St. Cloud State University in Minnesota Names Building After Its First Black Graduate

St. Cloud State University in Minnesota has announced that it is naming a building on campus to honor Ruby Cora Webster, the educational institution’s first African American graduate. The structure now known simply as 51 Building, houses the departments of English, political science and ethnic and women’s studies.

Webster was born in 1889 in Delphos, Ohio. Her parents were former slaves. At some point during her childhood the family moved to St. Cloud, Minnesota, and she attended St. Cloud High School. At the time, there were perhaps 20 African Americans in a town of several thousand residents.

After graduating from high school, Webster enrolled in what was then called St. Cloud Normal School and earned a degree in elementary education. The 1910 U.S. Census listed her occupation as a teacher but there are no known records of when or where she taught.

Webster married twice and had a daughter. She moved the Kansas City and later to Canada. She died in 1974.

Related Articles


  1. The university did not decide on its own to name the building after an African American, they were persuaded to act by people from the school who should receive credit for their efforts.

  2. Thank you so much for your coverage of the building’s renaming process. I organized the drive for the renaming, and I am very humbled and honored to see the new name reported here.

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

In Memoriam: O. Jerome Green, 1954-2024

President of historically Black Shorter College O. Jerome Green passed way unexpectedly on April 8. Since he became president in 2012, the college has experienced record-breaking enrollment and graduation rates, created new academic programs, and established the STEM Center for Academic Excellence.

Federal Report Uncovers Lack of Faculty Diversity and Delay in Federal Discrimination Complaint Processing

In addition to a lack of diversity in higher education faculty, the report revealed a frequent delay by the Department of Education when referring discrimination complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission.

Christopher Span Appointed Dean of Rutgers University Graduate School of Education

Dr. Span, professor of education policy, organization, and leadership at the University of Illinois, is a scholar of African American educational history. He has experience in both academic and administrative leadership positions.

Lingering Mistrust From Tuskegee Syphilis Study Connected to COVID-19 Vaccine Reluctance

African Americans who lived within 750 miles of Tuskegee, Alabama, were more reluctant to receive the COVID-19 vaccine than their White neighbors, as well as Black Americans from other United States regions. The authors attribute this finding to lingering mistrust of public health services as a result of the Tuskegee Syphilis Study which ran from the 1930s to 1972.

Featured Jobs