College Changes Names from Slave Owning Benefactor

Is your cash sufficient if your name is ineligible for college? Such a concern was brought up with a donor in Virginia who has since been erased.

College Rejects Williams’s Name

The incident occurred back in 1846, when Thomas C. Williams was a student at Richmond College. He worked as a trustee in the 1880s.

His family left a contribution to the college after his passing, which assisted in opening the law school. The law school was referred to as the T.C. Williams School of Law until Richmond College changed its name to the University of Richmond in 1920.

This is the present, not then. The Board of Trustees officially decided to rename the school to the University of Richmond School of Law in September 2022.

President Kevin Hallock, as well as the board, issued the following statement to respond to criticism received at the time:

He acknowledges this choice may upset or annoy some people. Additionally, he says they respect the institution’s whole heritage and the part the Williams family has had in it.

Although he may have had a significant role, T.C.’s prosperous tobacco company held 25 to 40 slaves, as per tax records.

A half-dozen school buildings had their labels changed six months prior to T.C. being fired. References to people who had owned slaves were deleted, such as those concerning Robert Ryland, the college’s original president in 1840.

On March 26th, a new rule went into effect:

No university facility, initiative, professorship, or other designation should bear the name of a person who actively promoted human slavery or who actively participated in human trafficking.

New things should replace the old. Though T.C.’s family feels they should be given his wealth back, as they believe if he isn’t deserving of praise for his achievements, then his money should be useless to the college as well.

In a letter addressed to the president, T.C.’s great-great-grandson provided an explanation.

Isn’t it the right, moral and, in fact, the decent thing to do to refund the benefactor’s money, along with interest, if suddenly, his image is no longer sufficient for the university?

Is it not fraudulent to solicit money from a donor and then attack him after he has long since passed away? The Williams family undoubtedly wouldn’t have donated a single cent to the university if they had known the college might later defame the family.

Williams’ Family Makes Huge Contribution

T.C.’s gift to the law school, on its own, is currently valued at approximately $51 million at a six percent interest rate over 132 years. This does not incorporate numerous additional, sizable contributions from the family to the institution.

The morally just choice is obvious. Give the money back. Rob said to The College Fix that his family has asked for proof of their ancestor’s involvement in the slave trade in “20 unreturned emails” written to President Kevin by him and his family.

This article appeared in Conservative Cardinal and has been published here with permission.