Autherine Lucy Hall: UA board of trustees announces new name for College of Education building

Grace Schepis | @GraceSchepisCW, Staff Reporter

Autherine Lucy Foster is the new namesake of the College of Education building, the University of Alabama System board of trustees announced Friday.

On Feb. 3, the 66th anniversary of Foster’s enrollment as the first Black student at The University of Alabama, the board announced that Graves Hall would be renamed Lucy-Graves Hall, placing her name alongside former Alabama governor and Ku Klux Klan leader Bibb Graves. 

After national attention and concern from students, faculty and staff, the board revisited its decision. 

“Well, somehow the honoring of Autherine Lucy Foster sort of took the background and that’s not what we wanted,” trustee John England Jr. said. “We’ve heard enough from people whose opinion matters to us — students, faculty, staff — that we can do that in a better way than what we’ve done.”

England, trustee emeritus and chair of the working group that recommended the name change, said its former recommendation of Lucy-Graves Hall was intended to be an educational opportunity. 

“I will say that this has been a challenging time,” England said. “The working group, in making this recommendation, certainly intended for that paired name to generate educational moments and help us learn from our complex and rich history.”

The working group consulted Foster’s family, who preferred that her maiden name appear on the building, excluding her married name Foster. The board said titles don’t traditionally appear on campus buildings. 

“As I’ve learned from talking with members of the working group, we unanimously recommend that name and then we recognize it’s never too late to make the right decision,” England said.