Mather House

You may be turned off by concrete at first. Regal old Harvard—mantelpieces, window seats, chandeliers—that’s what turns you on.  But after moving into Mather, you’ll be welcomed into a vibrant House community, get invited to one of the parties that occur here each weekend, and hook up with a hot Matherite in your (guaranteed) single. Concrete is seductive.

Dining Hall

Matherites are blessed with a bright and airy dining hall with cushioned seats, plenty of room (none of that awkward I-can’t-fit-between-chairs crap you see in Adams), a variety of table sizes (admit it, you prefer two seats between you and the nearest acquaintance/awkward former hook-up), and full-length windows that gaze directly onto the river. There’s even a book-exchange shelf! Dining Hall Manager Michelle will know your thesis topic, favorite food, and go-to bad-day outfit. Mather has no dining restrictions. (Feel the democracy. Feel the love. Okay, feel the distance.) The food is premium HUDS, it never runs out, there’s plenty of variety at the salad bar, and the grill chefs have skillz.

Score: +500 for staff friendliness, -20 for occasional blinding sunlight from the windows

Common Spaces

Mather has a standard Junior Common Room (comfy couches, regulation size ping pong table, flat screen TV, convenient kitchen), a “Big TV Room” with a pool table and enough seating for a respectable Super Bowl party, and a “Small TV Room” with a popular foosball table. But what really sets Mather apart is the 24-hour library with a sweeping (concrete) spiral staircase and two-story windows. Pulling an all-nighter? Come to the d-hall, where brain break is available until breakfast, 20 of your closest friends are doing that CS50 problem set, and at least one other hapless soul will commiserate with you as you watch the sunrise over the Charles. 

Score: +75 for late night d-hall community, -100 for foosball procrastination


Mather’s motto is “singles for life,” which refers to the fact that all Matherites are guaranteed a single—either a medium-sized one within a spacious, sunlit, low-rise suite, or a huge one in Mather’s 18-story tower. Suites consist of four, five, or six bedrooms located above or below  a common room large enough to fit three futons, a bunk-bed-turned-double-decker couch, and a big screen TV (it’s been done). Tower rooms are in clusters of five, and while they don’t have common rooms, they do boast striking views of the Charles and Boston. Sure, the walls are concrete and you’ll never get to pace the same floorboards as John Quincy Adams or decorate your very own non-functional hearth, but you’ll also never discover roaches crawling out of your shower drain (summer in Dunster: a bad idea).

Score: +1,000,000 for sexy rooms, -500 for recent mouse infestations (but hey, they're cuter than roaches!)

House Spirit

Every (bi-weekly) Mather Happy Hour ends with a medley of Mather songs, yelled at the top of Mather lungs by hugging, jumping, swaying Mather patriots. This House has not one, but two mascots, a gorilla and Leighdra, a lion named after outgoing House Masters Sandra Naddaff and Leigh Haffrey. Mather-Open overflows with YouTube recommendations, inside jokes, lively debates, and requests for everything from decongestant pills to pipe cutters, all of which are always promptly answered. Mather invented the Housing Day video when it sent “Mather House: The Movie” to all freshmen in 2008, and it continues to dominate the genre. But perhaps the greatest demonstration of Mather spirit is the Louie Cup, a weekly intra-House competition that pits teams against one another in pancake eating, coffee pong, and paper clip trading. The guy in charge wears a cape. 

Score: + 1,000,000,000 Mather love points, -3 occasional e-mail overload on Mather-Open


Let’s talk about priorities for a moment. Mather overlooks the Charles, Louie’s Superette—purveyor of wine, beer, and junk food—is just around the corner, and the Mather Express rolls right up to the gate. It takes savvy speed-walkers 9 minutes to get to Sever, 13 to the Science Center. So what? It’s not like you have to walk through the skeevy Cambridge Common, and you can stop by to see all of your friends in lesser Houses on your way to class.

Score: -50 convenience points, +1000 for not being the quad


Some inside info on Mather: Every month or so, a new modern art installation goes up in Mather’s main entryway, aka the Three Column Gallery. The House is also home to a woodturning studio and a pottery studio; it hosts classes in both. The low-rise suites are connected to one another via a complicated network of fire doors and shared bathrooms, opening up the possibility of 8-to-14-man rooming groups and sick games of Assassins (the winner last year hid in his final victim’s closet for six hours). Finally, never ask the Mather-Open for the fax machine, but get excited when someone reports finding it.

+2,390,483 fax points

Committee Rank: 5 out of 12, you're tied with Lowell.

Our Rankings So Far:

5. Lowell

5. Mather

7. Quincy

8. Currier

9. Leverett

10. Dunster

11. Cabot

12. Winthrop

Photo by Kane Hsieh '12, Crimson Staff Photographer.


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