UNCG Campus Weekly

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New name for HHP: Coleman Building

Photo of HHP BuildingMore than half a century after her death, evidence of Mary Channing Coleman’s impact remains on our campus.

Now, one of the campus buildings closely connected to her legacy will again bear her name. The UNCG Board of Trustees has approved the renaming of the HHP Building as the Mary Channing Coleman Building.

Coleman was the first director of the physical education program at Woman’s College, serving the university from 1921 until her death in 1947 and leading the school to national prominence in her field. “… Coleman built up a department of national renown – one of the leading places in the country to train women physical education teachers,” wrote historian Allan Trelease in “Making North Carolina Literate,” his history of the university.

Dr. Celia Hooper, dean of the UNCG School of Health and Human Sciences, said that Coleman’s work laid the foundation for some of the university’s most prominent programs today. “Back then, the department she nurtured included activity, dance, recreation, and health studies. It can be argued that, from her work, four departments are now at UNCG – the Departments of Kinesiology, Dance, Community and Therapeutic Recreation, and Public Health Education.

“It is so fitting that we return to the original name as an appreciation for history and to honor someone who made physical education at WC one of the best programs in the country.”

The renaming isn’t the first time Coleman’s name has graced a campus building. In 1953, six years after her death, the newly constructed Coleman Gymnasium was named in her honor. The building was one of two that she had a hand in planning; the other was Rosenthal Gymnasium, which opened in 1925.

But in the late 1980s, plans were made to renovate and add to those buildings to create a new physical activities complex on campus. Once completed, the Coleman name was dropped from the building in favor of the name of the academic school that would be housed in the building: The School of Health and Human Performance (HHP).

That naming convention worked until 2011, when an academic realignment created the new School of Health and Human Sciences from departments formerly found under the School of Health and Human Performance, the School of Human Environmental Sciences and other academic units. Despite HHP no longer existing, the building that housed the majority of the school’s departments retained its name.

The Board of Trustees move to rename the building after Coleman alleviates that confusion, Hooper said. “For our current students, it will be so much less confusing to have a building not named for a school that no longer exists,” she said. “The word “Coleman” is all over the current HHP building, so returning that name to the front door will help our new UNCG students find us.”

A re-dedication ceremony for the Coleman Building will be held at a later date.

By Lanita Withers Goins
Full story at UNCG Now.