The Troy University Board of Trustees voted unanimously Wednesday to rename Bibb Graves Hall to John Robert Lewis Hall, after the congressman and Civil Rights leader dubbed “the boy from Troy.”
“I often think of how many thousands of lives were saved from his philosophy of nonviolent change,” said Troy Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr. “He was an element of change, a great citizen, and we are indeed delighted that the signature building on our main campus in Troy will be named after Congressman John Robert Lewis.
“It speaks volumes about the diversity of this university and the values of this university, and we proudly take this step into the future.”
A dedication ceremony will be held in the coming months, according to Troy’s administration.
The building was formerly named for Bibb Graves – an Alabama governor during the South’s Jim Crow era with ties to the Ku Klux Klan.
Lamar Higgins, a Board of Trustees member and the chair of a committee to study all building names on campus, said he was pleased with the decision to rename the building and the chosen subject.
“I can’t think of any greater honor that we could do to bestow honor upon someone whose application was not even accepted at Troy State College,” Higgins said. “In 2020, to name the signature building after him I think speaks volumes of the leadership, culture and the change that has occurred at this university.”
The idea for change began when a petition was posted in early summer on the Troy Students Facebook page to rename the building, according to Nicole Jayjohn, the Student Government Association president.
“A lot of students were behind the renaming of the building in general,” she said. “I think they’re going to be fully behind this, and there will be lots of positive feedback.”