“R-U-S-K Huskie Ruskies all the way, Number one we’re lots of fun, Throw it back until it’s done, R-U-S-K party hardy everyday, Hot damn body slam, WE LOVE RUSK!” – Rusk Cheer (Quips and Cranks, 2005)
The first all-female house on Patterson Court, Rusk Eating House helped pave the way for the modern court.
Rusk members and guests enjoy Rusk’s famous hospitality
Despite the presence of co-ed organizations on Patterson Court after women were admitted to Davidson College in 1973, there was soon a rallying cry for an all-female eating and social venue on the Court.
Opponents of an all female eating house usually feared the arrival of sororities. Supporters of such a house argued that the house would be non-selective and non-national.
By April 1977, forty-six female students had signed into Rusk Eating House, which would open in the fall of that year. Nineteen of the women were rising juniors and seniors and twenty-seven were sophomores.
Rusk Eating House was named after Dean Rusk, and began the continuing tradition of naming female eating house after Davidson alumni.
Rusk moved into house 11 on Patterson Court. The college helped furnish the house, and Kappa Alpha donated picnic tables. Board was $270 a semester.
By the early 1980s, Rusk had grown so popular that it was filled to capacity and had a waiting list. Warner Hall opened in 1982, relieving Rusk’s over-population.
One of Rusk’s most famous traditions is its “Heaven and Hell” party, occurring annually since at least 1985. The main floor of Rusk is transformed into heaven, while its basement becomes hell. The ladies of Rusk and their guests chose to dress as angel or demons for the evening.
Rusk Eating House remains strong into the twenty-first century and proudly celebrated its thirtieth anniversary with an alumni reunion at Davidson Homecoming in Fall 2007.
Author: Tammy Ivins
Date: September 2007
Cite as: Tammy Ivins, “Rusk Eating House” Davidson Encyclopedia September 2007 <http://libraries.davidson.edu/archives/encyclopedia/rusk-eating-house/>