The home on St. Lawrence University’s campus that houses the Dean of Student Life and has served as a welcoming space for all students now bears the name of the University’s first Black graduate.
The dedication that honored the legacy of The Rev. Jeffrey Worthington Campbell, St. Lawrence Class of 1933, took place at 16 Hillside Road, Canton, on Saturday, Sept. 25, as part of the University’s Laurentian Weekend. Campbell, who was a Unitarian Universalist minister, essayist, and poet, was also the first Black graduate to be ordained as a Universalist minister by the former St. Lawrence School of Theology in 1935.
In her remarks at the event, St. Lawrence University President Kathryn A. Morris offered her gratitude and thanks to the Black Laurentian Initiative (BLI), a St. Lawrence student coalition that came together after the murder of George Floyd in May 2020 to confront the realities and legacies of racism on campus and beyond and advocate for reforms that empower BIPOC members of the University community.
“I want to acknowledge that the origin of this dedication belongs to the students and alumni who came together to form the Black Laurentian Initiative to promote racial equity and justice,” Morris said. “I am grateful to them and to President Emeritus Fox and the University Trustees for identifying the Campbell House as a physical manifestation of the institution’s commitment to BIPOC people.”
BLI President Diamond McAllister ’22 shared remarks on behalf of the students involved in the effort.
“This commemoration attests to a legacy of Black individuals who have paved the way for me to even be able to stand here and give his speech,” McAllister said. “BLI has been inspired by Jeffrey Campbell since learning about him. We possess that same tenacious spirit for change. By naming this building after him, his legacy lives on, and therefore what he stands for [does] as well. We, as a Laurentian community, are proud to be part of his legacy and to have him be a part of ours. We have come a long way, although there is still work to be done on moving the needle of racism.”
"By naming this building after him, his legacy lives on, and therefore what he stands for [does] as well. We, as a Laurentian community, are proud to be part of his legacy and to have him be a part of ours." -Diamond McAllister '22
Vice President and Dean of Student Life Hagi Bradley, who currently lives in what is now known as the Jeffrey Campbell House, has extended the tradition of the home being a place for students to engage with one another in meaningful ways. Bradley has hosted Thanksgiving dinners for students unable to go home over the break and this year’s Sophomore Rewind orientation activities for the Class of 2024.
“I learned a lot about Jeffrey Campbell Thursday night [during a presentation about Campbell’s life given by Steve Peraza ’06] and how much of an impact he had on St. Lawrence and others,” Bradley said. “It’s an honor to live in the house that bears the name of someone who is so instrumental in the history of St. Lawrence.”