VIRGINIA STATE UNIVERSITY, VA— In March 2021, VSU announced the removal of the names and signs identifying four buildings saying the buildings were named for individuals whose past beliefs were not consistent with the beliefs and legacy of Virginia State University.
The VSU Board of Visitors has now approved renaming each of the four buildings to honor Black women, all VSU alums, who have made significant contributions to Virginia State University, as it stands today.
The building formerly known as Vawter Hall is now named Lula Johnson Hall for Virginia State Alumna, Lula Johnson who was the first Black woman to graduate from the University. The formerly named Eggleston Hall is now Lucretia Campbell Hall. Alumna, Lucretia Campbell was the first Black woman faculty at the University. The new name for the formerly named Trinkle Hall is Johnnella Jackson Hall. Musician and Civil rights Activist, Johnella Frazer Jackson wrote the music for the Virginia State University’s Alma Mater. The formerly known Byrd Hall is now Otelia Howard Hall. Petersburg native, Otelia Roberta Shields Howard served Virginia State University for more than two decades as a professor, advisor, and a charter member of two organizations on campus.
“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.”
The decision to rename the buildings was to ensure that our campus environment reflects the institution and is a source of pride for the students, faculty, alum and staff who live and work inside those buildings. The selection of the new names is the culmination of deliberate research while taking into account Virginia State University’s current mission, history, values, and beliefs in equality.
“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.”