Residence Halls History
Atkins Hall, constructed in 1977, is named for Simon Green Atkins, the University’s founder and the first President of Slater Industrial Academy (now Winston-Salem State University). He was born to former slaves in Haywood, NC and this is where he received his early education and taught school. A graduate of St. Augustine’s, Raleigh, and on the faculty of Livingstone College, Atkins became principal of Depot Street School in Winston in 1890, where he led in the development of Columbia Heights, a model community surrounding the Slater School. Simon Green Atkins (1863-1934) devoted his life to improving African-American education in North Carolina. He also worked tirelessly to elevate the economic status and to improve the housing and health of his community. Atkins was a man of high principles who emphasized how important it is for youth to develop strong personal character and a willingness to work hard to promote the overall good of society. Atkins Hall is for freshmen women.
Brown Hall, constructed in 1964, is name for Thomas J. Brown, an early graduate of Slater Industrial Academy (now Winston-Salem State University). Later, he attended Shaw University and became a public school teacher. He returned to Slater Industrial Academy and State Normal School in 1911 to serve as principal of the Columbia Heights Practice School for four years. In 1920, he was named postmaster of Station A, which served the Slater Industrial Academy and Normal School campus and the local community. However, he is perhaps best known for his many years of service as an instructor in the Social Sciences, a department which he also chaired when the school became a four-year institution in 1925. Thomas J. Brown retired from his postmaster and instructing duties in 1961, and died in 1976. Brown Hall is a freshmen only hall.
Foundation Heights, opened in 2007. The 114,000 square-foot facility was given its name in honor of the Winston-Salem State University Foundation and its efficiency in meeting the university's needs.
Gleason-Hairston Terrace, constructed in 2005, is named for Dr. Eliza Atkins Gleason, the daughter of WSSU founder, Dr. Simon Green Atkins, along with Rufus and Mary Hairston. Dr. Eliza Atkins Gleason was the first African-American to receive a doctorate degree in Library Science. After receiving her bachelor's degree from the University of Illinois in 1931 and serving as a head librarian, she received her master's degree from the University of California, Berkeley. In 1940, she earned her doctorate degree from the University of Chicago. Her dissertation, The Southern Negro and the Public Library: A Study of the Government and Administration of Public Library Service to Negroes in the South was the first complete history of library access in the South. The American Library Association awards the triennial Eliza Atkins Gleason Book Award in her honor for the best book written in English in the field of library history, including the history of libraries, librarianship, and book culture.
Rufus and Mary Hairston are proud alumni of WSSU and are counted as generous benefactors of the university. Rufus Hairston was a student at WSSU when it was known as the Slater Industrial Academy. He was the first African-American to serve on the Winston-Salem Teachers College Board of Trustees. Additionally, he received his Pharmacy degree from Shaw University and served as president of the National Pharmaceutical Association. Along with being a graduate of WSSU, his spouse, Mary Hairston, received a degree from Winston-Salem Teachers College. She served as a key factor in the construction of the first public library for African-Americans in Winston-Salem. Upon the death of her husband in 1971, she began to make financial contributions to the university on an anonymous basis. After her death in 1995 at age 100, these contributions became a matter of public record. From their estate, the Hairstons have donated approximately $1.3 million to Winston-Salem State University.
Martin-Schexnider Hall is named after two previous Chancellors at Winston-Salem State University. One of the two towers of the residence hall is named for Dr. Harold L. Martin Sr., who served as chancellor from 2000 until 2006. The other tower is named for Dr. Alvin J. Schexnider, who was chancellor from 1996 until 2000.
Moore Hall, constructed in 1962 is named for C. Beatrice Moore. Ms. Moore served as Winston-Salem State University’s dietician. A native of Lumberton, NC, Moore enrolled in Slater Industrial Academy and State Normal School (now WSSU) in 1920. She completed the normal training program in 1923, and was hired by the college to serve as the assistant director of Atkins Hall, a female residence facility. Moore later served as head matron and director of women's activities. In 1930, Moore decided to pursue a degree in home economics, and she enrolled in the home economics program at the college which in 1925 had become Winston-Salem Teachers College. Following her graduation in 1933, Moore was hired by her alma mater as the college dietician and she was later appointed acting dean of women. At the time of her retirement in 1963, Moore had served the college for forty years, thirty of which were as the college's dietician. Following retirement, Moore was a frequent visitor at cultural and social activities hosted by the college until her death in 1976. Moore women continue this distinguished alumna’s example with their service to the University.
Ram Commons, opened in 2002, is a $17 million, 440-bed co-educational residence facility. It contains two-bedroom and four-bedroom suites with kitchens, as well as study and computer rooms, an exercise facility, and a store.
Wilson Hall, constructed in 1994, is named for Haywood Lester Wilson, a 1958 graduate of Winston-Salem State University. A gifted educator, Wilson received an "Outstanding Teacher of the Year Award" and became an assistant principal in the Forsyth County school system in 1961. In 1968, he received a Master of Science degree in educational administration from North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University. In 1969, he was asked by then WSSU president Kenneth R. Williams to return to his alma mater and assume the position of director of Student Affairs. He earned a Ph.D. in education from Southern Illinois University-Carbondale in 1975 and then returned to Winston-Salem State University as vice chancellor for Student Affairs. Following the departure of Chancellor H. Douglas Covington in 1984, Wilson served as acting chancellor of the university. In 1985, after the appointment of Cleon F. Thompson as chancellor, he returned to his position as vice chancellor and held this position until 1992.