Pencader C in November 2002, courtesy of Erica K, UD '04At one time the hottest (as in popular, not temperature) dorm complex to live in, Pencader now only exists in residence hall heaven. I’ve found that UD grads who lived in Pencader are amazingly sentimental about their former motel-esque accommodations.
If you knew Pencader, you can skip this paragraph. For you children who never gazed upon Cader de Pen, envision this: 12 concrete block looking buildings (with 3 commons buildings), clustered together. Yep, they looked like cheap motels. Three stories each, and each individual room had its own outside entrance. No internal hallways. You could throw a keg right into your room, from the outside. Oh, and Pencader was basically right where the Independence Complex is, right now. And where that footbridge thing starts.
Aerial view of Pencader and Laird Campus, from an old UD postcard. Shot is probably from the '70s, and credited to Richard C. Pulling.The Pencader complex was built in 1972 on Laird (aka North) Campus, same time as the Towers. And it was just as “progressive,” in that Pencader rooms were in quad suites (shared, semi-private bathrooms), and had carpeting, heat, and air conditioning.
DelaWeather:Pencader Snowball Fight, 2002I’m gonna guess that the late '80s was Pencader’s peaking out point in popularity. By the mid '90s the buildings were really starting to show wear (they were cheaply constructed), and the school took steps to better attract students to live there. Fall of '93 was the introduction of the “Friends Together” option, but then in 1994 there was talk of converting some or all of the buildings to Greek housing! Which never ended up happening; the modern Sorority Complex was built on Laird Campus instead.
The ax finally came in October of 2003, when UD authorized replacing Pencader with what is now the Independence Complex. Pencader A - H and Commons I and II were flattened in June of 2005, and then J - M and Commons III in June 2006. As I never lived or spent a lot of time there, I personally didn’t have an attachment to the buildings, but many did…
“When I was taking a tour on those fall decision days, the girl stopped at North College and Main Street and said, ‘Up that way is Laird Campus, I don't know what goes on up there, but I wouldn't recommend you live there freshman year.’ Well she was completely WRONG!
I really shed a tear when Pencader came down, cuz I made ALL my friends there in that dorm when I was in the LIFE program. I wish I could relive that year. Oh, and who could forget the advantage of when you ordered food, it came STRAIGHT TO YOUR DOOR instead of having to run to the door to let them in, or having to buzz them in. Also, if an RA tried to bust you, escaping to other rooms was just an easy ‘through the bathroom.’ That was great. R.I.P., Pencader, you truly will be missed, but will live on in the hearts of those of us who lived there!”
- Paul P, UD '04
“We got nothing, nada, zilch, in terms of TV reception in on our first floor Pencader rooms, so we always watched TV in the Pencader Commons buildings. As best I can remember (and a lot of my UD days are a complete haze), we watched plenty of football (E-A-G-L-E-S. Eagles!) The best was when the Giants fans were in the house. Us Philly boys really gave them a hard time even though (oddly enough) we seemed to be out-numbered. I remember a game during Fall '89 where Randall Cunningham punted (that's right, PUNTED!) a 78-yarder that pinned the Giants on their own goal line! Eagles won of course, but subsequently lost to the Giants on a later MNF game.
Sunday nights were the bomb, because we'd watch (and it was usually a packed house) The Simpsons (1st season), In Living Color, and 21 Jump Street. And of course, on Thursdays it was Cosby, Family Ties, and Cheers. Another packed house for that night, too!”
- Edward P, UD '93
“I was inconsolable when at the end of my freshman year when I found out that while all of my friends would be spending the next year in my greatly desired and requested East Campus, I was placed in God's Country up on North Campus (I'd heard that if you travel for a certain length of time in one direction, you'll hit New York, and if you travel for that same length of time in another direction, you'll reach North Campus).
Well, of course, I made -- no I won't say friends -- FAMILY in Pencader. I spent three years in Pencader J (one on the second floor balcony side and two on the second floor meter space side). I grew up in Pencader. I turned 21 in Pencader.
I learned from the guys upstairs that if you spray tons of Lysol on the metal rail of the catwalk / balcony and light it, it will smoothly burn for quite a long time. I learned that great friends can do terrific things, including keeping someone ON the balcony when they want to come into your room and that person is the last person you want to see. I learned that you might be able to see a spot becoming available on ‘The Drive,’ but that you couldn't usually get down to the spot quickly enough to save it for a friend -- especially before cell phones when you had to call them before leaving your room.
I learned that when a guy asks you to come to hang out in his room and then asks you to take a shower with him when you've only first met him, it's time to leave (actually, I already knew that and the knowledge came in very handy one evening). I learned that if one of your best guy friends spends the night on your floor, you're going to get early morning phone calls from many of your other friends, when he runs into one of said other friends in the girls' quad bathroom before 8:00 AM on a Saturday morning.
I learned that when you're drinking a lot and your girlfriend gets so drunk that she passes out, you don't just put a garbage can under her head and go off to the Balloon (Well, in my defense, I'd had a bit to drink and the guys wanted to lie her on her back in the bed and I said we couldn't leave her that way, because she'd choke if she got sick). I learned that no matter how drunk you are and no matter what one of my friends insisted on a regular basis, Piels is NOT GOOD!
I learned that there's nothing better on a chilly night than just hanging out in your room with some of your closest friends, some yummies and Monty Python! I learned that, since I've never been a big beer fan, grain alcohol can be a real anti-inhibitor when you have something to say that you've been keeping in (my friends learned that it really ISN'T funny to see me drunk). I learned that all-nighters with No-Doze and Diet Coke can help you pass required courses. I learned that scopes and crushes come and go but friends are, well, like I said before, family.
Until the day they tore the place down, you could probably still see the notches on the ceiling left by broom tips and rubber balls and a few knuckles (my roommate had a loft bed) when we were ‘communicating’ with the guys upstairs.
You could probably still have read the message my girlfriend left me one drunken night. She didn't feel that my message board was big enough so she took my magic marker and wrote a long and large message on my door telling me all about how she was feeling, and letting me know just how drunk she was. The marker she used had stained the door and no matter how hard we tried for the rest of the year, I still saw remnants of the message on that door -- even a few years later when I went back to visit.
I'll never forget the late nights, the early mornings, dinners in the dining hall, sledding down Pencader Hill on dining hall trays after a big snow, and trudging up the Pencader stairs for three very long years.
I'll never forget the keg parties, the sob sessions, the heartaches and breaks, the all-nighters, the silly times, the celebrations, the Pencader III mixers on the lawn. I'll never forget TP-ing my friend's back door, and the week of false accusations before he accused one of my friends who HAD done it, and she gave me up. I'll never forget the narrow escapes out the side ‘emergency exit’ doors (trust me, they really were EMERGENCY exits).
Yes, there are more than a few of us who WILL miss Pencader very much! R.I.P., indeed, my dear sweet home!”
- Sandey, UD '90
The infamous (and often treacherous) Pencader steps in 2004, courtesy of Greg M, UD '07, who added, "I don't know how many time I would start towards class, get to the steps, and just say, 'Not today.'"
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