Residence Hall, Multicultural Center Names Get USM Regents Approval

Nov 13, 2020 9:45 AM

Brownsville Hall and Adams/Wyche Multicultural Center at Lincoln School Honor Displaced African American Community

Two Frostburg State University campus buildings will now honor the history and legacy of Frostburg’s African American community following approval today from the University System of Maryland Board of Regents. The newly built residence hall will be known as Brownsville Hall, and a former school for African Americans will be named the Adams/Wyche Multicultural Center at the Lincoln School.

Brownsville-Hall.jpg“We are very proud today to take these long-overdue steps to honor the legacy of Brownsville, its former residents and its descendants,” said FSU President Ronald Nowaczyk. “This is a truly powerful statement, and it brought together many voices and people to make this happen.”

Brownsville Hall, just opened for the fall semester on the campus lower quad, will be named in honor of the largely African American community that was displaced between the 1920s and the 1960s as the college that became Frostburg State University grew. Brownsville was founded following the Civil War by a formerly enslaved woman, Tamer Brown, and thrived as a community for decades. The Brownsville name follows the FSU tradition of naming lower quad residence halls after communities.

In August, the University dedicated the Brownsville/Park Avenue Monument on the campus’ Upper Quad where the Brownsville/Park Avenue community once stood.

The Lincoln School, the third school by that name to serve the Brownsville community, will be transformed into the Adams/Wyche Multicultural Center at the Lincoln School, thanks to a generous gift from FSU alumni Sandra Wyche Adams, class of 1986, and Tyrone Adams, class of 1987. Sandra Adams is also chair of the FSU Foundation Board of Directors. The gift will advance the building’s internal design and renovation.

“Frostburg State University is committed to creating an inclusive space on campus that celebrates difference, culture and diversity, both on campus and in the local community, while focusing on the bonds that unite and bring us together, rather than those that pull us apart,” Nowaczyk said.

Sandy-and-Tyrone-Adams.jpg“We are honored to support the development of the new Multicultural Center at the Lincoln School – a site remembered for its legacy as a schoolhouse built for the purpose of educating the residents of Brownsville who could not attend other schools in the area due to segregation,” Sandra Adams said. “In this cultural moment, as millions of Americans march and demonstrate on behalf of Black lives, we believe it is our duty to highlight the importance of uplifting marginalized voices and championing the growth and educational advancement of underrepresented minorities.”

The building, which will be designed to be inclusive, historically significant and student-centered, will also become home to the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion. The design process, which will also include an inclusive outdoor space, has begun, and the Adamses’ gift will allow work to progress more quickly, Nowaczyk said. The building will include meeting space for the use of community and student organizations.

“As proud Black alumni of Frostburg State, we hope that the center stands as a testament to the resolve of the Black community to persevere and remains a place of fellowship and pride for all students in the years to come,” Tyrone Adams said.

“This generous gift truly speaks to Sandy and Tyrone’s ties to the Bobcat community and their desire to support Frostburg State and the entire Frostburg community,” said John Short, vice president for University Advancement and executive director of the FSU Foundation.

The Adamses previously endowed the Tyrone Adams ’87 and Sandra Wyche Adams ’86 Scholarship, which benefits students majoring in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, with a preference given to graduates of Baltimore City and Baltimore County public schools.

The Lincoln School building also served as the headquarters for FSU Police for many years, and for the past year has served as a temporary home to Frostburg City Police as their headquarters undergoes renovation.

Both name changes are effective immediately and will begin to be reflected in materials and on the FSU website. Formal ceremonies will be held in 2021 when conditions permit.

The University System of Maryland, which is in the process of revising its policy on the naming of buildings, requires Board of Regents approval to name buildings at its institutions.