Trustees name residence hall, Baker facilities for valued individuals, group
July 2, 2007
By Mary Reed
The Ohio University Board of Trustees last week named a new residence hall and two Baker University Center destinations in honor of two individuals and a group credited with making significant contributions to the university community. Here's a little more about the people behind the names:
The new South Green residence hall slated to open this fall is Alvin C. Adams Hall. In 1959, Adams became the first African-American graduate of the Ohio University School of Journalism. He went on to a career that included working for the Chicago Daily Defender and covering Martin Luther King's "I Have a Dream" speech and Malcolm X's assassination for Jet magazine.
An Athens County native, Adams and his wife, Ada, co-founded the Multicultural Genealogical Center in Chesterhill, Ohio. Ada Adams is a graduate of Ohio University's School of Education. Alvin Adams died in 2004.
The Student Help Center, housed in Baker University Center, has been renamed the Dr. William Allen Student Help Center. Allen worked for Ohio University from 1969 to 2006, the longest term of employment for an African-American administrator in the university's history, and served within University College as an academic adviser, director of advising, coordinator of the bachelor of general studies program, assistant dean and associate dean.
Among his accomplishments, Allen launched LINKS, the first mentoring program at the university focused on improving retention of students from underrepresented groups, and created a nationally recognized faculty advising program to help students who have not decided on a major.
Trustees also formally renamed a third-floor Baker conference room the Women in Philanthropy Room. Women on The Ohio University Foundation Board created the Women in Philanthropy Initiative in 2003 to increase the number of women who contribute to the university and to use financial resources to help students learn and practice leadership and philanthropy. The group sponsored a daylong conference this spring featuring dozens of speakers presenting on such topics as careers, financial literacy, marketing, supporting the arts and philanthropy.
"(These namings are) representative of our maturing as an institution that recognizes and values the contributions of diverse populations," said Bill Smith, who just retired as assistant to the president for institutional equity. "One way that Ohio University has to do that is in fact to name places and things for the people that have made contributions that it values."
This story was modified on Nov. 28, 2007, to remove a reference to the Chicago Defender as the nation's first African-American daily newspaper. Professor of Journalism Patrick Washburn, a noted expert on the black press, points out that the New Orleans Tribune, published from 1864 to 1869, was the nation's first black daily newspaper. When the Chicago Defender became a daily in 1956, it was the nation's largest black daily newspaper.