Lowell House Boasts Fresh Possibilities

A new Admissions building opens on the West Quad.

Photo by Ayman Wadud ’25

For years, prospective students walked into a quaint gothic castle called Ransom Hall to learn more about Kenyon College. In May, the Office of Admissions moved into Lowell House, named for poet Robert Lowell ’40 H’58, on the new West Quad. Studying under Kenyon Review founder John Crowe Ransom, for whom the previous Admissions home was named, Lowell graduated summa cum laude with a degree in classics. He went on to win the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry in 1947, serving as the U.S. Poet Laureate in the same year.

Dean of Admissions and Vice President for Enrollment Diane Anci is excited to have a new hub for all admissions events. “The architecture and setting represent such a high standard of thought, design and construction; a standard and a commitment to excellence well realized across campus,” said Anci. “Lowell House is extraordinary and benefits from important views of Chalmers Library and Oden Hall.” The entirety of the West Quad is set to open within a year, when Oden Hall will host classes starting in the second semester. 

Designed to embody the coziness and warmth of the Norton Room in Ransom Hall, the Lowell living room has comfy chairs scattered throughout to allow for visiting groups of all sizes and a fireplace with colored backlights, naturally glowing purple for the time being. “The living room has always been very purposeful for the smaller groups when they come,” said former Assistant Director of Facility Operations for Project Planning & Management Seth Millam. “We can give presentations in there, and it’s a comfortable space for people to relax.” 

Rather than using the Gund Gallery Community Theater for big visit days, admissions now has the Paul Newman Room on the first floor of Lowell House. With seating for around 100 people, Kenyon students can sit at the front of the room to talk with prospective students. With the bigger space, Anci expects to offer more opportunities to visit Kenyon. 

“The architecture and setting represent such a high standard of thought, design and construction; a standard and a commitment to excellence well realized across campus.”

Diane Anci
Dean of Admissions and Vice President for Enrollment

The Paul Newman Room — named for Kenyon’s most famous maker of salad dressings and a substantial supporter of scholarships — is a flexible space, able to be converted into a dining area or a large conference room. Eventually, Lowell House will be available to other divisions and offices — members of the Board of Trustees will meet there when they come to campus. For now, the Paul Newman Room is helping prospective students learn more about Kenyon. “We remain grateful to colleagues on campus who, for decades, allowed Admissions to reserve space for various meetings and events,” said Anci. “We look forward to returning the favor and sharing this wonderful new space.”

When not conversing with prospective students, admissions staff work on the upper three floors. Compared to the old offices in Stephens Hall, a connected building behind Ransom Hall, the natural lighting is a welcome change. “I find myself inspired by both the light and the vistas and hope that staff does as well,” said Anci. On the second floor, a student worker area gives tour guides and senior fellows room to work and interact with admissions staff. On the opposite end of the building, there is the executive suite with the financial aid office above. The Jenkins Family Conference Room provides meeting space on the second floor, with additional space found on the third in the Hubbard Conference Room. 

An additional conference room on the fourth floor overlooks the east side of campus. For “reading season,” the time when admissions staff go through applications, they’ll gather for the communal process. The fourth floor is an open office concept, one of the first such areas at Kenyon, providing a space for remote admissions staff to work when they are on the Hill. 

Admissions is leaving one building named after a renowned writer alumnus for another. Kenyon’s campus showcases the history of thoughtful design; Lowell House is no different. Said Anci: “It's pretty safe to say that Lowell House is among the most incredible admission buildings anywhere.”