Obama adviser Valerie Jarrett to speak at School of Architecture dedication banquet


TUSKEGEE, Ala. (March 25, 2011) — Tuskegee University will officially dedicate the Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science on April 8-9. Activities include a symposium and black-tie banquet featuring a keynote speech by Valerie B. Jarrett, senior adviser to President Barack Obama.

“Tuskegee University has a legacy of innovation, creativity and genius. Robert R. Taylor is definitely a part of this,” said Dr. Richard Dozier, dean of the architecture school. “The program celebrates 120 years of existence next year. We are building on Taylor’s vision for the next 120 years.”

On Friday, April 8, a symposium discussing “Robert R. Taylor and his Pioneer Tuskegee Architects” will be held at 8:30 a.m. – 4 p.m. in the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center auditorium. On Saturday, April 9, an oral history session will be held in the auditorium from 1:30 to 4 p.m. Speakers include Charles Cassell, who trained with the Tuskegee Airmen. He is the son of Albert Cassell, who designed the university’s Willcox buildings and the first black to become a fellow of the American Institute of Architecture. Also speaking will be Herman J. Russell, renowned Atlanta-based constructor, entrepreneur and Tuskegee alumnus. These events are free and open to the public.

On Saturday evening, the black-tie dedication and awards banquet will be held in the Kellogg ballroom. Jarrett, who is also the great-granddaughter of Taylor, will deliver the keynote address. A reception will be held at 5:30 p.m., with the banquet beginning at 7 p.m. For ticket information, email events@mytu.tuskegee.edu or call 334-727-8330.

Robert Robinson Taylor, who was the first black to graduate with an architecture degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, was brought to Tuskegee by the institution’s founder, Booker T. Washington, in 1892. Over four decades, Taylor developed the architecture program and educated many of the country’s pioneer black architects. He designed the buildings, while his staff and students made the bricks and constructed many of the buildings on campus. These include: The Oaks (Booker T. Washington’s home), Dorothy Hall (now a part of the Kellogg Hotel and Conference Center), White Hall, Carnegie Hall and Campbell Hall.

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