Auburn University Unveils National Pan-Hellenic Council Legacy Plaza in Special Ceremony
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Auburn University today unveiled its new National Pan-Hellenic Council Legacy Plaza, a monument celebrating the history, legacy, and cultural impact of Black Greek organizations on campus.
Prominent along one of the university’s main hallways, the nine markers in Legacy Plaza represent each of the historically African-American Greek-letter organizations, also known as the Divine Nine. The plaza’s granite pillars are inscribed with the Greek letters and crest of each organization, as well as the chapter names for the eight that have been established in Auburn. A 10th marker provides information about the purpose and significance of the square and acknowledges the donors of the project.
In addition to serving as an event and gathering space for Black Greek students and alumni, Legacy Plaza demonstrates the university’s responsibility to create a more inclusive environment and the student body’s desire to ensure that their peers are equally represented.
“When I began my presidency in May, I said that I would place considerable emphasis on promoting an inclusive learning and working environment where all students, faculty and staff can undertake their research and their educational pursuits while feeling welcomed, valued, respected, and engaged,” said President Christopher B. Roberts. “The NPHC legacy square will be an enduring example that Auburn supports a diverse campus environment.”
Coinciding with the 50th anniversary of the charter of the first black Greek organization in Auburn, today’s unveiling is the culmination of more than four years of planning and discussions among students who have advocated for a permanent space and a physical representation on campus of the National Panhellenic Council, or NPHC, organizations. As conversations continued, more support was garnered, culminating in the official launch of the project in December 2018 by the Student Government Association, or SGA.
“The Legacy Plaza is a tangible reminder of the respect our students have for one another and the priority they place on making everyone feel at home here,” said Senior Vice President of Student Affairs Bobby R. Woodard. “These are distinctly Auburn values that are instilled in our students, and they are among the many things that make this university such a special place.”
Auburn students have also led the plaza’s fundraising efforts. In a show of solidarity with the NPHC, the Interfraternity Council, the Panhellenic Council, and the SGA made significant contributions to the construction of Legacy Plaza. With widespread support on campus and beyond, the Legacy Plaza is one of the university’s most successful Tiger Giving Day projects, with 639 individual donors donating to the square in one day.
“The culture and significance of our chapters is ingrained in Auburn’s DNA. It’s beautiful to see the support we’ve had from all over campus,” said NPHC President Dontavious Hill. We now officially have a place that represents our organizations and lets everyone know that we are here and that we are doing a great job in Auburn.”
Approved by the Auburn Board of Trustees in July 2020, the NPHC Legacy Plaza was a project demanded by Auburn students and supported by various members of the Auburn family.
“As a board member, I am thrilled to see this continued movement toward progress, recognizing the National Panhellenic Council’s contributions to Auburn over the years and honoring African-American culture in Auburn,” the director said. ‘administrator Tim Vines, a financial supporter of the place. “Today, we reaffirm our commitment to the necessary adoption of a culture of inclusivity that will serve to further unite our strong Auburn family. With this ongoing recognition of those whose footprints through time have paved the way before us, we demonstrate our dedication to pursuing long-term deliberative work to advance and promote opportunity and equity.
“As I look to the future and all that this dedication represents, I see a bright horizon of hope to drive our great university forward and unlock the potential that, together, united in purpose, we can all achieve.”
The Auburn SGA Student Senate unanimously passed legislation in 2018 to support the NPHC’s campaign to create a legacy place in Auburn after initial and ongoing efforts by former SGA Presidents Dane Block and Ada Ruth Huntley.
“This plaza is so much more than a cluster of plaques or plots that feature nine Greek chapters of Auburn,” said Madison Riggins, 2019 Auburn NPHC chair and financial benefactor of the project. “This place serves to realize the creed of Auburn. This place serves to restore, retain and recruit the Auburn family which is sometimes overlooked or forgotten. This square will be a gathering place for all as we continue to educate and build.
“And most importantly, this plaza is a monument to how much we, as a campus and as a family, have grown. I challenge you to allow this plaza to be a catalyst for the change we want to see in the campus. May it be proof that no dream is too big and proof that we, as a community, are better at embracing our differences, as well as our commonalities.