Bryn Mawr College Names New Residential Space in Honor of School’s First African-American Alumna

Posted August 31st, 2015 at 6:21 pm.


President Cassidy and students Grace Pusey, Khadijah Seay, and Danielle Cadet unveil at the Cook Center dedication.

President Cassidy and students Grace Pusey, Khadijah Seay, and Danielle Cadet at the Cook Center dedication.

Bryn Mawr College is pleased to announce the opening of The Enid Cook ’31 Center, a newly renovated residential space that will also serve as the Black Cultural Center. It is the first building on Bryn Mawr’s campus named in honor of an African-American alumna.

While at Bryn Mawr, Enid Cook was denied on-campus housing and lived off campus with a local family.

“Enid Cook was a truly remarkable woman,” said Bryn Mawr College President Kim Cassidy in making the announcement. “In addition to honoring Enid Cook, The Cook Center stands as a testament to the accomplishments of the many women of color who have attended Bryn Mawr and as a reminder of the work that remains to be done in creating a more just and equitable world.”

Enid Cook, Bryn Mawr College class of 1931, in her senior yearbook picture.

Enid Cook, Bryn Mawr College class of 1931, in her senior yearbook picture.

The Cook Center will house the Black Cultural Center and returning students who are members of select student groups. It’s also open to students who share the cultural background of members of those groups and all those who personally identify with the affinity groups.

With a total of 29 new beds, The Cook Center is able to house 22 more students than Perry House, the residence hall that previously housed the Black Cultural Center.

The Cook Center is part of a larger construction project of two connected residence halls on the site of the former Haffner Hall. The Cook Center is a complete renovation of a section of what had been Haffner Hall. The other residence hall, which has yet to be named, is made up of 101 single rooms. The new hall is the first to be built on Bryn Mawr’s campus since 1969.

In addition to rooms for students, The Cook Center features a community room, kitchen and dining area, faculty office space, and a library made with wood from the former cultural center.


Cook Center residents Danielle Cadet, Khadijah Seay, and Stephanie Avila in the library.

ABOUT ENID COOK: Prior to matriculating to Bryn Mawr, Cook graduated from Dunbar High School in Washington, D.C. and spent one year at Howard University, where she was a straight-A student. She transferred to Bryn Mawr in 1927, where she majored in chemistry and biology.  She earned a Ph.D. in bacteriology in 1937 from the University of Chicago, where she went on to become a lecturer in the department of medicine from 1937-1944. In 1944 she married Arcadio Rodaniche, a doctor, and moved with him to Panama, where she served as the chief of the Public Health Laboratory for four years, then as a professor of microbiology at the University of Panama from 1954-1974. A highly gifted and pioneering woman in the sciences, Cook published more than 50 articles in the field of arthropod-borne viruses over the course of her career.

The first African-American undergraduate student to live on campus was Evelyn Jones, class of 1954. Today, students of color make up 31 percent of Bryn Mawr’s student population.

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