By Nancy Rutman ’84, Fall 2023
Tucked away in sometimes-forgotten corners of Moravian’s campuses are various spaces that once served as dining halls. In the earliest days, when the women’s and men’s colleges were separate and more of the student body came from the Bethlehem area, many students enjoyed home-cooked meals with their families. Resident students were kept fed by cooks employed by the two colleges.
From 1848 to 1867, students at Moravian College for Women gathered for meals in a refectory (a.k.a. dining hall) on the ground floor of the Old Chapel (we know it today as Hearst Hall). When the New Chapel, today’s Peter Hall, was built in 1867, the old refectory was remodeled into a kitchen and joined to a new refectory on the ground floor of Peter Hall. This combined space, now known as Clewell Dining Hall, is still providing meals 156 years later.
On the women’s college campus, food preparation was not only a student service but for many years part of the curriculum. Women were taught food science as part of their home economics education, and dedicated kitchens were equipped for this purpose. Unfortunately, cooking didn’t make it into the men’s curriculum.
As for where the men ate, head to North Campus and Zinzendorf Hall, home to the English Department, and you’ve come to the former dining hall of the men’s college and seminary, built when the men moved from East Church Street to Main Street in 1891 (see Moravian Moment, Spring 2023).
Moving up to the 20th century, Moravian transitioned from having an in-house cooking staff to hiring contractors for its food services. Slater Food Service Management operated the dining hall in the North Campus Refectory as of the late 1950s, just before those dining facilities were relocated to the new College Union Building—now the Haupert Union Building (HUB). In 2001, long-time contractor at Moravian, Wood Dining Services, was purchased by Sodexo, the current providers of meals, snacks, and drinks on campus.
Today Moravian students can choose from several meal plans and are able to consult a registered dietitian on staff to make sure those plans accommodate any special dietary needs.
The Star Campus Restaurant serves as the main dining hall on North Campus while Clewell Dining Hall serves the South. Also on North Campus, students can stop into the Blue & Grey Café for lunch, dinner, or late-night noshing.
The newest dining venue on campus is DeLight’s Café, which opened on the ground floor of the Sally Breidegam Miksiewicz Center for Health Sciences in the fall of 2017, continuing a Moravian tradition of satisfying students’ appetites for good food as well as their appetites
Students enjoy a conversation in the CUB dining room in the 1960s.
Costs per semester for board (meal plans) over the years:
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