October 27, 2020
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Black Student Union Center Named for Wanda Howard ’81
Montgomery, Ala.—During a luncheon and presentation held on campus Saturday, October 24, Huntingdon College President J. Cameron West announced officially the naming of the Wanda A. Howard ’81 Black Student Union Center. The Center will be located in the renovated ground floor of the campus building known as The Hut, which is home to the College’s Office of Student Affairs and Office of Health and Wellness staff and is the hub of campus life.
Amber Ford, Huntingdon Class of 2021, serves as president of the BSU and hopes the new facility will be used by all students. “One of the things that attracted me to Huntingdon was how much I felt at home here on campus—how it felt like I could be part of one big family, known and respected for who I am,” said Ford. “I’ve felt that ever since I enrolled. The Black Student Union has a diverse membership; we welcome all students in the spirit of encouraging unity on campus. In fact, we often say we are ‘Inclusive—not Exclusive.’ We want this space to be an extension of campus life and to serve all students. We want it to be a place where we can continue to offer the same kinds of events the BSU has sponsored throughout its history: poetry readings, art displays, speakers, food tasting events, and other gatherings. This is a space to lift up all of Huntingdon College. We’re just part of the family, like everyone else.”
“Wanda A. Howard was a founding mother of the Huntingdon College Black Student Union in 1980, 40 years ago; and she remains a mentor to the Black Student Union 40 years later,” said West. “In 2013, she spoke for the College’s annual Martin Luther King Jr. Convocation. In her address, she spoke of the work of Selina, Countess of Huntingdon, after whom Huntingdon College was named. In particular, she spoke of the Countess’ sponsorship of the poet Phillis Wheatley, who literally wrote her way from enslavement to freedom in 1773. Truly, the Countess’ work stands as a call for the College to remember both its spiritual heritage in Methodism and its commitment to social justice as a College of the United Methodist Church.”
Howard, who graduated in the Class of 1981, has long been a supporter of Huntingdon students, particularly in the Black Student Union and in the women’s basketball program. She was honored with induction into the Athletic Hall of Fame in 2011 in recognition of her sportsmanship. Although Huntingdon College did not offer women’s sports when Howard was a student, she was a leading student-athlete in intramural sports in addition to her extensive involvement and leadership in other campus organizations. She served as Ligon Hall president, SGA senator, and stage manager for theater productions. After graduating, Howard went on to a career in project management. She has served on the College’s board of trustees for 11 years and chairs the Alumni Working Group of the Huntingdon College Race and Justice Initiative.
In his remarks at the dedication ceremony, West said of the decision to dedicate space to the Black Student Union, “It is a calling to live into a way of life rooted in the Hebrew prophets and in the lives of Jesus and the Apostles … into The Beloved Community [that] acknowledges the inescapable network of mutuality among the human family… May the Black Student Union be a continuing witness to The Beloved Community, and may the space which we set aside, name, and dedicate today—the Wanda A. Howard ’81 Black Student Union Center—be a place where that witness faithfully happens.”
Full renovations to the space are expected to be underway during the College’s extended winter holiday break.
Huntingdon College is a coeducational residential liberal arts college of the United Methodist Church.