Science Hall is being renamed for former President Irvin D. Reid, who served from 1989 to 1997 and ushered in important changes at Montclair, including lobbying for the state to elevate it from college to university status in 1994, laying the groundwork for its evolution to a doctoral research institution.
The Montclair State University Board of Trustees recently passed a resolution to rename the building citing all of Reid’s accomplishments as president, many that are still a part of campus life such as global education, the Academic Success Center, expansion of the Honors Program, the computerization of campus and implementation of a strategic plan to improve all facets of the student experience. He was also instrumental in building Yogi Berra Stadium and the ice arena on campus.
“President Reid’s visionary thinking and leadership laid the groundwork for Montclair State’s emergence as a higher education leader in the state of New Jersey, a public research institution and the second largest university in the state” the proclamation by the Board of Trustees reads.
Reid, who returned to campus last September for President Jonathan Koppell’s investiture, says he was surprised, humbled and honored to be recognized with the naming of a building on the campus that is “still at the center of my heart.”
Psychology Professor Saundra Collins, who taught at Montclair when Reid was president, first pushed for recognizing Reid with the renaming of Science Hall and is happy that President Koppell and the Board of Trustees agreed with her that he should be honored in that way.
“I’m also glad we can announce this during Black History Month when our theme is ‘Champions of the Bridges that Carried Us Over.’ The contributions and leadership of Dr. Reid come to mind when I think of that theme and where we are today as a university. It’s been 25 years since he left the university but his legacy still serves us. It is fitting that we recognize his contributions and remarkable leadership with a building named in his honor.”
“President Reid played a defining role in the evolution of Montclair State University into something that would have been inconceivable when it opened 114 years ago as a Normal School,” Koppell says. “We are pleased to honor his legacy in this way.”
Reid, who was Montclair’s seventh President, says he is honored and humbled by the gesture and particularly honored to have been nominated by Collins, who he described as “an extraordinary scholar and community builder.”
Since his departure in 1997 to become the first Black president of Wayne State University, Reid says he’s been to Montclair’s campus only twice, but the University remains a special place for him.
“I was there for the [investiture] and took a walk around. I loved seeing the way the campus grew since I was there last. It’s amazing,” Reid says. “It was an emotional trip – I was so very attached to the University. It’s always been an institution of distinction with outstanding faculty and students – and the most diverse student body in the state.”
The architectural plans for Science Hall, which was built in 1999, were commissioned while Reid was president. A ceremony to unveil the new name will take place later this year, and Reid says he plans to attend.
Story by Editorial Director Laura Griffin.