Carnegie Mellon University

Spirit House Rededication & Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

November 11, 2017

Spirit House Rededication and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony

Mandi Semple
  • Director of Marketing, Student Affairs
  • 412-268-3437

As part of the 50th Anniversary “For the Founders” celebrations, the Carnegie Mellon community celebrated one of its longest-standing student organizations, SPIRIT. SPIRIT members – past and present – came together for the SPIRIT House rededication and ribbon cutting ceremony on Saturday, November 11, 2017.

Carnegie Mellon’s black student organization, SPIRIT was established over a quarter century ago. SPIRIT House was officially established and occupied in 1973 by its founding members: Tanya Allmond, Eddie Bullock, Alease Carrington, R.F. Duck, Jr., Pearl Fletcher, Harry Gateway, Dambe Gordon, Fela Neely, Agatha Marshall, Toni McKay, and Rita V. Robinson.

In 2008, an engineering study was done on SPIRIT House and deemed the building unsafe for occupancy. After years of vacancy, Housing Services, in conjunction with CDFD, FMS, and other campus partners, began conducting additional structural research and studies, which ultimately led to the summer 2017 renovation project. Current members of SPIRIT officially moved back into the original SPIRIT House for the 2017-08 academic year.

At the ceremony, alumni took a walk down memory lane, reminiscing with one another and reliving the days reflected in the archival photos that were on display. Remarks were given by Shernell Smith with the Center for Student Diversity and Inclusion; Catherine Mondoa, CIT ’19, and President of SPIRIT; John Hannon, Associate Vice President of Student Affairs for Community Life; Bill James, IA ’78, President of Carnegie Mellon Black Alumni Association; and R. Franklin Duck Jr., HSS ’74, CFA ’76, and SPIRIT House Founder. Peter Rezk, MCS ’20, presented a powerful original spoken word piece.

The overall feel of the evening was one of celebration – celebration of those who paved the way and of those who will further the path. Catherine summed up this sentiment in her inspiring remarks: “Today is a beautiful day. We celebrate our connection to our roots and the overgrowing potential of our present and future. We are SPIRIT. We are learners, we are dreamers, we are institutional minorities and we are together. And this house, this makeshift home, is our anchor on this campus and beyond — even when we’re apart. Distance and time having pulled us far, there it is to remind us — and to remind anyone who walks by — that we are here, we exist, and we will continue to stand strong and tall now and into the future. It is our real, visible, touchable mark.”

View the video of everyone's remarks: