Western Carolina University is honored to name its newest addition to campus in recognition of Levern Hamlin Allen. This new residence hall will house a community of 600 diverse students pursuing their dreams, and it will bear the name of an ambitious alumna who helped open the door for the opportunities they enjoy today. Allen completed a post-secondary education program at WCU in the summer of 1957. She was the first African-American student at what was then Western Carolina College, and she later served on the WCU Board of Trustees.
WCU's upper campus residence hall will bear the name of the first African-American student to enroll at WCU and among the first to be admitted to any of North Carolina's all-white universities.Learn More
See images from the construction of this five-story, 170,000-square-foot residence hall that will house a community of 600 diverse students pursuing their dreams.Learn More
Take a look back at WCU in 1957, when it was Western Carolina College, by exploring Levern Hamlin Allen's scrapbook from her summer on campus here in Cullowhee.Learn More
Levern Hamlin was the first African American student to be admitted to Western Carolina College in 1957. Hamlin was working as a speech therapist in the Charlotte-Mecklenburg school system when she found she needed certification in special education in order to gain permanent employment.
Allen's admittance and attendance did not spark the type of resistance that occurred at other Southern schools.
Besides being the first black student at Western, Allen was one of the first black students admitted to any of North Carolina's state-supported colleges.
In 1987, Levern Hamlin Allen was named to the college's Board of Trustees. She served for eight years. Allen received an honorary doctorate from WCU in 2006.