Girls learning, leading, succeeding

Johnstons Renovation

Throughout its history, Dana Hall has held up its strong and vibrant community as a point of pride. In an effort to continue to support Dana’s boarding community, the Johnston dormitories will be substantially renovated beginning June 2016 to better serve our current students.

Celebrating a Legacy

Built in 1964-65, the Johnston dormitories are the largest dormitories on campus, composed of four individual living units linked with common areas for social activities. Today the Johnston dorms house almost 100 students, with one House Director and one House Assistant in each dorm. Undertaking a renovation project of the Johnston dormitories on the 50th anniversary of their opening is an appropriate way to celebrate the importance of the Dana Hall boarding program, the enrichment it provides to the entire community and the students who call the Johnstons home.
$2.5 million
student rooms, lounges, kitchens, bathrooms and outdoor space
Thanks to the generosity of alumnae and parents, Johnston D was transformed during the summer of 2016. The lounge and all rooms were painted, new furniture was added, and new flooring and lighting was installed. In addition, the bathrooms and kitchen were completely updated.
The cost to renovate all of the Johnston dormitories is $2.5 million and as of September 2016 approximately $1 million has been committed.
For information on how you can help renovate the Johnston dormitories, please contact Director of Advancement at (781) 489-1371.


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  • Johnstons' Committee

    Jennifer Adams Knebel ’78, P11, 13
    Kristin O'Donnell Bedard ’97
    Dana Cole ’73
    Kimberly Douglass ’72
    Rebecca Rasmussen Grunwald ’73
    Raquel Lachman ’98
    Laurencina Farrant Lee ’86
    Happy Sprague Rowe ’87
    Lesley Nonkin Seymour ’74
    Heather Wish Staller ’01
  • Naming Opportunities

    $1,000,000 /per dorm 
    $100,000 /per dorm 
    $50,000 /per dorm  
    $25,000 /per dorm  
    $15,000 /per room
  • The History of the Johnstons

    Since the day it opened on September 8, 1881, Dana Hall has offered boarding to its students. In 2014-15, the School had a total of 138 boarding students from all over the country and the world. The boarding program has provided a long history of rich opportunities for fellowship and community and has helped forge the strong relationships that have developed among classmates and faculty.

    Until the Johnston dormitories were built, Dana Hall’s boarding program was comprised of a number of buildings located on Grove Street and Hampden Street including Dana Main, and as many as 18 free standing houses that served as student residences. By 1962 many of the old wooden buildings were showing signs of wear and fire was a constant concern. In 1962, when Dana Hall separated from Pine Manor College and Pine Manor relocated to Chestnut Hill, School leaders decided the campus would move to the old Pine Manor site, beginning with the classroom building. The Pine Manor campus already had a number of living spaces for students including 22 houses and, like the Dana Hall houses, many were in poor condition. 

    The Johnston dormitories were conceived as a new arrangement for school living designed exclusively for seniors, with the theory that buildings would provide an opportunity for more independence to adjust to the freedom of college life. Originally designed to house 128 students and one house family, it soon became evident that more supervision was needed and some of the student rooms were converted to housing for House Assistants. This was a significant change from the norm as the dormitories had been supervised primarily by house mothers.

    The buildings were designed by Hugh Stubbins, an architect who also designed the Citicorp Center in New York, the Federal Reserve Bank of Boston and the Yokohama Landmark Tower (the tallest building in Japan). Construction on the Johnstons began on Alumnae Day, 1964 and was complete on Alumnae Day in 1965. The project cost of $1.2 million was met through the financial support of parents, alumnae and friends.

    The buildings were named after Dana Hall’s fourth Head of School Alnah James Johnston. At the April 25, 1964 groundbreaking ceremony for the Johnston Residence Hall, a humbled Mrs. Johnson predicted the new building “will become a strong and beautiful link between the past and the present, and stand as a promise for a brilliant future.” Dana Hall’s former Head of School was a visionary and champion for progress, playing an integral role in planning the Wellesley campus we know today. 

    All freshmen and sophomore boarding students are assigned to live in the Johnstons, and many choose to remain there because of its proximity to the Shipley Center. Today, the Johnstons' dorms are known as Johnstons A-D; they house 98 students with a range of 22 to 24 girls in each building.  The two other dormitories on campus are Wheeler and Greylodge, accommodating between 30 and 32 students and 14 to 16 students respectively. 


Leadership Gift Officer
Advancement Office
(781) 489-1377

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  • Blue Key

    Favorite Activity
  • Solar Car Races

    Favorite Assignment
  • Western Civilization

    Favorite Dana Class

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  • Nicole Text

    "In Western Civilization, we learn the material in interesting ways and the teachers incorporate different projects that make the information easier to understand."
    -Nicole '16