University of Scranton Names Building After Its First African American Graduate

February 18, 2016

The University of Scranton dedicated Louis Stanley Brown Hall to honor its first African American graduate, who was a member of the class of 1919. University of Scranton President Kevin P. Quinn, S.J., named and blessed the building, located at 600 Linden Street, at a ceremony on Feb. 18 as part of the University’s Black History Month celebration.

“The University is proud to dedicate Louis Stanley Brown Hall, which takes a page out of the University’s history books and brings it to new life on campus and in the greater Scranton community,” said Father Quinn. “As an African American college graduate in the early 1900s, he serves as an illustration to Jesuit and Catholic education’s longstanding commitment to justice.”

Born in 1902 in Scranton’s Pine Brook section, Brown earned a commercial degree in 1919 from The University of Scranton, then St. Thomas College. He was one of five children born to Henry and Sarah Brown and attended St. Cecilia’s Academy prior to St. Thomas College. The college’s yearbook noted that Brown was ambitious and industrious, as well as humorous and witty. After graduation, he remained in Scranton, working as a shoe shiner, a laborer in the coal mines and for G.W. Brown Inc., a local trucking company. He died at the age 62, and is buried in the Cathedral cemetery in Scranton.

Brown Hall, formerly known as the Ad-Lin Building for its location on the corner of Adams Avenue and Linden Street, was built in 1896. The four-story brick structure, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, is an example of both Classical Revival and Commercial Style architecture. The building, acquired by the University in 2012, houses Enrollment Management and External Affairs and University Advancement divisions on the second, third and fourth floors. The Small Business Development Center and Lavish Body and Home, a privately owned hair salon and store, occupy the first floor.

University of Scranton graduate Yohuru Williams, Ph.D., dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Fairfield University in Connecticut, was the featured speaker at the dedication ceremony. His presentation was titled “The Fierce Urgency of Now: The Special Place of Diversity in Jesuit Education.”

Dr. Williams also serves as the chief historian for the Jackie Robinson Foundation and Museum in New York City. He is the author of “Teaching U.S. History Beyond the Textbook” and “Black Politics/White Power: Civil Rights Black Power and Black Panthers in New Haven.”

Dr. Williams earned his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from The University of Scranton in 1993 and his doctorate from Howard University.

Other speakers at the ceremony were Lauren Rivera, J.D., associate vice provost and dean of students at the University; Michael Allison, Ph.D., associate professor and chair of the University’s Department of Political Science; Gary Olsen, vice president for University Advancement; Leeza Tirado, a senior from Corona, New York, majoring in criminal justice at the University; and Cathy Ann Hardaway, president of the Greater Scranton Martin Luther King Commission.

Back to Top