Purin Hall was used as an apartment house from 1956 to 1963, when it was purchased by the University from a private owner for $270,000. It was used for housing for Peace Corps trainees for two years, and at that time was called Kenwood Manor. Because of the confusion with the Kenwood Conference center, the name was changed to Purin Hall in 1965. It was named for Charles M. Purin (1872-1957), an outstanding scholar and linguist. He was a language professor at the Milwaukee Normal School from 1915-1921, director of the Milwaukee Extension Division from 1927-1942 and was teaching at the former Milwaukee University School at the time of his death.
After the Peace Corps moved out, the building was used by many different university offices, including the Graduate School (1970-1974), Auxiliary Enterprises (1966-1970), and Summer Sessions (1966-1969). Since 1974 it has been used for graduate student housing.