Gov. Moore helps UMD celebrate naming of Thurgood Marshall Hall
COLLEGE PARK, Md. - On the last day of Black History Month, Governor Wes Moore joined students, staff, and alumni at the University of Maryland as they celebrated the new name of the School of Public Policy building.
The state-of-the-art facility, which opened in the fall of 2022, now bears the name of civil rights lawyer Thurgood Marshall.
Thurgood Marshall Hall, the university said in a news release, supports the school’s mission to advance the public good by bringing pupils together with faculty and other experts to foster world-changing policy discussions and action.
Governor Moore presented Marshall's son, Thurgood Marshall Jr. with a governor's citation at the event. Marshall Jr. serves as a School of Public Policy's Dean's Advisory council member.
"The naming of a public policy building, the Thurgood Marshall building, is not just honoring a legacy. It is an obligation," Moore said. "It means the things that we are teaching, the students that we are instructing, the legacies that
we are building, they must uphold the legacy of the namesake. It means every single day as the work is being done here, it must be done with a full focus in the way that Justice Marshall lived his life. And that was without boundaries."
UMD decided to name its School of Public Policy after the former U.S. Supreme Court justice to honor his role in breaking down barriers for Black and African American students, including the desegregation of the University of Maryland.
"Today marks another historic step in our efforts at the University of Maryland to create a multicultural, inclusive community that gives everyone a chance to succeed," said UMD President Darryll J. Pines. "On behalf of our community, and in honor of Thurgood Marshall’s trailblazing legacy, we now have a building named in honor of one of our greatest Marylanders."
"Thurgood Marshall was an exemplary policy shaper, policy maker, analytical thinker, powerful advocate, defender of democracy, guardian of civil and human rights, and inspiring leader. He embodied everything our School of Public Policy aspires to, and stands for," said School of Public Policy Dean Robert C. Orr. "We will come every day to Thurgood Marshall Hall seeking to fashion leaders, to educate moral and wise policymakers, to produce and apply cutting-edge research, and shape inclusive and equitable policy for all."
Shortly after graduating from Howard University Law School, Marshall joined the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund. He sued the University of Maryland in 1935, and he was part of the team that launched successful legal battles against the university on behalf of Parren Mitchell and Hiram Whittle, who were denied admission based on their race.
In 1950, the university said, Mitchell became the first Black student to take graduate classes on the College Park campus, and a year later, Whittle enrolled as the university’s first Black undergraduate student.
"It is an honor to see the School of Public Policy building at the University of Maryland named after our father," the Marshall family said in a statement. "This recognition serves as a testament to his legacy as an unapologetic trailblazer for justice and equality. The inspiring work the school does every day to create the next generation of students embodies what was at his core—ensuring a more just and equitable world for all."