Friday, September 30, 2022

Local university dedicates park, statues on founders day

Rosa Parks is one of 11 statues in Hampton University's Legacy Park which was revealed as part of the university's annual Founders Day celebration (WYDaily Photo/ Courtesy of Hampton University)
Rosa Parks is one of 11 statues in Hampton University’s Legacy Park which was revealed as part of the university’s annual Founders Day celebration (WYDaily Photo/ Courtesy of Hampton University)

HAMPTON — On Sunday, Hampton University celebrated its annual Founder’s Day and unveiled a new addition to campus: Legacy Park.

“Legacy Park was established by the Hampton University Board of Trustees, under the leadership of Chairman Wesley Coleman,” said William R. Harvey, the university’s president. “We wanted to memorialize a few of the people that have had a major impact on this great institution.”

According to HU’s announcement, hundreds of students, faculty and university alumni attended the unveiling of the waterfront park which features statues of former presidents, civil rights leaders, college alumni and other people affiliated with the historically black college.

“I love commemorating people in history because I think they need to be memorialized but my real impetus is that seeing them will inspire others to do great things in their own lives,” said Jon Hair, the artists who created the statues at Legacy Park.

See the complete list of people below.

  • Martin Luther King Jr.: His mother, Alberta Williams King, is alumnae of the university and he visited the campus several times.
  • Rosa Parks: Parks was a hostess at Hampton University’s Holly Tree Inn for one year.
  • William Howard Taft: He served president of the Hampton University Board of Trustees for 21 years.
  • Mary Jackson: She graduated from Hampton University and later became the first black female engineer at NASA.
  • Barack Obama: Hampton University’s marching band performed at his inaugural parade and he was the university’s 140th commencement speaker in 2010.
  • Susan B. LaFlesche: She graduated from Hampton University as salutatorian and became the first Native American to earn a medical degree.
  • Mary Peake: She taught the first lessons under the university’s Emancipation Oak.
  • George H. W. Bush: He supported historically black colleges throughout his career and served as commencement speaker at Hampton University in 1991.
  • Jerome Holland: He was president of Hampton University for 10 years and helped register four buildings as Virginia Landmarks.
  • Reuben Burrell: He was Hampton University’s photographer for 66 years.
  • Frederick Douglass: He spoke at Hampton University in 1884.
Julia Marsigliano
Julia Marsigliano is a multimedia reporter for WYDaily. She covers everything on the Peninsula from local government and law enforcement agencies to family-run businesses and weather updates. Before WYDaily, she covered Hampton and Newport News for WYDaily’s sister publication, HNNDaily before both publications merged in December 2018. Julia was born in Tokyo, Japan and moved to Long Island, New York in 2001. A true New Yorker, she loves pizza, bagels and good Chinese food. Send comments, tips and other tidbits to You can follow her on Twitter at @jmarsigliano

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