West Virginia State University Sets Aug. 13 Opening Ceremony for New Residence Hall

Contact: Kimberly Osborne
(304) 766-3363
Aug. 7, 2014
West Virginia State University Sets Aug. 13 Opening Ceremony for New Residence Hall
Building Named in Honor of Distinguished Alumnus Judge Damon J. Keith

INSTITUTE, W.Va. – An opening and dedication ceremony will take place on Wednesday, Aug. 13, for the new Judge Damon J. Keith Scholars Hall on the campus of West Virginia State University (WVSU).

The 10:30 a.m. ceremony will celebrate the opening of the first new residence hall on WVSU’s campus since 1969 and will feature remarks from both state and local officials as well as Judge Damon J. Keith, a State alumnus who has served as a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit since 1977.

“We are excited to be opening our new residence hall as we begin fall 2014 classes,” said WVSU President Brian O. Hemphill. “This remarkable, state-of-the-art facility represents the promise of a bright future in which our students can grow, learn and flourish. It will serve the campus community in new and profound ways and will enhance the lives of current and future Yellow Jackets for generations to come.”

The new Keith Scholars Hall features suite-style living with two-, three- and four-bedroom suites, in addition to a study lounge, café and gaming room for students.

Ground was broken for the new residence hall in September 2013 after the Kanawha County Commission approved the issuance of up to $30 million in bonds to fund construction. Ambling University Development Group is the developer of the 291-bed, four-story residence hall.

The Aug. 13 opening ceremony will feature remarks from: Alana Weyant, a student who will live in the hall; Tom Susman, chair of the WVSU Board of Governors; Mark W. Kelley, chair of the WVSU Foundation Board of Directors; Kent Carper, president of the Kanawha County Commission; Paul L. Hill, chancellor of the West Virginia Higher Education Policy Commission; and Greg Blais, president of Ambling University Development Group.

The ceremony will also feature a tribute to Judge Keith by Detroit area entrepreneur William F. Pickard, as well as remarks from President Hemphill and Judge Keith.

A native of Detroit, Judge Keith is a 1943 graduate of West Virginia State as well as a graduate of the Howard University Law School and the Wayne State University Law School.

As a member of the federal judiciary, Judge Keith has earned a reputation as a defender of the constitutional and civil rights of all people. In U.S. v. Sinclair, commonly referred to as “the Keith Decision,” the Supreme Court unanimously affirmed Judge Keith's landmark ruling prohibiting President Richard Nixon and the federal government from engaging in warrantless wiretapping in violation of the Fourth Amendment.

Judge Keith is the recipient of numerous awards, most notably, the NAACP's highest award, the Spingarn Medal, whose past recipients include the Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., Justice Thurgood Marshall, Mrs. Rosa Parks and General Colin Powell. Other prominent honors bestowed upon Judge Keith include the American Bar Association's Thurgood Marshall Award, the Distinguished Public Service Award from the National Anti-Defamation League and the Detroit Urban League's Distinguished Warrior Award.

A biography of Judge Keith, “Crusader for Justice: Federal Judge Damon J. Keith,” was published in 2013 by Wayne State University Press.

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West Virginia State University is a public, land grant, historically black university, which has evolved into a fully accessible, racially integrated, and multi-generational institution, located in Institute, W.Va. As a “living laboratory of human relations,” the university is a community of students, staff, and faculty committed to academic growth, service, and preservation of the racial and cultural diversity of the institution. Its mission is to meet the higher education and economic development needs of the state and region through innovative teaching and applied research.
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