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Buildings History


Built in 1953, the Mae Grimmer Alumnae House is home to the Offices of The Meredith Fund and Alumnae Relations. It is the center of Alumnae life on campus. Carolyn Covington Robinson, the third director of Alumnae Affairs noted in 2002 that over the years, the "house" had been used "meeting, reunions, receptions, book clubs, work, poetry readings, political rallies, interviews, choir practices, entertainment, presidential luncheons, Christmas dances and ... guest house accommodations."


In 1948, the office of the Meredith College Alumnae Association resided in one room of Vann Dormitory. But the members of the increasingly busy and fast-growing Alumnae Association knew they needed a home of their own. With the completion of the new auditorium in 1949, the alumnae turned their attention to a five-year plan for fundraising among the membership and for soliciting donations and discounts for plans, materials and furnishings.

In November 1953, the dream came true. The Alumnae House, consisting of a reception room, small kitchen and office, opened its doors with a buffet supper during the annual Alumnae Council meeting. Ten years later, the Alumnae House was expanded as had always been planned, with a wing on each end: the east wing contained two offices and a conference room, while the west wing consisted of four bedrooms, two bathrooms, and a small kitchen. This west wing residential area was available for college guests or for alumnae.

Over the years, the Alumnae House has been the recipient has been numerous gifts from alumnae, professors, college presidents and friends. These items are used to furnish, decorate and entertain: silver, antique furniture, lace tablecloths, a fireplace tender, a grandmother clock and a collection of angels, among many.

In 1964, the Alumnae House was renamed in honor of the recently retired Executive Secretary of the Alumnae Association, Mae Grimmer. Miss Grimmer served in this capacity from 1928 to 1964 and as was largely responsible for the organization’s growth and activities.

In 2002, in anticipation of the college’s growth, the Mae Grimmer Building was moved to its current central location.


1914 senior year photograph of Mae Grimmer

1914 senior year photograph of Mae Frances Grimmer (1895-1983)

Miss Mae Grimmer was an active member of the Meredith College community while a student and graduated in 1914 with a Certificate in Music. In 1928,  she became the first full-time employee of the Alumnae Association as its Executive Secretary. She remained in this post for 36 years, retiring in 1964.  

1949 Palio parade participants with a banner promoting an alumnae house.

Palio Parade, 1949

Alumnae taking part in the 1949 Palio carried a banner advertising their fundraising efforts for the Alumnae House.

Alumnae House under construction in

Alumnae House under construction, 1953

The Alumnae House under construction in "The Grove," from a photograph reproduced in The Twig, 

Photo of groundbreaking for addition of wings to the Alumnae House, 1962

1962 groundbreaking for two new wings

The original plans for the Alumnae House included East and West wings, but it wasn't until 1962 that ground was broken for the new construction. 

Photo of the Alumnae House with newly added East and West wings, 1963

Alumnae House with newly added East and West wings, 1963

The new spaces allowed for a suite of four small bedrooms, intended for visiting alumnae or guests of the college and an office wing, allowing the original center section to be used as a meeting and reception area. 

Portrait of Mae Grimmer painted upon her retirement, 1964.

Portrait of Mae Grimmer, at the time of her retirement in 1964.

Mae Grimmer is credited with establishing the traditions of loyalty, participation and giving characterized by the Alumnae Association to this day.  

2002 photo of the Alumnae House in the process of being moved.

Relocation of Grimmer Alumnae House, 2002

In 2002, Grimmer Alumnae House was moved to its present central location on campus to make room for the new Science and Mathematics Building. In the process of being relocated, the building was split into three sections. When the building as placed in its new home, the wings were purposely switched to allow for the planned new construction.  

Photo of the Mae Grimmer Alumnae House, 2017

Mae Grimmer Alumnae House, 2017.

Over the years, the Alumnae House has been furnished and decorated with gifts from graduates, faculty and friends. Mae Grimmer observed in 1972 that the Alumnae House was "like other homes with a history. This one just belongs to more than a few families."