PETERSBURG, Va. (WAVY) — On Friday, officials at Virginia State University (VSU) announced that four buildings on campus will be named to honor Black alumnae.
The VSU Board of Visitors approved the name change for the buildings after their previous names were removed in March. Officials said the beliefs of the previous namesakes were not consistent with those of the University.
“As an Historically Black University, VSU has always set the tone of celebrating those who came before us to create the legacy that we have today,” said VSU President, Makola M. Abdullah. “ Unveiling names that celebrate and honor amazing black women, especially those who have contributed to our VSU history in such an impactful way, shows that we proudly make space for and celebrate those up-and-coming trailblazers who have in the past, and will in the future, make Virginia State University their home.”
Vawter Hall is now named Lula Johnson Hall in honor of the first Black woman to graduate from VSU. The former Eggleston Hall is now Lucretia Campbell Hall to honor the first Black woman faculty at the University.
In addition, Trinkle Hall is now Johnnella Jackson Hall named for the musician and civil rights activist who wrote VSU’s Alma Mater. Lastly, Byrd Hall is now Otelia Howard Hall in honor of a long-time VSU professor and advisor.
“The return to campus for students is on the horizon and what better way to welcome them back than with improvements to campus. These building will now reflect that very history and mission that Virginia State University is all about,” said Tonya Hall, Vice President for External Relations. “Students can now visit these halls and feel a since of pride in the amazing black women that helped to pave the way for our Institution to be what it is today.”
The new cames come after extensive research into the University’s current mission, history, values and beliefs.