Constructed as a male, freshman residence hall in 1936 and dedicated in honor of Rev. John W. Cavanaugh, Notre Dame's fifth president, Cavanaugh Hall was the first North Quad residence hall.

Cavanaugh was renovated in 1989 and converted to a women's residence hall in 1994. The chapel was renovated in 2000 and now offers air conditioning. Cavanaugh is conveniently located next door to the LaFortune Student Center and Washington Hall.

Cavanaugh's active hall council coordinates events such as dances, educational presentations, the annual Cav Open Ping-Pong Tournament, Naugh Fest Spirit Week, a Christmas Pageant, and Father-Daughter, Mother-Daughter weekends held every other year in the spring.