Built in 1852 as a faculty residence, the J. Stewart French Alumni House is one in a group of three similar structures that are the College's oldest buildings still on their original foundations. From around 1893 until 1964, Stewart French served as home to each of the College's presidents and, for years, it was known simply as "President's Home." After serving a few years as a student residence hall and then an office building, it was officially designated in 1984 as the college Alumni House. In 2006, the French House was renovated to house the offices of Development and Alumni Affairs.
The house is named for Emory & Henry's 11th president (1920-22), a colorful man who mildly scandalized the community because he smoked cigars and played golf.