A-State honors those who paved the way

(Source: KAIT-TV)
(Source: KAIT-TV)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - A new residential facility on A State's campus is complete.

The Circle is a 196-bed complex designed primarily for graduate and medical students.

It was officially opened Monday with a ribbon-cutting and a special dedication ceremony.

The first African American faculty and administrators of Arkansas State University and their families lived in the area of campus where The Circle was located during the early 1970s.

The community helped create growth and acceptance of diversity among students, faculty, and staff, university officials said.

It is for this reason they decided to dedicate The Circle to those administrators.

Emeritus Associate Professor of Teacher Education and Dean of University College, Dr. Herman Strickland, is one of the honorees.

He said he was deeply moved when he learned of their plan.

"It's overwhelming," Strickland said. "It's humbling to me personally. And to think we were a small part of this so many years ago and this kind of thing has happened for our family if overwhelming."

Dr. Strickland the event would have meant a lot to his father.

"Personally," Strickland said. "It means a lot to me because of the sacrifice that my father, who only went to the sixth grade, made to see that we had an opportunity for our education. I think he's up there looking down at this. He deserves the title of having a building named for him much more than I do because he made a lot of sacrifices for us to be where we are today."

A senior at A State and the president of the Student Government Association, Haley Stotts, said living on campus is the way to truly be a part of campus life.

"Personally, I have lived on campus all four years," Stotts said. "And I'm a firm believer that when you live on campus you're able to engage and plug in a lot more than if you live off campus. So, extending that invitation to MIT students and graduate students allow more of a student body to get plugged in and be a part of the Red Wolf family and the things we have going on here."

Dr. Strickland said a lot has changed since he was a student at A State.

"This campus has grown so much since I first came here in 1963 as a student working on a Master's Degree," Strickland said. "It's just. . . I can't even try to describe the changes that occurred here. From a very small campus to this type of University now with infrastructure being changed tremendously. To have a dormitory in The Circle, The Circle meant a lot to us. We lived in a little circle and atmosphere was great. It was safe for our children. And we hope this environment is the same for students who live in these dormitories."

Stotts said The Circle is impressive.

"It's incredible," Stotts said. "And it's beautiful too. It's really neat to see how our campus has extended a little more over to downtown Jonesboro and how it's just really beautified this area. So, I'm really excited to see the final product, honestly."

Stotts said fellow students are excited about the new dormitories.

"I think that they love it," Stotts said. "There's a very similar new housing unit that just went up for upper classmen, undergrad students. And they are just super excited to see all the innovation that's taking place at A-State."

Stotts said there's something special about life at A-State you can't get on another campus.

"I love Arkansas State University with all my whole heart," Stotts said. "I believe it's a really special University because it's big enough where you're gonna get that school opportunity, but small enough where everyone knows your name."

They recognized Dr. Wilbert Gaines, Dr. Mossie Richmond, Dr. C. Calvin Smith, and Dr. Herman Strickland Sr.

Copyright 2017 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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