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Buildings History


The Cate-Park Center houses several student services, including the student bookstore and post office. It also contains the offices of Human Resources, Residence Life, and Student Leadership and Service. The building is located on the west side of campus.


The Cate-Park Center was built in two stages.

The first stage, the Cate College and Continuing Education Center,  had its groundbreaking ceremony on Founders’ Day, February 26, 1971; the completed building was dedicated and formally named for Kemp Shields Cate in 1974.  The Center was the last building in the $5 million Meredith College Advancement Campaign.

The new building included the Kresge auditorium, snack bar, game room, bookstore, post office, and a lounge area with a round fireplace.

Kemp Shields Cate, an investment and tax consultant was honored for his generosity to Meredith College. Mr. Cate had multiple family members that attended Meredith College, including his sister Julia Elizabeth Cate Arrowood, niece Jane Cate Fowler, and great-niece Frances Cate (Class of 1976.)

The second phase was initiated in 1995 when the Board of Trustees gave approval for  $1.8 million updates and additions to the Cate Student Center. Construction began in January 1996.  Decisions about the building’s features and design, including a skylight, a game room and color schemes were heavily influenced by student suggestions and planning. Other additions included a new elevator, an ATM machine, a computer lab and the Beehive Cafe. After delays due to weather problems and necessary asbestos abatement, the newly named Cate/Park Center was dedicated on February 14, 1997.

In 1996, the Alumnae Affairs Department initiated the Memorial Bricks Project. For $100, an engraved brick could be purchased and placed as part of the border of one of two patios, one of which is located between Harris Building and Park Center. The project was completed in the fall of 1998. 

In 1999, a mural commissioned by the Class of 1997, was dedicated in the Center. Created by Linda Poole Fitz-Simons (Class of 1973) the mural is a birds-eye view of the campus interwoven with the names of 100 accomplished Meredith College graduates from 1899-1999. The artwork is accompanied with a arrangement of tiles, each with a biography of the honorees and their senior year photograph. 

Updates to the Cate/Park Center were funded in part by the Park Foundation: Dorothy Dent Park graduated from Meredith College in 1936.



Kemp Shields Cate, 1974

Kemp Shields Cate, 1974

President Weems, Board of Trustees Chairman C.C. Cameron, Kemp Shields Cate and Seby B. Jones admire an artist's rendering of the planned building. 

Exterior of Cate Center, 1974

Cate Center, 1974

When it was built, it was observed that the new student union would be "the most unusual building from an architectural standpoint of any other structure on campus." The architectural firm Valand, Benzing and Associates designed the Center and it was built by J.M. Thompson Company of Raleigh. 

'Stereo room' for students and guests

"Stereo Room," in the new student center

According to an article in The Twig, the stereo room was next to the " 'T.V. room' which offers cablevision for students and their dates."

Students in Cate Center in the 1970s

Students in the Cate Center in the 1970s.

Students on Cate Center Staircase, 1970s

Cate Center Staircase, 1970s

Students relax in the Cate Center, 1973

Students relax in the Cate Center, 1973

1936 Meredith College graduation photograph of Dorothy Dent Park

1936 Meredith College graduation photograph of Dorothy Dent, later Dorothy Dent Park.

Construction of the Park addition to the existing Cate Center.

Construction of the Park addition to the existing Cate Center.

Exterior of Park Center

Park Center

Park Center was a 1997 addition to the existing Cate Center.

Exterior of Cate-Park Center, Spring 2017

Cate-Park Center 2017

Park Center Mural with dedication participants

Park center Mural with dedication participants in 1999