New Residence Halls to Honor Trailblazers

Photo collage by Valerie Morgan

Two residence halls under construction on North Campus will be named after trailblazing Terps who played important roles in diversifying the University of Maryland campus.

Johnson-Whittle Hall will honor Hiram Whittle, the first African American man admitted to the university, in 1951; and Elaine Johnson Coates, the first African American woman to graduate with an undergraduate degree, in 1959.

“I had no idea when I walked on to the campus of University of Maryland in 1955, that 65 years later, you would still be speaking of me,” she says. “I’m thankful to the university for honoring me, for letting me know that my journey mattered, and now letting my journey become my legacy.”

Pyon-Chen Hall will honor Pyon Su, who earned a B.S. degree in 1891 as the first Korean student to receive a degree from any American college or university, and Chunjen Constant Chen, who in 1915 became the first Chinese student to enroll at the Maryland Agricultural College (now UMD), and who later taught Chinese on campus from 1956 to 1967.

The decision to name the residence halls after Whittle, Johnson Coates, Chen and Pyon is one of several initiatives and recommendations that Darryll J. Pines outlined on July 1, his first day as university president, to build a more diverse and welcoming campus community.


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