University of Glasgow honours abolitionist James McCune Smith
The University of Glasgow has named a new £90 million learning and teaching hub in honour of James McCune Smith, prominent abolitionist and the first African American to receive a medical degree.
Dr McCune Smith, an alumni of the University of Glasgow, graduated in 1837. His namesake, the James McCune Smith Learning Hub, will open in the 2019/20 academic year. This will be the first new building delivered as part of the University’s £1 billion ‘Campus Development’ programme. Teaching space for over 2,500 students will be provided alongside flexible learning space and technology-enabled teaching resources.
The announcement follows a comprehensive report published by the University of Glasgow in September, which unearths the institution’s historical ties to racial slavery and includes a programme of reparative justice.
Over the weekend, the University of Glasgow laid a foundation stone at the site of the James McCune Smith Learning Hub to commemorate the 150th anniversary of the foundation stone laid at the Gilbert Scott Building when the institution first relocated to Gilmorehill.
“James McCune Smith was truly a pioneer, not only becoming the first African American to gain a medical degree, but also one of the leading intellectuals of his time,” said Professor Sir Anton Muscatelli, University Principal and Vice-Chancellor.
“The University of Glasgow is proud of our association with his legacy and it is fitting that we honour it in the naming of this building. The new James McCune Smith Learning Hub will revolutionise how we deliver learning and teaching support and provide a world-class facility for generations of future students from around the world.
“This is also consistent with actions agreed in our recent report; to provide reparative justice due to the University’s historical links with racial slavery and emphasises our commitment to that programme.
“It is particularly pleasing that we can announce the naming of the James McCune Smith Learning Hub and mark the start of the development of the new western campus on the 150th anniversary of the original foundation stone being laid at our Gilmorehill campus.”
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