Arizona State College at Flagstaff opened the South Quad Residence Hall's apartment-style units in 1960. The university renamed it in 1987 to honor former Executive Dean and Vice President Virgil Gillenwater for his service to the university.
Since its opening, married couples, single men, sororities, and coeducational students have called Gillenwater Hall home. The building's proximity to University Union, the bookstore, and classrooms makes it a desirable choice for on-campus housing.
Gillenwater Hall is a rectangular structure with an inner courtyard, which residents often use for ice cream socials, volleyball games, barbeques, and other events. Despite warnings by campus police to stay off of the wall, students consider Gillenwater's basalt a prime place to practice rock climbing.