UNIVERSITY OF DAYTON
HONORS JESSIE S. HATHCOCK
UNIVERSITY OF DAYTON NEWS
TUESDAY OCTOBER 19, 2021
The University of Dayton will honor the legacy of Jessie S. Hathcock, a noted educator and humanitarian who was the first African American woman to graduate from UD, by formally dedicating a building in her name on Oct. 22.
Hathcock Hall is the newly renovated 58,000-square-foot computer science academic building, formerly the music/theatre building, with laboratory, office and classroom spaces, as well as an enclosed walkway connecting to Kettering Labs.
“Naming this building for Jessie Hathcock will make her life and story visible to generations of UD students, inspiring them to continue her legacy of educational excellence, humanitarianism, and community activism,” said President Eric F. Spina. “It is significant to the University to be able to honor her as a trailblazer and a woman dedicated to the transformative power of education.”
Hathcock graduated from UD with a bachelor's degree in education in 1930. She taught in Dayton public schools for 34 years, and was Dean of Girls and an English teacher at Dunbar High School. At Dunbar, she touched the lives of thousands of students, organizing the Dunbar PTA, and serving for many years as faculty sponsor of the student council, Junior Council on World Affairs, and the Junior Red Cross.
In addition to serving the Dayton community through education, she worked with the City Beautiful Council, the Wegerzyn Garden Board and the American Association of University Women. A global citizen, she traveled the world extensively, was active in the Dayton Council on World Affairs, and founded the Dayton and Miami Valley Committee for UNICEF.
She also was a charter member of Beta Eta Omega, Dayton, Ohio, chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and served as its first president in 1934. Selected as one of the Ten Top Women in Dayton in 1966 for her humanitarian efforts and civic pride, she was a longtime member of St. Margaret's Episcopal Church in Dayton.
In 1978, she received an honorary doctorate in humanities from the University of Dayton, the first African American woman to be so honored. In her words of thanks to the university, she stated, “May the University of Dayton continue to grow in influence for the betterment of our city and may its doors of learning be forever open to all races, creeds and nationalities, for the Glory of God, who taught us the meaning of brotherhood and the oneness of mankind.”
Hathcock's family — granddaughter Beverly Hathcock Robinson and her husband, Leonard, grandson Lloyd Hathcock and his wife, Barbara — said the entire family, including many cousins, are pleased and honored.
"We are simply delighted and thrilled. As an educator for many years, our grandmother would be particularly pleased that the building named in her honor is a place of learning," the family said.
The University also has the Jessie V. Scott Hathcock Memorial Scholarship in Hathcock’s honor, with first preference given to female, African American students majoring in education or English, and residents from the city of Dayton. Candidates must represent the qualities of leadership and service illustrated by Hathcock's life.