can see that it was originally constructed with walkways over the arches that connected the second floor of Stephens Memorial Library to the second floors of Mouton and Broussard halls on each side.
Stephens Hall was the first building on campus solely dedicated to functioning as a library. Before that, Girard Hall housed the library. Edith Garland Dupré Library was constructed in 1960 and continues to serve the campus today.
Stephens Hall was named for UL Lafayette's first president, Edwin Lewis Stephens, who was the youngest university president in the country at just 27 years old.
The Sounds of Stephens
But perhaps the most iconic piece of Stephens Hall is its bell tower, which broadcasts the chimes across the Quad every quarter hour. It's not easy to get into the tower itself, where the speakers are housed. Originally, the chimes came from an old-school Schulmerich Tyme Stryke system, which eventually was phased out in favor of speakers connected to a laptop — which meant a wider variety of songs could come out of the tower. Keep an ear out for the Ragin' Cajuns fight song, which plays every hour on the day before and day of home football games. When December rolls around, the holiday carols begin.
Atop the bell tower is a weather vane, which is often easy to overlook. Because Stephens Hall was the library, the weathervane depicts an inkwell and pen on one side, and a man at a printing press on the other side, along with the year construction began: 1939 A.D.
Stephens Hall: Now
Stephens Hall is now home to the University's information technology offices, including Computing Support Services, Office of Information Systems, and Information and Media Networks.
When you walk around Stephens Hall, you can still see some of the indentations in the floor from the old circulation desk, a reminder of the building's history and the students it's seen. You can find the portrait of Dr. Edwin Stephens in the middle of the winding staircase.
UL Lafayette's History
Want to know more about the evolution from Southwestern Louisiana Industrial Institute to today's University of Louisiana at Lafayette? Read about it in the University's history.