The Texas Southern University (TSU) Board of Regents has considered a now-unresolved proposal to name the new Library Learning Center after Dr. John M. Rudley, who served as TSU President from 2008 to 2016.
Upon learning of the plan, a group of TSU alumni started a petition to make the recently departed Dr. Thomas F. Freeman, who founded the debate team in 1949 and served the university for more than 70 years, the library’s namesake.
A TSU Board of Regents agenda item signed by Interim President Ken Huewitt on June 19 said that the Named Gifts Program Committee received a written proposal from the regents to honorarily name the new Library Learning Center as the “Dr. John M. Rudley Library Learning Center.”
A resolution to approve the naming of the Library Learning Center for Rudley enumerates accomplishments during his 8-year tenure:
TSU enriched its academic standing by starting to offer civil and electrical engineering degrees; adding two master’s degrees in education to the online program, a new emergency management degree and an aviation sciences flight program; launching a new maritime transportation management and security program with the Port of Houston as well as adding degrees in urban planning, sports management and entertainment and recording management
TSU received a $2.74 million grant from the Houston Endowment to start the Urban Academic Village to enhance the undergraduate experience
TSU issued $65 million in bonds to finance two parking garages and two residence halls
TSU partnered with the Dynamo professional soccer team in the development of the $83 million BBVA Compass Stadium for TSU football
TSU secured 100% funding and began construction of an 800-bed freshman dorm
TSU secured 100% of the $50 million needed for the completion of the Library Learning Center
Last year, Freeman’s papers were retired at the Robert J. Terry Library, which was named after an interim university president who served briefly in the 1980s.
TSU alumna Georgia Provost, a longtime university advocate and community activist, has had her disagreements with Rudley, but supports naming the library after him because of his history with TSU and his leadership as president.