Ruby Cora Webster Hall dedication
“I’m excited that Ruby Cora Webster Hall will now serve as a constant reminder of how our students drive our past and our future,” said St. Cloud State President Robbyn Wacker. “It will also serve as a reminder that this university is more than a collection of buildings – it is where dreams and goals become opportunities and reality.”
When Webster attended the then State Normal School and graduated in 1909, there were only three buildings, four if you include the dormitory.
“It is fitting that this building is the one we name in Ruby’s honor, a location that was once at the center of her educational experience,” said Mark Springer, dean of the College of Liberal Arts. “It is also an important and enduring designation that is significant and meaningful to the Webster family, St. Cloud State and its students, staff and faculty, and the people of Minnesota.”
Since 2007, the former Business Building has been known by its street address, the 51 Building. At its simplest and most basic level, that has served the function of giving the bricks and mortar an address. It now houses the Department of English, SCSU’s Writing Center—The Write Place—and the Intensive English Center. It also is home to the Department of Political Science and the Department of Ethnic, Gender and Women’s Studies, where Professor Christopher Lehman serves as chair.
Lehman made the proposal to rename 51 B to recognize Webster, St. Cloud State’s first African American graduate, in December under the university’s newly-implemented Non-Donor Related Naming Policy. The proposal garnered significant support from the community. Prior to submitting his proposal, Lehman collected more than 2,200 signatures in support, and the St. Cloud State Student Government, St. Cloud State Faculty Senate and a number of academic departments, including those that reside in 51 B, adopted resolutions in support of the naming.
“I commend and applaud Dr. Christopher Lehman for his initiative in researching and bringing to light the significance of Ruby Cora Webster to our school’s history and the importance of naming this building after her,” Wacker said. “Ruby is someone from our university’s early history that exemplified hope, courage and resilience and who believed in something greater than herself.”
Family members in attendance included:
- Ruby’s granddaughter, Sue-Ellyn Rempel and her granddaughter, Macy
- Ruby’s great niece Rita Moose, and her daughter Deborah Bowers
- Ruby’s great nephew Mark Cooper and his wife Valerie, son Mark and daughter Markesia