Dr. Paul A. Chadbourne, MD, DD, LLD, was the third chief administrator of the UW, from 1867 to 1871. Chadbourne had some old fashioned views of education, believing that because women were a distraction for men, they were not serious students. In an effort to follow through with his beliefs, he fought long and hard to have a sexually segregated campus. So, Ladies Hall was constructed in 1871 to house the Wisconsin Female College. This facility was a place for women to live and study — apart from men.
In 1874, after Chadbourne had left UW-Madison, education was desegregated, and men and women began to share classes. It was then that Ladies Hall stopped housing classes and became just a women's dormitory. In 1901, Dean Edward A. Birge, after quite a bit of coercing, renamed Ladies Hall to "Chadbourne Hall," in honor of President Chadbourne. The current Chadbourne Residential College, built in 1959, stands where the old Chadbourne Hall previously stood. The Chadbourne facility was occupied by women only until 1995, when it opened its doors to coeducational living.
The housefellow program was put into effect in 1926. With the opening of Tripp and Adams halls that same year, the Dormitory Committee decided to create a system of student advisers as the proponents of educational programs in the dorms. The name "housefellow" comes from the combination of the "thirty-man subunits or 'houses' within the dorm halls and the instructional responsibilities of the academic graduate 'fellows,' the male student advisers."
The housefellow program was initially led by graduate students. In-state resident housefellows received room and board, and out-of-state resident housefellows received a nonresident student tuition waiver as compensation. The housefellow system lasted like this until 1971, when the university stopped giving out-of-state tuition waivers. This was a major downfall, since most of the graduate students who were housefellows were not from Wisconsin. This, in collaboration with increased federal research grants and the rising need for teaching assistants, allowed undergraduate students to emerge into the housefellow program.