The Board of Visitors voted in June to rename Ruffner Hall in honor of Walter N. Ridley (Educ ’53), the first African American to earn a degree from the University, but put off acting on a recommendation to also rename the Curry School to the University of Virginia School of Education and Human Development.
Ridley earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Howard University and sought admission to UVA for many years before being admitted in 1951. He inspired the creation of the Ridley Scholarship Fund, an initiative of the UVA Alumni Association that seeks to attract and retain top African American students.
William Henry Ruffner and J.L.M. Curry were 19th-century educators with no connection to UVA. Though both were strict segregationists, “Curry presents the harder choice,” the University Committee on Names wrote, citing his progressive views on free public education for all. The board is expected to take up the Curry renaming at its next meeting, in September.