In 1964, the National Association of College and University Residence Halls (NACURH), Inc. found itself with financial difficulties. Jim Tschechtelin, NACURH Chair, began investigating possibilities for potential revenue sources and grants. Grants were found, but there were two requirements: a central NACURH office had to be established, and the member schools needed more services rendered. Thus, April 25, 1964 at the University of Denver during the annual NACURH Conference the National Residence Hall Honorary was created as an answer to the second requirement — service.
During the preliminary organization, the National Residence Hall Honorary (NRHH) focused on the incorporation of old into new. Campuses with existing honorary organizations were contacted and coordinated into the NRHH structure. The preservation of chapter identity was primary, as it was incorporated into the NRHH structure, and as each campus is aware of its own individual needs. The primary focus of each chapter became the recognition of the residence hall leaders on its campus. This helped sustain a consistent membership in on-campus organizations, as well as, on the regional and national levels within NACURH.
The years between 1977 and 1987 were years of growth for the NRHH. Pins and certificates were produced to recognize the members of the honorary, the tradition of regional and national receptions during conferences began and formal recruitment and affiliation packets were produced. Regional Recruiter (now called Associate Directors) positions on regional boards were also established. Many awards were created including Program, National Communications Coordinator, Advisor, Student, and Resident Assistant Of The Month Awards as well as the NRHH Outstanding Chapter of the Year.
Today, well over 200 chapters are affiliated with the honorary through the NACURH Information Center. NRHH has become more intertwined into the NACURH Corporate Structure by the addition of the National Associate for NRHH (NAN) to the National Executive Team and its continuance to be the organizations major source of recognition. Activities of the chapters vary from campus to campus. Some simply induct new members at an annual recognition banquet every year, thus, an honorary chapter. Others are extremely active on their campuses and in their communities, coordinating leadership retreats, conferences, socials, hall or campus wide programs, fund raisers, and a whole host of other events. Still others have found a middle ground which suits their campus. Membership selection is conducted by each individual chapter. The chapter members represent the top 1% of the student leaders on campus and are those who have contributed extraordinary amounts of personal time and energy in order to make the residence halls more than a “dorm.”
In 2014 at the NACURH Annual Business Conference, NACURH celebrated 60 years in conjunction with NRHH serving our membership for 50 years! As an honorary we have seen many changes over our 50 year history and continue to see that today. We have developed values that guide our institutional chapters and greater organization. In 2016 we developed an NRHH Strategic Plan that looks to build upon the previous success of the honorary and focus on ways we can better the organization for generations to come.