Four separate residence halls for graduate students and medical students at Arkansas State have been dedicated as The Circle. The halls are named to honor the first African American professors and administrators at Arkansas State. They came to Arkansas State in the 1970s. Dr. Wilbert Gaines, Dr. Herman Strickland, and the families of the late Dr. C. Calvin Smith and the late Dr. Mossie Richmond were honored during the ceremony. Associate Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs at Arkansas State University is Dr. Lonnie Williams.
“Arkansas State becomes the first predominately white institution of higher education in Arkansas that has multiple buildings named on its campus after African Americans,” says Williams.
Dr. Kelly Damphousse is chancellor of Arkansas State University.
“This building is not the end of our efforts to make this a better place and a more welcoming place, but it is the beginning,” says Damphousse. “We are excited about this private-public partnership that will make our university better.”
Each family received a plaque during the ceremony. Dr. Wilbert Gaines, Associate Professor Emeritus of Physical Education at A-State, spoke about a recent trip he made to pay respects to his parents from his hometown of Helena.
“I told them how gracious this university has been to us,” says Gaines. “This is a beacon of light. I know that we didn’t make this journey by ourselves.”
Dr. Herman Strickland who is Associate Professor Emeritus of Teacher Education and the Dean of University College, honored Richmond and Smith for helping him at the university.
“I was a successful faculty member here and I was able to receive tenure and promotion because of the people that I was associated with here at Arkansas State, especially Calvin Smith and Mossie Richmond.”
The residence halls will be used by students when school starts this fall.