Last week, the University of St. Thomas Board of Trustees enthusiastically approved new university principles on renaming, as proposed by our Committee to Establish Principles on Renaming.

In November 2020, I charged this committee with recommending a set of principles to guide the university in decisions about whether to remove a historical name from a building, prominent structure or space, scholarship, professorship or other significant university asset.

I am very grateful to the members of the committee, including the co-chairs, Professor Gregory Sisk of the School of Law and Dr. Yohuru Williams of the Racial Justice Initiative, for their insightful and deliberative work.

This committee of students, faculty, staff, trustees and alumni worked diligently over the last six months to bring forth ideas based on best practices and relevant scholarship on naming. They also worked to seek feedback from the community and draft and edit the recommendations. The result of their work is a very thoughtful set of principles that will serve us well for decades to come. The full report is available here.

As stated in the report, the recommendations seek to, “promote two core values: honest inquiry in pursuit of truth, and promotion of the dignity of our community and its members.”

Please join me in thanking the members of this committee for their outstanding service to St. Thomas and their important work to help us stay true to our values. We are blessed to have talented staff, faculty, students, alumni and trustees who are willing to give so generously of their time.

  • Professor Gregory Sisk, School of Law, co-chair
  • Professor Yohuru Williams, Racial Justice Initiative, co-chair
  • Jesse Addo ’17, ’22 J.D.
  • Professor Bernie Brady, Theology and Office for Mission
  • Dr. Amy Goldman, Chairman and ED, GHR Foundation, trustee
  • Dr. MayKao Hang, VP Strategic Initiatives, Founding Dean of the Morrison Family College of Health
  • Danielle Hermanny, Title IX Coordinator
  • Ann Kenne, University Archivist
  • Viridiana Martinez ’21
  • Erica Oswald, Assistant to the Provost
  • Joseph Plante ’86, University Advancement
  • Professor Jayne Sommers, Educational Leadership
  • Professor David Williard, History
  • Honorable Wilhelmina (Mimi) Wright, Judge, U.S. District Court for the District of Minnesota, trustee
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