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Professor Starts Petition to Rename Building on SCSU Campus

SCSU Professor Christopher Lehman, photo by WJON.com's Jim Maurice
SCSU Professor Christopher Lehman, photo by WJON.com’s Jim Maurice
Ruby Cora Webster, photo courtesy of SCSU Archives
Ruby Cora Webster, photo courtesy of SCSU Archives

ST. CLOUD – Tucked right next to Stewart Hall, along the Mississippi River bank, is a St. Cloud State University building with a very ordinary name. However, a professor on campus has started a petition to change that.

Christopher Lehman wants to change the name of the 51 Building to Ruby Cora Webster Hall. He says, if he’s successful, it would be the first building at St. Cloud State named after a person of color. Webster graduated from the St. Cloud Normal School with a one-year degree in 1909.

Lehman says the building needs a new identity.

We have in this case what used to be the Herberger Business School building needing a new name because the Herberger School moved to Centennial.  So that left the building without a name, and the university went back to a number that used to be on a document, the number 51.

He says Webster is the perfect choice for the honor.

She was actually a graduate of St. Cloud High School before enrolling in the St. Cloud State Normal School and becoming an alumnus. So, this person was actually raised in St. Cloud in the late 1800s and early 1900s, and is very much a townie.

The 51 Building houses three departments: English, Ethnic and Women’s Studies, and Political Science.

Lehman says he started his online petition about a month ago. He says the university first needs to create an official renaming policy, then it would be up to the Minnesota State Chancellor to give the final approval.

Lehman would like the building to be renamed during the school’s 150th anniversary celebration in 2019.

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