Residence Hall Spotlight: Centennial I Complex


The Centennial I complex, commonly referred to as Upper Cents, is comprised of six buildings that reside across from Rathbone dining hall on the easternmost part of campus.

Congdon House was named after Dr. Wray H. Congdon, who served as the dean of students, dean of the graduate school, and as a special assistant to the president. Emery House was named for Dr. Natt M. Emery, who was vice president and controller of the university. Leavitt House was named to honor the second president of the university, the Rev. Dr. John McD. Leavitt, who served from 1875 to 1879. C. Maxwell McConn was the dean of the university for 15 years between 1923 and 1938, thus McConn House was named for him. Smiley House was named for Dr. E. Kenneth Smiley, who served as vice president from 1945 to 1964. Thornburg House was named after Dr. Charles G. Thornburg, a professor of mathematics and head of the department from 1895 to 1923. From the mid 1970’s to the late 1990’s, Upper Cents housed Lehigh’s sororities before they moved into their chapter houses.


Each residence hall houses 44 students, 22 of each of the single-gender floors. Students live together in doubles, equipped with a desk with a bookshelf and desk chair, bed, mattress, dresser, closet, and a medicine cabinet with a mirror.



The first floor of each residence hall features a lounge with a large TV room, game room, study area, and kitchen. The laundry facility, along with a vending area, is centrally located within the Centennial I complex, underneath a large outdoor patio with a gorgeous view of the Lehigh Valley. 


This year, Upper Cents is also home to the Creative Commons themed community. The Creative Commons: Innovation and Entrepreneurship Community houses a variety of students who all have big ideas and want to make them real. Student collaborate with The Baker Institute for Creativity, Entrepreneurship, and Innovation, as well as other innovators in the Bethlehem community to bring their ideas to life.

Each of the residence halls is managed by a full-time, Master’s-level professional who supervises the Gryphon staff in addition to central office responsibilities and planning. Lou Gardiner, an Assistant Director of Residence Life, oversees both Centennial I and II complexes. Lou lives in an embedded apartment in the Centennial II complex so that in case of an on-campus emergency he can respond quickly.

Lou is new to the Office of Residence Life staff, having joined this June. So what is he looking forward to this year? “What I’m most looking forward to this year is working with the AWESOME ResLife and DOS (Dean of Students) team as well as the Gryphons. Since I started in June, everyone has been so great to work with and so welcoming. With our diverse experiences and personalities, I know that our crew is going to do some big things this year! I’m also looking forward to experiencing and living in a new area and institution. So far, I’ve really been loving the Lehigh Valley and all it has to offer.”

It’s not too much longer until MOOV-In and we get to welcome new students to Upper Cents!


One thought on “Residence Hall Spotlight: Centennial I Complex

  1. Pingback: Residence Hall Spotlight: Centennial II Complex | LU Residence Life

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