More stories behind the names on the buildings


In recognition of Black History Month, the American Association of Community Colleges invited a dozen of its member colleges to highlight buildings on their campuses that are named after prominent African Americans — whether national, regional or local — and to provide a little background on them.

This second of two articles includes six featured colleges. (Read the first article.)

Motlow State Community College (Tennessee)

The last of two official presidential acts carried out by Arthur L. Walker, Jr., before he retired from Motlow State Community College in 2006 was to host the ribbon cutting and official opening of the college’s first free-standing building on the Motlow State Smyrna Campus in Rutherford County, Tennessee. This historical occasion was the beginning of a new and explosive trajectory for Motlow.

Seated as the fourth president in January 2003, Walker was the institution’s first African American CEO. In 2017, college leaders named the building, recognizing his work in raising hundreds of thousands of dollars and garnering community-wide support for the campus.

Mott Community College (Michigan)

The Lenore Croudy Family Life Center at Mott Community College was named in memory of former board chair Lenore Croudy, who passed away in 2017. The center serves as a tribute to her 29 total years of service and leadership as a trustee, including 21 years as the board’s chair.

The Lenore Croudy Family Life Center is a safe haven for MCC’s students and their families, providing students with challenges related to food, housing, childcare, transportation, healthcare and other personal barriers to academic success, access to support services available at the college and in the broader community.

Odessa College (Texas)

In 2016, Odessa College (OC) opened the Gregory D. Williams Hall, which houses the college’s continuing education programs. It carries the name of OC’s current president, Gregory D. Williams, following the instructions of an anonymous donation.

At the helm since 2007, Williams has led many transformation efforts at the college, from campus-wide new buildings and renovations, to implementing innovative programs to enhance both community and student engagement with the college. Under Williams’ leadership, OC has broken its records in enrollment, student retention, student success and fundraising.

San Diego City College (California)

In January, San Diego City College renamed its arts and humanities building in honor of its former long-time chancellor, Constance M. Carroll, who she served from 2004 to 2021 as CEO of one of the largest community college districts in California. The building is home to the college’s art gallery and black box theatre, and its communications studies, English, fine art, graphic design, honors, labor studies, languages and world cultures programs, among others.

Since retiring, Carroll now serves as president of the California Community College Baccalaureate Association, a nonprofit that supports and seeks to expand four-year degrees at the state’s community colleges in select workforce fields. Carroll is also a national leader in the tuition-free Promise movement and launched the district’s San Diego Promise program, which now serves more than 3,000 students annually. In 2011, Carroll was appointed by President Barack Obama for a six-year term on the National Council on the Humanities overseeing the work of the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 2023, she was appointed by President Joe Biden to the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

Sinclair Community College (Ohio)

In 2000, Building 20 on the campus of Sinclair Community College in Dayton, Ohio, was dedicated to John E. Moore, Sr., former chair of the Sinclair board of trustees and the Sinclair Long Range Planning Committee. The John E. Moore, Sr., Technology Center is home to Sinclair’s automotive and fire science programs.

Moore, who passed away in 2021, aided thousands of Sinclair students through the years by championing access opportunities for those who desire a college education to create a brighter future for themselves, their families and their community. He also volunteered more than 50 years of his time to corporate, nonprofit, local government and grassroots organizations.

Southwest Tennessee Community College

The college’s Maxine A. Smith Center is named after the esteemed civil rights leader and education trailblazer in Memphis and the Mid-South. Serving as a cornerstone for educational advancement in its community, the center embodies Smith’s enduring legacy and commitment to equitable learning. Located in East Memphis, the Maxine Center was established in 2009 and stands as a beacon of academic excellence and accessible higher education. More than just a campus, it’s a hub for uplifting lives and fostering social mobility. The center’s programs and emphasis on cutting-edge technology empower students from diverse backgrounds to pursue their educational dreams, and is home to prestigious programs like cyber defense and aviation.

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