Date set for dedication ceremony of Robert Sutherland Hall
The official ceremony to mark the renaming of Queen's Policy Studies Building in honour of alumni Robert Sutherland will take place Oct 3, 2009, Principal Tom Williams has announced.
“Robert Sutherland Hall has quickly become part of the campus vernacular, and I look forward to this special gathering of the Queen's community to mark this important recognition,” said Principal Williams.
On February 26, the University's Board of Trustees unanimously approved a student-initiated motion to honour the man who was the country's first black university student, graduate and lawyer, as well as the University's first major benefactor.
Queen's immediately started using the new name for the building at 138 Union Street.
Sutherland arrived at Queen's in 1849, won 14 academic prizes and graduated with honours in classics and math. After qualifying to practice law, he settled in Walkerton, Ontario. He died in 1878, and left his entire estate to Queen's – a $12,000 bequest that put the University on a firm financial footing in the wake of a banking crisis that had threatened its existence.
A task force created by students in the mid 1990s led to a room being named for Sutherland in the student centre. There's also a memorial plaque, a visitorship, prizes and several student assistance funds that recognize Sutherland's significance to Queen's.
New signs outside Robert Sutherland Hall will be in place by early summer.