Before the construction of the Quad in 1894, Penn had maintained just a few small dorms because the majority of students were local residents who commuted to campus. As Penn began to expand and offer new academic programs, accepting more students from across the country and the world, the University began building more dorms. Additions to the Quad’s complex of buildings were completed in 1929.
Interest in Irish studies increased at Penn in the 1980s as the territorial conflict that began in 1968 continued over the constitutional status of Northern Ireland. In 1981, the lord mayors of Belfast, Northern Ireland, and Dublin, Ireland, came to Penn as part of their U.S. tour of East Coast cities with the charity Co-operation North to promote reconciliation between the Protestant and Catholic communities in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland.