In 1958, industrialist Edmund W. Mudge and his wife Pauline donated their Fifth Avenue mansion to Carnegie Mellon University.
Today, Mudge House remains a place of distinctive character — and a highly sought after residence for Carnegie Mellon students.
According to Jennifer Church, dean of student affairs at Carnegie Mellon, Mudge House has long been a catalyst for and incubator of great ideas, unique projects and meaningful experiences.
"From community-wide discussions involving students, faculty, staff and Pittsburghers on topics such as sustainability and social issues to student-led talent shows to the annual dinner with the deans, the students of Mudge House have led the way towards helping us realize the ideal state of residential living and student involvement," she said.
Lollie Mudge Boedeker — granddaughter of Edmund and Pauline — recently visited campus with family members for a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary of the dedication of Mudge House to students.
The weekend marked the first visit to Mudge House by Lollie's children and grandchildren.
Her daughter Neddy remarked, "Having the family ties here in Pittsburgh is important to us; I'm glad the kids can come back and see their history."
"It was a quiet household," Lollie recalled of her childhood visits. "My grandfather was a strict Quaker — coats and ties for dinner — so as kids, we found enjoyment going downstairs into the kitchen and helping the wait staff prepare the butterballs."
Lollie also enjoyed being pushed in the laundry cart down the driveway by her brother.
"But one time he let go of the cart," she noted. "I ended up breaking my thumb and couldn't swim in the pool for weeks!"
A photo of Mudge House in winter — which Lollie uses as a screensaver on her home computer — keeps warm memories close at heart.
According to David Chickering, coordinator of student development at the residence, Mudge House has retained the family atmosphere and students are comfortable living there.
"On any given day you can walk into the piano room and find students studying and practicing the piano while other students are simply sitting around talking," Chickering said.
He noted that many faculty and staff look forward to the annual Dinner with the Deans, which is hosted by the Mudge House residents.
"They enjoy the opportunity to connect with their students outside of the classroom, and the students look forward to showing their appreciation to the faculty and staff."