History of Collins LLC

Collins Living-Learning Center was established in 1972 as one of the first of its kind in the United States. Before it became a living-learning center, our Quad was home to the Men’s Residence Center, famous for its victorious teams in the Little 500 as well as Olympic swimmers. Collins pioneered educational programming, introducing student-taught workshops (Q199 classes) as well as the Board of Educational Programming, in which students interview potential seminar instructors and collaborate with faculty to assemble the curriculum. Collins students have been publishing an annual arts and literary magazine for over forty years. Many other traditions mark the year at Collins, creating a lifetime of memories that you will become part of.

The Collins gnomes

Three stained glass windows in the lobby of Edmondson Hall depict gnomes involved in different activities. These gnomes show up on our t-shirts, in our publications, and even in our slogans:

  • “Home is where the gnome is”
  • “We put the ‘know’ in gnome!”
  • “There’s no place like gnome”

Student Historian

Jillian Blackburn (she/her)

Jillian Blackburn (she/her)


  • jilblack@iu.edu

Hi, I’m Jillian!! I’m a freshman studying Public Relations with a minor in Spanish, and I’m also in the PACE program. Hence my choice to serve you as Collins Historian! I’m looking forward to organizing events that highlight the vibrant history of the LLC and the beautiful buildings in which we reside, as well as document the history that we are currently making. When I’m not obsessively checking my email or making late night Chesh runs, I love spending time with my friends, watching video essays, and crushing my personal record on the New York Times mini crossword.

Collins history timeline

  1. 1924

    Washington Hall completed (first IU men’s dormitory), renamed South Hall in 1925 and Smith Hall in 1959.

  2. 1940

    West Hall (Edmondson from 1959) and North Hall (Cravens from 1959) completed, creating the Men’s Residence Center (MRC).

  3. 1942-1943

    Ralph L. Collins serves as headmaster at MRC.

  4. 1949-1950

    Construction of Hillcrest Apartments is completed on Fess between 10th and Cottage Grove.

  5. 1951-1953

    MRC bike teams win the first three consecutive Little 500s: South Hall Buccaneers in 1951; North Hall Friars in 1952 and 1953 (never since repeated as of writing).

  6. 1961

    Woodlawn Dormitory Complex, including Brown and Greene Halls, built between Cottage Grove and 11th, Woodlawn and Forrest.

  7. 1969

    Mark Spitz, 7-time Olympic gold medal winner (in 1972 games), lives in Cravens and swims for IU.

  8. 1970-1971

    The MRC officially goes co-ed.

  9. 1972

    The “Save the MRC” student campaign prevents the halls from becoming office and classroom buildings and creates the Living-Learning Center. First known as the MRC-LLC, it is one of the first institutions of its kind in the U.S.

  10. 1972

    The Board of Educational Programming (BoEP) was fundamental to the creation of the LLC in 1972.

  11. 1976

    Creation of student taught Q 199: Residential Learning Workshop

  12. 1976

    Creation of the Dancing Star arts and literary magazine

  13. 1977-1989

    Professor Ernest Bernhardt Kabisch (for whom the coffeehouse is later named) serves as Collins director.

  14. 1978

    The first Dickens Dinner takes place.

  15. 1978-1979

    LLC student activity fee starts at $10 a semester.

  16. 1979-1980

    The first MRC-LLC yearbook is created.

  17. 1980

    Brown and Greene Halls (“the Hill”) become part of MRC/Collins.

  18. 1980

    The first Renaissance Fair which would later become CollinsFest.

  19. 1980-1981

    The MRC-LLC is renamed the Ralph L. Collins Living-Learning Center.

  20. 1983

    The first Viennese Ball takes place.

  21. 1989

    Students petition and protest the Psychology department’s proposal to take over Brown and Greene.

  22. 1990

    Creation of the student-run Cheshire Cafe.

  23. 1990-2004

    Carl Ziegler serves as Collins director.

  24. 1998 (or earlier)

    Creation of the Collins Clubhouse in a nearby residential house owned by IU.

  25. 1998

    Collins Arts Council is created.

  26. 1998

    Collins celebrates the 25th anniversary of being an LLC, with a large alumni reunion in the summer.

  27. 1998-2000

    Collins acquires all but the north wing of Hillcrest apartments

  28. 2004

    Clubhouse moves to Brown Hall.

  29. 2004-2011

    Ellen Dwyer serves as Collins director.

  30. 2010

    Creation of The Pipe & The Barrow, scholarly magazine.

  31. 2011-2018

    Carl Ipsen serves as Collins director.

  32. 2012

    Summer reunion to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the LLC.

  33. 2012

    Collins Sustainable Food Committee is created and Smith kitchen (“Smitchen”) is renovated.

  34. 2015

    Brown and Greene torn down to make way for Luddy Hall. The Clubhouse moves to Hillcrest.

  35. 2018

    Padraic Kenney becomes director.

  36. 2019

    Collins receives an Indiana University Bicentennial Historical Marker.


  37. 2019

    SustainCollins program is established
  38. 2020

    Lara Kriegel becomes director.
  39. 2021

    Collins LLC moves to Foster-Shea for the year while the Main Quad is renovated.
  40. 2022

    Renovations on the Collins quad are completed and the LLC moves back to its buildings for Fall of 2022.
  41. 2022

    ACT Humanities program is established
  42. 2023

    With the renovation completed, Collins LLC celebrates its 50+1 anniversary with an alumni reunion attended by over 250 alumni.