Tag Archives: mocon retrospective

Westrospective: MoCon (McConaughy Hall)

I was scrolling through our Wesleyan University Google Alerts email recently when I came upon a surprising link–someone is selling the old MoCon sign. My first thought upon seeing this was Who on earth would pay $695 for an old sign??? quickly followed by Some student probably stole this when they demolished MoCon in 2010 and is trying to turn a profit almost a decade later. As baffled as I was by this listing on Housatonic Trading Co. (which “offer[s] a curated collection of antique, vintage and modern items including antiquities, jewelry, furnishings, art and decor”), it also seemed like an invitation to dive deeper into the history of MoCon.

Some of you current students (and recent alums) may be wondering, What on earth is MoCon?  Worry not, Wesleying is here to dig up some WesHistory for you and teach you about a beloved and sorely missed Wesleyan institution!

McConaughy Hall: A Physical End

Those of us on campus will notice a significant change to the Wesleyan landcape this year.  That cozy little nook behind Hewitt where MoCon once stood now gives way to a smooth, steep slope.  MoCon is gone.

Over on the Middletown Eye blog, Stephen Devoto has posted a video ode-to-McConaughy illustrating the demolition of MoCon from June 4th to September 6th of this year that’s really worth checking out.   The video, aptly set to “The Great Unknown” by Dar Williams ’89, is available here.  The full post is available here.

Also, here are some photos I took of ground zero earlier this week:

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Today, the grass is finally starting to get green, even if in awkward patches.  It’s interesting to note that no classes remain on campus who have ever dined within MoCon‘s glass walls.  I’m going to be really corny here and say that MoCon lives on in spirit though because of the importance and remembrance alumni have ascribed to it.

Rest in Peace McConaughy Hall, 1962-2010

[Thanks Stephen Devoto for the tip & video]

MoGone [Demolition Update#2]

In this second installment of the Demolition of MoCon Saga, we find McConaughy Hall now reduced to a pile of rubbish.  The metal and glass cylinder that was exclusive to MoCon on campus, is no more.


Meanwhile, The Middletown Press seems to have just realized the issue now that demolition is already underway.  Click here to catch up on some good ol’ townie Wes-hatred in the comments (the article has no new info).

More good pictures after the jump. 


It’s the moment you’ve all been dreading.  The life of McConaughy Hall, opened 1962 and closed 2007, has come to an end.

The Mocalypse is here.

R.I.P. MoCon.

If you’re on campus this summer and see further developments with the destruction of MoCon and the paving over of its home on campus, send us pictures to weep over at staff(at)wesleying(dot)org.

[Photo Credit: Sandy Yudhistira ’12]

Wesleying’s MoCon Retrospective: Part 3- Traditions

Seniors, it’s just about time for you to wrap up your work at Wes and ride off into the sunset with your fancy new piece of paper. There is, however, one last tiny bit of business to take care of before you graduate. (Let’s pretend you’re actually reading this on the Saturday before graduation.) As the last students to have experienced MoCon’s magic, it is up to the Class of 2010 (what what) to bring this magic to the next generation.

We’ve talked about MoCon’s lovable key players and the Mokes-inducing cuisine. But let’s be real here—MoCon was never just about eating. Eating is for state schools. In this last chapter of the MoCon Retrospective, let’s look back at what we actually did in the cylindrical dining hall where fun came to LIVE.

MoCon: The Prequel

“A college should always be stable, but never standing still.” —James L. McConaughy, B.A., M.A., Ph.D., LL.D.

In the beginning, it wasn’t called MoCon. It wasn’t even called McConaughy Hall.

No, when that giant spaceship-shaped monstrosity dining hall first opened its doors in September 1962, it was simply known as the “Freshman Dining Hall.” And that’s what it was; upperclassmen had far classier places to eat: their frat’s eating club, most likely (sup, Chic Chaque?), or Downey House, which apparently served food in the Pre-MoCon Era (is this common knowledge?).

A September, 1962 Argus article (Air Conditioning, Private Dining Rooms Features Of Modern $1,330,000 Foss Hill Dining Area, page two) celebrated the opening of this “ultra-modern structure” to the Class of ’66 on September 16 of that year. Worth highlighting: Blaikie, Miller, and Hines, Inc was the food provider; individual meal costs were $0.75 (breakfast), $1.00 (lunch), and $1.50 (dinner). O 1962, how we miss thee.


*This post has been stickied to the top of the page. Check below for new posts.*

Last semester Michael Roth revealed that the Board of Trustees was considering demolition the likeliest option for McConaughy Hall.  But now that it looks like that will actually happen! Soon!

According to Physical Plant VP Joyce Topshe, Mocon is scheduled for demolition this summer, and is already being stripped down for hazardous material this week in preparation for that larger project.

And we are overcome with nostalgia! As a member of the graduating class of 2010, I am part of the last generation of Wes students to remember what is was like to eat in that giant spaceship, and it is so bittersweet. And we’re not alone – the Save Mocon Facebook group, created last week, already has over 500 members.

So, what to do, if anything? On the one hand, pressing financial concerns and logistical issues limit any further usage of the building. On the other hand, there is overwhelming sentimentality calling for… something… to be done.

According to the Argus, Physical Plant’s assessment of Mocon is that it is “unsound for contemporary purposes” – after almost 50 years of use, it fails to meet standards of environmental friendliness, is expensive to heat and cool, and apparently costs up to $20,000 to maintain when in use; it also has more limited accessibility to people with disabilities and a much smaller seating capacity than Usdan.

Which are all valid points – clearly, there’s no viable way to use the space in anything near its former capacity. The administration has written it off because any renovation of the structure would be costly and inefficient, and wants to do away with it sooner rather than later because it “presents a safety risk” if left standing. Eventually, presumably after a lot more money comes through, new student dorms will probably be built on the location.

People have been throwing around ideas for alternative uses for the structure – what about only sometimes, for events? Yes, Mocon was a much better venue for Halloween dances, and Foss Cross, and Queer Prom, and the B’nei Mitzvah party, than Beckham Hall or the hockey rink. But however inadequate those venues may seem in comparison to those who remember, the novelty factor of keeping Mocon around as a sporadically used event space is likely outweighed by the administration’s concern for the bottom line.

Miles Bukiet ’11, creator of the Save Mocon group, suggests that the expense of temperature control is the biggest kink in the works regarding the possible salvation of Mocon – if we find a use for it that avoids the energy issue completely, perhaps saving it would be worthwhile. Maybe so, but it’s unlikely that we’ll figure out such a use without a large groundswell of support from current students and alumni.

In fact, the University has already considered other options for use of the space which might have been acceptable to current students and alumni attached to the building, even drawing up estimates for how much each one would cost.

Wesleying’s MoCon Retrospective: Part 2- The Food


If there was ever a cafeteria specially engineered to provide for maximum food fight carnage it would have been MoCon. Unfortunately, although I secretly hoped every day that some idiot would throw a cupcake at the wrong person, nothing of the sort happened while I was there. We actually ate the food (most of the time) and my dreams of living a 90’s kid’s show life never came true.  =(

But that’s not to say that procuring, eating, and digesting MoCon food weren’t magical experiences of their own. I had many a movie moment standing in the ice cream line bathed by the light of the setting sun and sitting in Fauver bathrooms as I stared aghast at the alien creature inside of me trying to escape.

For those of you who can’t imagine the romantic tension of staring across a table 10 ft in diameter at your crush who is desperately trying to maneuver an overstuffed sandwich, I’ll try to make it easier for you to imagine such a confusing emotion. And for those who are already familiar with the slight unease of reaching for a triangular (whaaaaat) pizza slice when all you knew was square, I hope to jog some of those repressed memories.

Tonight we dine in MoCon!!

Well, actually, before you go in (i.e., click “Read More”) we need to make sure you follow this fine establishment’s single rule…


Wesleying’s MoCon Retrospective: Part 1- The People


Here we are, it’s the end of the semester and the beginning of Wesleying’s MOCON RETROSPECTIVE!! Everybody say “YEAH” then wave your arms in the air like you just don’t care!!

I’ve been chatting it up with friends, reading your comments on the original post, and the stuff people sent in to us and it’s been a good time. Everybody has a story, even those in the senior class, which only got the legendary MoCon experience for one year. The good and the very bad (I’ll get to this in the next post on Food) were all part of MoCon’s irreplaceable charm. For those of you who never partook in the fine dining experience that was MoCon, I’ll do my best to recreate some of the atmosphere while you read. You should read these posts with lots of friends, some strangers, and one or two dining workers yelling in the background. Put some spices on the stove and let the aroma infuse your breaths with excitement and some apprehension. Find yourself a room that is mostly windows and watch the sun set behind the trees in a totally unromantic way. Pick up a cup and prepare to drop it if you don’t like what I write. And clear some space on your desk for a drumroll.

For those of us who were there for MoCon’s glory, even if at the tail-end of it, I hope you’re already taking your first steps down memory lane. Writing this is even giving me fuzzy feelings and I’m not even high.

Lay back, light up, and let nostalgia do its thing.