Hale Hall Ribbon-Cutting Ceremony and Gala: An Unforgettable Celebration for an Unforgettable Leader
Months of planning for the Hale Hall Ribbon-Cutting Celebration and the Inaugural Frank W. Hale, Jr. Leaders in Diversity Gala came to fruition on Thursday, September 19th with a three-day event in honor of Dr. Frank W. Hale, Jr., former Associate Dean of the Graduate School and Vice Provost for the Office of Minority Affairs. Dr. Hale fought to increase opportunities for underepresented students at The Ohio State University, and the opening of the new Hale Hall was a true celebration of his legacy. Thursday and Friday morning events featured academic presentations and panel discussions lead by Ohio State faculty and alumni, many mentored by Hale, who are authorities in their respective fields of diversity in higher education.
At 2:00 pm alumni and friends from around campus, the state of Ohio and the nation joined with nearly 150 Office of Diversity and Inclusion Scholars for a unique ribbon-cutting ceremony and dedication of Hale Hall, the second building on the Ohio State campus to be named after an African American. The ceremony started with a drumming call-to-order and was followed by a poetry reading by Hale Center work study student Quartez Harris and selections by the African American Voices choir. The master of ceremony was Tracy Townsend, WBNS-10TV news anchor and Ohio State and Morrill Scholars alumna. Speakers included Valerie B. Lee, Vice Provost for Diversity and Inclusion, Chief Diversity Officer, and Vice President for Outreach and Engagement, Interim President Joseph A. Alutto, and Hale family members Mignon Hale and Ifeoma Kwesi. Other notable attendees included Provost Joe Steinmetz; former Buckeye and NBA stars Jim Jackson and Brad Sellers; Curt Moody of Moody-Nolan Architects; Jesse Tyson, Ohio State alumnus and interim president of the National Black MBA Society; Keith Key, former Buckeye football player and president and CEO of KBK Enterprises; and Ohio State Trustee Corbett Price, who all lent a hand with the ribbon-cutting. Once the ribbon was cut, attendees came into Hale Hall to hear Larry Williamson, director of the Hale Black Cultural Center, introduce the premier of the Hale Hall dedication video, followed by tours of the Hale Center and the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Obelisk unveiling.
The day culminated with the Frank W. Hale Leaders in Diversity Gala fundraiser at the Renaissance Hotel in downtown Columbus. The evening featured master of ceremonies WBNS-10TV news anchor Jerry Revish, the OSU Jazz Quartet, and the unveiling of a portrait of Jim Jackson that will be added to the Hale Black Cultural Center’s permanent art collection. Painted by OSU alumnus Shaun Kinley and made possible through the generous donation of alumni Bob and Beth Buehler, Jackson was overjoyed by the portrait. He spoke fondly about his experiences as a student at the Hale Center and how the Center, along with its staff, helped to shape his life.
Another highlight of the evening was the presentation of the inaugural Frank W. Hale, Jr. Legacy award to Mr. Lewis Smoot, Sr., Chairman and CEO of the Smoot Corporation, for his stellar leadership and outstanding service to diverse communities. The gala closed with a thought-provoking keynote address from Linda Ammons, Associate Provost and Dean of the Law School at Widener University and special guest artist, Freddie Jackson, who sang several of his hits, including, “You Are My Lady.”
The final festivities for the Hale Hall dedication concluded with a tailgate and game watch of the Ohio State vs. Florida A&M football game on Saturday.
The Office of Diversity and Inclusion would like to thank all of the attendees, donors, and sponsors who made this celebration possible. All of the funds raised will benefit ODI programs, including the Hale Black Cultural Center, Todd Anthony Bell National Resource Center on the African American Male, Young Scholars Program, and more.