VSU honors Black women alum with renaming 4 campus buildings

Posted at 4:59 PM, Aug 07, 2021

PETERSBURG, Va. - Virginia State University has announced new names for four buildings that now honor VSU Black women alum.

The VSU Board of Visitors approved renaming each of the four buildings to honor Black women, all VSU alums. These alums have made significant contributions to Virginia State University.

The building formerly known as Vawter Hall is now named Lula Johnson Hall. Lula Johnson 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.

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.”

School officials say the decision to rename the building is to ensure that the campus environment reflects the institution.

In March 2021, VSU announced the removal of the names and signs of the four buildings. They say those previous names were based on individuals whose past beliefs are not consistent with the beliefs and legacy of the university today.