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Holcroft House, the oldest building on campus, is a symbol of the university's heritage. Built in 1821, it was first the home of John C. Clarkson, and for nearly a century served as a private residence for generations of the Clarkson family. Initially, it was called the "Mansion House," but was later renamed Holcroft after Elizabeth Holcroft, daughter of Sir Henry Holcroft, East Hampton, England, and wife of the Reverend David Clarkson. The Clarksons were the university's founding family, and the house is a tangible reminder of their legacy to the institution.
Beginning in 1940, the building was used as a university residence hall. From that time, it has served several functions, including housing to administration, admissions, and health services. The building has been renovated twice: in 1883 a Second Empire mansard roof was added to the top floor, and in the 1980s the building's interior was restored to resemble its appearance in 1850. Handsomely furnished, it now houses undergraduate admissions and is the first building that most prospective students see. While most buildings on campus are less than fifty years old, Holcroft House stands as testiment to the long history of the people who founded this institution.