LSU board votes to rename African American Cultural Center to honor Clarence L. Barney Jr.

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - During a Board of Supervisors meeting Friday, a motion was adopted to rename the African American cultural center at LSU.

The center will be renamed to the Clarence L. Barney Jr. African American Cultural Center.

"The African American Cultural Center exists today because of Clarence Barney," said LSU Board of Supervisors member James Williams. "He tirelessly sought and fought for diversity on the campus."

In the 1980s, Barney helped champion the students' request to have a center on campus. The center was then developed in 1993.

"This will give us another naming opportunity where people from all walks will be able to see with pride the commitment that this institution has for its diversity," said Dereck Rovaris Sr., LSU vice provost for diversity and chief diversity officer. "Now you see more African American students at this university than over 70 historically black colleges and universities ... This institution is committed to all of its students, and all those who come through its halls."

Barney's accomplished educational background coupled with his dedication to the student body, earned him the gavel as the first African American chair of the board at LSU in 1992.

"I don't think they necessarily saw him as the first African American chairman of the board, they saw him as an effective chairman who happened to be African American," said Shawn Barney, Clarence Barney's son.

In addition to his work at LSU, Barney served as the president of the Urban League of Greater New Orleans for more than 30 years.

His dedication to the community carried over to making sure minorities felt like LSU was home.

"He thought education certainly was important but he also thought the institution of LSU certainly was important, not only to educate but to impact people's lives," said Barney.

Barney served on the Board of Supervisors for 14 years, and died in 2005 at the age of 70.

The university plans to hold a re-dedication ceremony for the Clarence L. Barney Jr. African American Cultural Center later this year.

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