Tech housing suites to be renamed for trailblazing former students

Pictured are the Dudley Suites on the Louisiana Tech University campus. (Courtesy photo)

Press release

Aswell and Dudley Suites to be renamed in honor of James Earl Potts and Bertha Bradford-Robinson

Aswell and Dudley suites, University housing located on Adams Boulevard, will be renamed to honor of James Earl Potts and Bertha Bradford-Robinson, the first male and female African-American students to attend Louisiana Tech University.

Potts was admitted to Louisiana Tech in spring 1965, followed by Bradford-Robinson a few months later. Potts and Bradford-Robinson helped pave the way for African-American students who would later enroll at Louisiana Tech.

“I’m grateful we can celebrate the impact of Mr. Potts and Mrs. Bradford-Robinson by renaming two of our newest residential facilities in their honor,” said Les Guice, Louisiana Tech President. “They have been inspirational to me and so many of our students, faculty, and staff as our University works to honor those who have had transformative impacts on our campus.”

Devonia Love-Vaughn, dean of Inclusion Initiatives and Student Success, said honoring Potts and Bradford-Robinson is a display of Louisiana Tech’s commitment to inclusion and diversity.

“Naming these buildings after two pioneers who paved the way for all students of color is a beautiful testament to Tech’s commitment to inclusion, belonging, and diversity,” Love-Vaughn said.

Bradford-Robinson spoke at Louisiana Tech’s Fall 2020 commencement where she used the opportunity to address her struggles and push for unity.

“The struggle was real, but it was also necessary,” Bradford-Robinson said. “To know that my classmate and I affected change so that African-American students could matriculate at this esteemed university is confirmation that our efforts were not in vain.”

La’Dereka Christian, Louisiana Tech’s Black Student Union president, said recognizing Potts and Bradford-Robinson will be a reminder to students and alumni of the trailblazers who paved way for the future of Louisiana Tech.

“The name change of these suites is not only acknowledging the struggles that Mr. Potts and Mrs. Bradford-Robinson endured but highlighting that they too have helped to pioneer the future of this campus,” Christian said.

Sam Speed, dean of Student Engagement and Undergraduate Recruitment, shared his excitement as the first African-American dean and a Louisiana Tech graduate. He said the renaming of the suites will represent the diverse students who reside within the building’s walls.

“The sheer courage, determination, grit, and perseverance that allowed these two pioneers to walk the halls of this valued institution will now hopefully inspire the students who reside in Potts Suites and Robinson Suites,” Speed said. “As an alum and administrator who has served Louisiana Tech Residential Life for over 25 years, I am incredibly proud of this particular moment in the history of our institution.”

Love-Vaughn said Potts and Bradford-Robinson will be remembered on Louisiana Tech’s campus for the qualities that made them successful during their time at Louisiana Tech; one of these qualities is their commitment to the University and to their success.

“Every time the residents enter the buildings they will be reminded of Potts and Robinson’s sacrifice, commitment, dedication, and perseverance,” Love-Vaughn said.

The Potts and Robinson suites will house incoming freshmen during their first year at Louisiana Tech. The suites will remain to be a reminder of the growth and change that have taken place on Louisiana Tech’s campus over 127 years.

“Because of them, students that look like me can attend this prestigious institution and continue a legacy that invokes change,” Christian said. “This is a step in the right direction, and I am confident that it will not stop here.”

The historic Aswell and Dudley residence halls will retain their names.


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