Alden Hall was opened in September 1958 as a dormitory for 200 women. Briefly known as Women's Dormitory, it was officially dedicated as Alden Hall in February 1959 in honor of Joseph Alden, the first leader of the institution to hold the title of president. The fourth of five dormitories built on Alumni Quadrangle, the dormitory shares a below ground dining hall with Waterbury Hall. Construction of the building was funded by the State Dormitory Authority on land purchased from the Alumni Association. The building was designed by Harold O. Fullerton, and constructed at a cost of $700,000.
Joseph Alden (1807-1885), was the New York State Normal School's first leader to hold the title president (1867-1882). Alden was a firm believer that the study of the English language was just as important as the study of Latin and Greek. President Alden is perhaps best known for his championing of women faculty who, he believed, should be "paid for the work done and not for the sex of the worker." Alden was also concerned about improving the living conditions of female students. During his presidency, the State Normal School accepted and graduated, Senzaburo Kodzu (class of 1867), its first foreign student. Kodzu became a leader in the Normal School Movement in Japan after his return to his native land.