Home to 49 women, Watkins Scholarship Hall opened in 1926 as the first KU scholarship hall and residents maintain strong bonds with Watkins alumnae.
Residents of Watkins Hall are assigned to one of seven shared kitchens and determine their own monthly kitchen fees. Watkins Hall was updated in 2017.
Elizabeth Watkins is known as "Lady Bountiful" for the many gifts she gave KU, including mutliple scholarships, the Chancellor's Residence, Miller and Watkins Scholarship Halls, and Watkins Student Health Services.
As a 14-year-old girl, Elizabeth Josephine Miller briefly attended the preparatory school at the University of Kansas during the 1874-75 academic year. Unfortunately, hard times for her father’s medical practice prevented her from completing her secondary education or pursuing a college degree.
Decades later, as the widow of wealthy Lawrence businessman Jabez B. Watkins, this formative experience was never far from her mind. On July 1, 1925, the Kansas Board of Regents officially accepted her donation of $75,000 to build a women’s scholarship hall at KU that would give young women an opportunity she herself had never received.
She devoted herself later in life to helping other women achieve the university education she was never able to obtain for herself.
“My sympathy has always been with the girls who must travel uphill,” Watkins told the University Daily Kansan in 1926. “… It has been my dream to aid self-supporting girls to get an education … I have never done anything into which I have put more of myself.”