Funding for the construction of Quinn Hall, as well as for Green and Roosevelt Halls, came from the federal government in 1933. The buildings were designated as a Works Progress Administration (W.P.A.) project, a Great Depression relief program.
The granite Georgian-style structure sits in the southwestern corner of the Quadrangle with only its north end facing the green.
Named after Lt. Gov. Robert Quinn who became governor in 1937, the building opened in 1936 with classrooms, laboratories, offices, and a lecture hall seating 300.
The hall was built to unify the College of Home Economics in one building as the majority of women students at URI studied home economics between 1930 and 1960.
At the time it was constructed, Quinn was the largest building on campus, serving approximately 700 students an hour.
A 1960s renovation updated the building’s interior, changed classrooms, modernized bathrooms and added windows and doors.
In 1977, Quinn became the home of the College of Human Science and Services. A textile gallery was added to the first floor in 1999. Students were (and remain) curators of what is displayed in its exhibits.
Today Quinn is home to the College of Health Sciences, the Department of Textiles, Fashion Merchandising and Design, the Graduate School, and the Program in Gerontology.
The stately buildings ringing the University of Rhode Island’s Quadrangle helped shape the story of the institution. Here, on the occasion of URI’s 125th Anniversary, we present you with a narrative behind the walls of that historic timeline.
**Much of the historic data in this article was culled from information provided by the late Sandy Taylor, a champion of historic preservation and land conservation, who served as University Architect from 1987 until his retirement in 2005. We are also deeply indebted to students enrolled in Catherine DeCesare’s history class last fall who provided additional information. DeCesare is a history coordinator, academic advisor, and lecturer. Finally, we would like to thank Mark Dionne, Archives and Special Collections, for his patience and vast knowledge.