The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

The Student News Site of North Carolina A&T State University

The A&T Register

Board of Trustees renames two campus buildings after N.C. A&T alumni

Courtesy of Lauren Mitchell and Jamille Whitlow

The era of Morrison and Cherry Hall on North Carolina Agricultural & Technical State University’s campus has recently come to a close.

The Board of Trustees recently had a meeting to reform the infamous hall names so that they no longer represented a history of white supremacy. Last year, controversy arose regarding the use of Governors Robert Cherry and Cameron Morrison’s names being used on campus.

The two oldest buildings on campus will now represent alumni who were celebrated for numerous accolades throughout the years.

Speight Hall is the newly named building replacing Morrison Hall, a freshman dormitory. Monroe Hall will be replacing Cherry Hall, an engineering building next to McNair Hall.

Speight Hall is named after Dr. Velma Speight, Class of 1953 alumna and formerly known as “Miss Aggie Pride.” Dr. Speight received her bachelor’s degrees in french and mathematics from N.C A&T and obtained her master’s and doctorate degrees from the University of Maryland.

She has completed copious amounts of work in the field of education amongst numerous schools as an educator: from Johns Hopkins University, University of Maryland and Loyola College. 

She also served as one of the past chairwomen for the A&T Board of Trustees and director of Alumni Affairs since 1993 and continued to serve N.C A&T up until her retirement. 

In 2006, due to her involvement at N.C. A&T, the university gifted Dr. Speight with a Doctor of Humanities degree and named the Alumni-Foundation Event Center after Dr. Speight. Additionally, this incredible woman is a part of the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame that honors alumni from Historically Black Colleges and Universities. 

As for Monroe Hall, the building takes the name of Dr. Joseph Monroe. Dr.Monroe graduated from N.C. A&T in 1962 with bachelor’s degrees in French, English and mathematics. Along with his education at N.C. A&T, he Monroe acquired M.S and Ph.D. degrees in computer science at Texas Agricultural and Mechanical University. This makes him the first African-American to obtain a doctoral computer science degree in the United States.

Following his years at N.C A&T, Dr. Monroe proceeded to serve in the United States Air Force where he served as a Second Lieutenant and was chosen to be associate professor of computer science in the Air Force Academy. Dr. Monroe is the first African-American to be elected as full professor at the U.S Air Force Academy. 

After serving his country, Dr. Monroe returned back to N.C. A&T where he became the Dean of College of Engineering. Because of his outstanding work, the College of Engineering found a surge in funds and an increase in the number of Black professors in the program. In 2019, Dr. Monroe had a Skybox Suite at the Truist Stadium named in his honor.

Throughout his career, he has achieved countless awards:

  • U.S. Department of Defense Superior Service Medal for Superior Service and Teaching (1987)
  • U.S. Air Force Legion of Merit Service Medal for Outstanding Teaching and Research ( 1974, 1978, and 1982)
  • National Technical Achiever of the Year by the National Technical Achievers Association (1992)

Students on campus are both enthused by the fact that these buildings are being given a new beginning and believe it to be something new for everyone. Liyah Wilson, a freshman chemical engineering student, believes that this is a fresh start for all students. 

“Everybody already knows the names of the buildings being Cherry and Morrison, but for future generations of Aggies coming in, it won’t have that name anymore, but it’s for a good reason. 

Some are excited for the new buildings to honor black history. Sophomore class president and economics student, Jasmine Amaniamponge, is excited for the new buildings to honor black history. “…I think it’s important to recognize black people who have done great things and I love how they’re changing the name to people who represent better for our people, ”  Amaniamponge said. 

All in all, the renaming of N.C A&T’s oldest buildings brings much-needed change.

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