JMU holds building rededication ceremony for renamed buildings

Community members gathered on JMU’s “quad” Friday afternoon for a building rededication ceremony.
Published: Sep. 24, 2021 at 10:33 PM EDT
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HARRISONBURG, Va. (WHSV) - Community members and honorees gathered on JMU’s “quad” Friday afternoon for a building rededication ceremony.

Three halls on the campus were previously named after Confederate military leaders and have been renamed after five individuals who have made a lasting impact on the university.

One of the new building names is “Harper-Allen Lee Hall” after Doris Harper Allen and Robert Walker Lee, both dedicated staff members at the university and active community members.

Another is “Gabbin Hall” after Dr. Joanne Gabbin and Dr. Alexander Gabbin, professors at JMU for more than 35 years.

Lastly, “Darcus Johnson Hall” is named after Dr. Sheary Darcus Johnson, the university’s first Black student, and graduate.

“Robert Walker Lee, Doris Harper Allen, Dr. Sheary Darcus Johnson, Dr. Alexander Gabbin, and Dr. Joanne Gabbin, may the life you live speak for you. You will forever be remembered,” JMU alumna Lisa Winn Bryan said.

These buildings are also the first to be named after Black women on campus.

Some of the honorees were in attendance Friday afternoon.

Harrisonburg Mayor Deanna Reed is a relative of Doris Harper Allen. Allen passed away earlier this year.

“This is well deserved for all the honorees, but for our family, we are grateful that they are honoring our aunt in this way. She worked hard, she was a servant leader. She loved JMU and she loved her community,” Reed said. “We are honored that her legacy will live on.”

Reed added that all of the honorees have a connection to the City of Harrisonburg.

“This is a great time where we are bringing the community and the university together as one,” Reed said.

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