West Texas A&M University names Multicultural Center after two African American pioneers

Local News

CANYON, Texas (KAMR/KCIT) — The Nathaniel and Helen Neal Multicultural Center officially opened its doors at West Texas A&M University.

The faculty, students, alumni, and the Neal family filled Legacy Hall for a special dedication ceremony to honor WT’s first-ever African American graduate and faculty member.

“They were both educators, first-timers, and I don’t think they started out trying to be first-timers,” Nathaniel and Helen’s daughter, Dolores Thompson said.

Thompson said she is humbled that the college would dedicate an entire center to her parents who just simply loved education.

“This is such an honor to be in an educational facility and have something like this named after them,” Thompson added.

Although the Neal family is humbled, Chief Officer of Diversity and Inclusion, Angela Allen, said the naming was a no-brainer.

“Helen Neal was the first African American to graduate from WT in 1962 and Nathaniel Neal was the first African American faculty member,” Allen explained. ” On this journey to build a multi-cultural center, I was doing some research on who to name it after and I first found Helen Neal, and I thought she would be perfect. Then I found this little obscure article that said Nathaniel Neal was the first professor here. We put the two together and it was perfect.”

Allen said the center will be used for student-led events, meetings, and social activities on campus.

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