by Michael C. Lowe | May 01, 2011

Few venues evoke prestige, scholarship and heritage like the halls of an Ivy League university. From the grandeur of Cornell's Memorial Room to the woodsy, lakeside locale of the Dartmouth Outing Club House, the following seven  institutions offer planners unique historical spaces for inspiring agendas. (Note: An eighth member of the Ivy League, Princeton University, is omitted here because the school's venues are not typically available for rent.)

Most campuses require organizations to acquire university sponsorship in some way, and venue availability is determined by school and university-related event schedules; planners are advised to contact desired sites as early as possible.

Brown UniversitySayles Hall
Providence, R.I.
(401) 863-3100

The Romanesque-style Sayles Hall was built in 1881 and houses the world's largest Hutchings-Votey organ. Ornate woodwork and portraits of men and women associated with the university adorn the walls of this prestigious venue, which accommodates up to 350 people for receptions.

Columbia UniversityCasa Italiana
New York, N.Y.
(212) 854-162

Within Columbia's campus sits a neo-Reinaissance-style palazzo known as Casa Italiana. Built in 1927 as the center for the Italian Department, the venue features several meeting spaces, including the third-floor library with wood-paneled walls, antique carpets and leather upholstery, suitable for events of up to 65 people. For larger groups, the Teatro can accommodate up to 197 and is adorned with elegant chandeliers, ornately coffered wooden ceilings and a performance stage. The room is equipped with wireless Internet and is capable of live web broadcasting.

Cornell UniversityWillard Straight Hall
Ithaca, N.Y.
(607) 255-6290

In 1925, Willard Straight Hall opened as Cornell University's student union and has seen its fair share of history, including an African-American student takeover protest in the late 1960s. The hall's Memorial Room, a Gothic Revival space featuring flying buttresses, wood-beamed ceilings and stone carvings, is available for events of up to 299 attendees. The attached Ivy Terrace features views of downtown Ithaca and Cayuga Lake.

Dartmouth UniversityThe Dartmouth Outing Club House
Hanover, N.H.
(603) 646-3749

Set on the banks of Dartmouth's picturesque Occom Pond, the Dartmouth Outing Club House (referred to as the D.O.C. House) was built in 1929 to serve as a clubhouse and ski center. Guests are welcomed into a square-pillared portico before entering the lodge's rustic interiors, with mounted moose, bison and deer busts, historical photographs and working fireplaces. The space includes a back patio overlooking the pond that can seat 16 for dining, while the house in its entirety can accommodate up to 110 seated.