Building renamed for first NC State African-American undergraduate

University College Commons will be renamed Holmes Hall after Irwin Holmes, the first African-American student to receive an undergraduate degree at NC State. The building’s rededication will take place on Nov. 1.

Come November, the University College Commons building on campus will officially be renamed Holmes Hall after Irwin Holmes, the first African-American to receive an undergraduate degree from NC State.

A Durham native, Irwin Holmes graduated from the university in 1960, receiving a degree in electrical engineering. Holmes was one of the first four African-American undergraduates to attend the university in 1956.

During his time on campus, Holmes became a varsity athlete in tennis, also becoming the first African-American athlete to compete for NC State and in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

University College Commons, located on Cates Avenue across from Owen Hall and Tucker Hall, was built in 2007 and houses the Exploratory Studies program, the Study Abroad Office, classrooms and University Housing offices for Tucker, Owen, Turlington and Alexander residence halls.

Chancellor Randy Woodson announced the building’s name change via email Monday, the beginning of Diversity Education Week on campus.

The first building to be named after an African-American on campus was Witherspoon Student Center, named for Augustus McIver Witherspoon, who was the second African-American to receive a Ph.D. from the university. The building, formerly known as the Student Center Annex, was renamed in 1995.

A public rededication for Holmes Hall will be held Nov. 1 during Red and White Week.

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