New residence halls named in honor of two trailblazing alumni

Located in the South Residential Village, John Sykes Fayette House and Mary Chilton Noyes House will help accommodate CWRU’s growing student population

When Case Western Reserve’s new residence halls in the South Residential Village open this fall, their names will commemorate two historic alumni: John Sykes Fayette, the first known African American graduate of Western Reserve College; and Mary Chilton Noyes, the first woman to earn a graduate degree from Western Reserve University.

The two residence halls, John Sykes Fayette House and Mary Chilton Noyes House, will house 600 residents between them and will feature wellness areas, study spaces, lounges, meeting areas and rehearsal spaces. Outdoors, there will be areas for volleyball, grilling, hammocks and other outdoor activities.

“These new residence halls give us a chance to recognize our past while looking toward our future as a thriving university with a vibrant on-campus community,” said Fred DiSanto, chair of the Board of Trustees. The board’s executive committee approved the residence hall names this month.

John Sykes Fayette House will be located next to the hillside, while Mary Chilton Noyes House will face Murray Hill Road.

The addition of these two residence halls not only improves student housing options but also accommodates recent modest growth in enrollment at Case Western Reserve, with approximately 1,400 beds now available in second-year housing.

“These residence halls will provide our second-year students with new amenities and opportunities to connect,” said President Eric W. Kaler. “Importantly, we also are able to honor these trailblazing alumni who broke incredible barriers as students. We hope their stories will inspire our students to forge new paths in whatever they do.”

About John Sykes Fayette

While studying theology at Western Reserve, Fayette was active in the college’s abolitionist movement. In fact, in civil rights activist and historian W.E.B. Du Bois’ 1909 biography of abolitionist John Brown, Du Bois named Fayette as a pivotal influence on Brown.

Fayette earned a bachelor’s degree in 1836 and a graduate degree in 1837, becoming not only Western Reserve’s first Black graduate but also the first African American student to enroll in and graduate from a university in Ohio. He went on to serve as a minister for many years in various Canadian churches.

About Mary Chilton Noyes

Noyes earned her PhD in physics at Western Reserve University in 1895, becoming Western Reserve’s first woman to earn a graduate degree and also one of the first women in the U.S. to be awarded a doctoral degree in physics. With the publication of her thesis, “the influence of Heat and the Electric Current upon Young’s Modulus for a Plano Wire,” Noyes became one of the first three women to publish in the journal Physical Review

Noyes dedicated her life to teaching in the fields of mathematics, physics and astronomy at various institutions, including nearby Lake Erie College.

To learn more about the new residence halls, visit the Campus Planning and Facilities Management website.