JACKSONVILLE, Ala. – The Jacksonville State University Board of Trustees on Tuesday during its quarterly meeting voted to rename the university’s historic Bibb Graves Hall. The 90-year-old structure and campus administration building will now be known as Angle Hall (pronounced “Angel”) in honor of alumni and benefactors Marcus E. Angle, Jr. (Marc) and his wife Mary.
“Events across the nation last summer compelled many of our students, student government leaders, alumni and employees to request that we consider renaming Bibb Graves Hall to reflect a more unified campus that believes in social justice and equality,” said President Don Killingsworth. “What the Board has approved today ushers in a new, more modern era for this important piece of the university’s history.”
“We wanted the individuals tied to this pivotal rename to be ones who have – and will continue to – positively impact this campus and its students for decades to come,” added Randy Jones, chairman of the JSU Board of Trustees. “As longstanding benefactors of the university, and as a family of successful JSU alums who use their success to cultivate the successes of others pursuing their own educations, the Angle family made perfect sense.”
Married for 36 years, Anniston natives Marc and Mary Hudson Angle met on JSU’s campus as undergraduates, where both were active in multiple student groups. Mr. Angle served as president of the Student Government Association, was a member of Kappa Alpha Order Fraternity and was on the 1980 baseball team. Mrs. Angle was a Marching Ballerina in the famed Marching Southerners.
Mr. Angle earned a bachelor’s in finance from the university in 1982. After JSU, he received an MBA from Samford University and embarked on a successful career in banking. He currently serves Regions Bank as commercial banking district director for both Texas and Louisiana. He was honored as Alumnus of the Year in 2016 and is a longtime member of the JSU Foundation Board. Mrs. Angle received a bachelor’s in early childhood education in 1988 and spent many years as an elementary school teacher in school systems in Jacksonville, Fla.; Atlanta; Birmingham; and Dallas.
The couple now resides in Plano, Texas and shares one daughter, Darby, who graduated from JSU in December with a bachelor’s in sport management and recreation. She participated in the Miss Alabama Pageant in 2019 as Miss JSU and – like her mother – was a Marching Ballerina throughout college. She was also a member of Alpha Xi Delta Sorority.
“If I had the opportunity to attend any university in the country, I would still choose JSU,” said Mr. Angle while serving as JSU’s commencement speaker in December 2020. “Jacksonville State University made me the man that I am today.”
The Angles made a private donation to the university to secure naming rights for the former Bibb Graves Hall – one of several generous gifts they have provided the university over the years, but the first to which their name has been attached. According to Mr. Angle, it was of the utmost importance to them personally that the building secure a new name.
“JSU’s diversity is what makes it special, and ultimately, diversity is good for any corporation, university or business,” said Mr. Angle, who serves on Regions’ corporate Diversity and Inclusion Committee. “On campus, we have kids who are gifted academically, and we have kids who want to be gifted academically. We have those who come to campus who have a lot of wealth, and we have students who work two part time jobs to pay for their education. We have people of different nationalities, backgrounds and religious beliefs. And because of this, JSU is able to provide an outstanding and equal learning environment for all.”
Constructed in 1930 as the university’s main classroom and administration building, the three- story, gothic Angle Hall sits atop a hill in the heart of campus, surrounded by historic oaks and gardens. Complete with an iconic bell tower, which chimes hourly, the building is one of northeast Alabama’s most notable landmarks.
The building continues to serve as the university’s main administration building and is home to the Dr. Clarence William Daugette Sr. Presidential Suite, which has housed the Office of the President for eight of the university’s 13 administrations. It is also home to the university’s financial, human resources and student services offices.
The building was originally named for two-term Alabama Governor Bibb Graves (1873-1942), as were buildings at higher education institutions across the state due to his many contributions to public colleges and universities in Alabama. Despite this, his past personal affiliations conflict with Jacksonville State’s current and unwavering commitment to diversity and inclusion, which led to today’s Board decision.
The university will phase out the use of “Bibb Graves Hall” in materials over the next few months leading to the Angle Hall rededication ceremony scheduled for April.