ATLANTA (AP) — Auburn University has renamed its student center after the chief justice of the Georgia Supreme Court, who was the school’s first Black student government president.
The formal ceremony was held Friday to honor Harold D. Melton, with a banner unfurled at the top of the building revealing its new name.
“In 1987, this young kid comes over here, he gets the whole student body excited, and they elect him their president,” Auburn University President Jay Gogue said in a statement released by the Georgia Supreme Court. He told Melton: “You honor Auburn by allowing us to honor you.”
The Harold D. Melton Student Center is the first building on Auburn’s campus named after an African American.
“I never imagined this kind of honor,” Melton said in a statement.
He said his tenure as an Auburn student was easier than that of Harold Franklin, who in 1964 was the university’s first Black student.
“What he had to do here was basically endure. He had to suffer,” Melton said. “Mine was a path that existed with friendship, camaraderie, and fun.”