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by Rebecca Marshall, Staff Reporter
For several months, students and faculty have referred to the newest building on campus as the “SciTech Building”; however, that will not be the case for long. On December 2, the new building will finally have a name, Dr. James B. McNeer Hall.
The Science and Technology Building will be named in honor of Dr. James McNeer, the current president of Richard Bland College. Dr. McNeer has been contributing to the RBC community for 43 years, starting out as a professor and working his way up to president of the college. He promoted the construction of the new residence halls, which attracted more students and more diversity, and he was behind the recent renovations to the college, including the renovations to the library and the addition of the Student Health Center.
Recently, he learned that the Board of Visitors wanted to name the building in his honor. He explained, “I felt both surprised and grateful they had decided to do this.”
The Board of Visitors was contacted by an alumnus of Richard Bland College regarding the naming of the new science and technology building for President McNeer. Board Member Kathy Hornsby explains, “The board enthusiastically supported this suggestion at our September meeting. President McNeer is one of a kind. Since first joining the College in 1968, his dedication to the students, faculty, staff, and alumni of Richard Bland College is unequalled.”
She continues, “With his quiet yet determined leadership and gentlemanly ways, he is an individual who has truly made a difference in the lives of so many, improving life in the Petersburg area and growing Richard Bland College to what it is now, with modern residence halls and a new recreation complex on the way. I am so pleased that the exceptional science and technology building will be named for such a special man.”
On December 2, 2010, Dr. McNeer, The William and Mary Board of Visitors, The Richard Bland College Foundation, and family and friends of Dr. McNeer will attend a ceremony during which the new name of the building will be formally and publicly declared. By the spring semester, the new Science and Technology building should be publicly recognized as “McNeer Hall.”
The building has proven to be a great asset to the college and provides a better learning environment for students with its advanced technology and ample room for students to expand their knowledge of the sciences, math, and engineering. It is only appropriate that the building be named after a man who also plays a valuable part at the college and who is working nonstop to provide students with the best learning environment possible.
Board of Visitors - Resolution: 10, December 1-3, 2010
RICHARD BLAND COLLEGE NAMING OF THE INTEGRATED SCIENCE AND TECHNOLOGY CENTER
Dr. James B. McNeer, President of Richard Bland College of the College of William and Mary, first joined Richard Bland College in 1968, holding various administrative posts before his selection as Provost and Dean of Faculty in 1990. While Provost, he simultaneously held the office of Mayor of Colonial Heights, developing the political acumen that would serve both himself and Richard Bland College well in the future. On August 1, 1996, he succeeded Dr. Clarence Maze, Jr. as the third president of Richard Bland College. For more than 40 years, Dr. McNeer has skillfully led academic, physical, and social progress at the institution.
Under President McNeer’s leadership, Richard Bland College has continued to provide educational opportunities for both traditional college age and adult students, including many who are the first from their family to attend college. He has championed Richard Bland College’s cause in the community and state legislature with remarkable results. Del. M. Kirkland Cox, a Richard Bland alumnus, appropriately described President McNeer as a role model of uncommon grace.
President McNeer has overseen a renaissance of the Richard Bland campus in recent years. In the fall of 2008, the college unveiled two on-campus residence halls, the first in Richard Bland’s history, and completed renovations to the library and to the student commons, which included the addition of a student health clinic.
President McNeer was instrumental to the success of the college’s first capital campaign, which raised more than $5 million over a four-year period. Completed in 2010, The Campaign for the Future of Richard Bland College had the three-fold goal of assisting in building support facilities for the residential village, increasing the number of endowed scholarships and assisting in funding other campus-wide enhancements, including the new Recreation Complex, which will feature tennis courts, a softball field, and outdoor basketball and volleyball courts.
During the fall of 2010, the college opened the Integrated Science and Technology Center, the first academic building constructed on campus in four decades. This 52,000-square-foot building houses academic computing, biology, chemistry, mathematics, and physics classrooms as well as a faculty and student lounge.
In recognition of the outstanding service, leadership, and commitment of President McNeer to Richard Bland College, the alumni, faculty and staff of that college have asked that the new Integrated Science and Technology Center be named "James B. McNeer Hall."
THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, That in appreciation of James B. McNeer's dedication, leadership, and commitment to Richard Bland College, the Board of Visitors of The College of William and Mary in Virginia hereby names the Integrated Science and Technology Center "James B. McNeer Hall."
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED, That the Board of Visitors directs the Secretary to the Board to inform President McNeer of its action and to express its deep appreciation for his continuing service to Richard Bland College of The College of William and Mary in Virginia.