larger logo


Welcome to Kitchen 8

Elizabeth Miller Watkins, through generosity, creativity, and foresight, created Watkins and Miller Scholarship Halls at the Univeristy of Kansas with the "dream to aid self-supporting girls to get an education."

As all Miller and Watkins residents know, each hall has 7 small kitchens. Although the use of the 7 kitchens has evolved over time, they still remain an integral part of life and camaraderie within the halls. Our organization serves as a link between the past and present women of Miller and Watkins as a metaphoric "Kitchen 8."

You are Invited to a Program
About JB Watkins

Dr. Dennis Domer, retired KU professor, will present a program on J.B. Watkins and the Watkins Building. The free presentation will take place at the Watkins Museum of History at 1047 Massachusetts St. in Lawrence, KS.

Dr. Domer will focus on how J.B.’s business practices influenced the design and function of his building. He will also share information he has uncovered on J.B.’s sometimes contentious relationships with the Lawrence business community.

Dennis is a very entertaining speaker and will certainly provide some insights into our “common ancestor." For more information visit the website at

The Douglas County Historical Society, a non-profit organization established in 1933, preserves the heritage of Douglas County and encourages civic engagement by sharing stories of the people and events that have been shaped our communities. Since 1975, the Society has operated by the Watkins Museum of History. The Watkins Museum, housed in the 1888 Watkins Land Mortgage and National Bank Building, provides educational resources and activities, programs and public events, and changing exhibits that explore the heritage of Douglas County and connect the past with issues that affect our communities today.

2014 New Women Dinner Rekindles Ties to Past, Builds Ties to the Future


Each year Kitchen 8 brings a homemade salad bar to Watkins and Miller Halls, inviting the new women of the halls, hall officers and each Scholarship Hall Director to join them for dinner. This year we met at Miller Hall at 6 pm on Tuesday, September 9th. This is an evening dedicated to welcoming our new residents, giving them a booklet of history about Mrs. Watkins and letting them know who Kitchen 8 is and how we wish to help them. 

Miller Hall had 24 new women this fall and Watkins had 16. There were also several second-semester transfer women who attended. Two of the women who were transfers especially thanked K8 for the evening, as they have lived in Watkins or Miller for a period of time, so perhaps had more curiosity about the origins of the halls then the newly-moved-in freshmen. It was a delightful evening for all with great conversations!  Each K8 member who came to help introduced herself, gave a comment or two about life within the halls when they lived there, and offered her help to the residents in any way that would be helpful. These were heartfelt and generous words. 

A lovely surprise at this event was Susan Anderson, whose niece is a new woman at Miller.  She had heard about K8, called and asked if she could attend and help. “ Yes!” was the answer, and she was indeed helpful and most welcome. Thanks also go to: Gayle Barry Matchett, Bev Runkle Benso, Judy Johnson Niebaum, Paula Hopkins Wrigley, Mary Emerson Gomez, Stevi Ballard, Valentine Baumann, Camille Olcese, Laura Draxler Sixta, Ann Branden Fahrbach and Emily Hane.  

After the New Woman Dinner, we K8 members were invited to Tribute Night at Watkins Hall, where “Lizzie and Jabez” came to life in a skit, telling about their lives.  Under cloudy and threatening skies, we all convened outside for the traditional candlelit singing of ‘My Sweetheart of Lilac Lane’ and the reciting of ‘The Creed’.   Someone thoughtfully remarked that Elizabeth must have had a word with the Creator, as she held off the rain until we had finished our candlelit ceremony! 

CLICK HERE for more photos from the evening's events.

Our Mission

Kitchen 8, K-8, is an alumnae organization comprised of residents, past and present, of these halls and other supporters of Mrs. Watkins' tradition. As the official keepers of her legacy we endeavor to provide a community of support for previous, current and future residents through mentorship, charitable contributions through the Elizabeth Miller Watkins Memorial Scholarship Fund with the Greater Kansas City Community Foundation, staying informed of the condition of Watkins and Miller Scholarship Halls and striving to follow her example of compassion and selflessness.