The University of North Carolina at Asheville has announced that it will rename the Humanities Lecture Hall as the Mullen & James Humanities Hall in honor of two Black faculty couples, Dolly Jenkins-Mullen and Dwight Mullen, and Charles James and Deborah (Dee) Gier-James. All four retired this past May after having served as on the university’s faculty since 1984. They were among the first African-American faculty members that were recruited to the institution as part of an effort to increase diversity among the faculty.
Professor Dwight Mullen is a political scientist who focused on racial disparities in Asheville housing, income, employment, health, education, arrest and incarceration rates, and other factors. His wife, Dolly Jenkins-Mullen is also a political scientist. She served as a tenured associate professor and chair of the department.
Dee James was an English professor at the university. She was the director of the First-Year Writing Program and helped to create and lead the school’s Writing Center. Charles James was a chemistry professor who developed the university’s popular study-abroad program in Ghana.
“We are immensely grateful for the leadership of Dee James, Charles James, Dolly Jenkins-Mullen and Dwight Mullen, their many contributions to our campus, and their commitment to the Asheville community. It is with our deepest respect and gratitude that we recognize their courageous service and lasting legacy by naming the Humanities Lecture Hall in their honor,” said Chancellor Nancy J. Cable.
African Americans make up 5 percent of the 3,800-member undergraduate student body at the University of North Carolina at Asheville.