To the Duke community,

I am very pleased to announce that this weekend the Duke University Board of Trustees voted unanimously to name the East Union Building—home of the Marketplace and Trinity Café—in honor of George and George-Frank Wall, a father and son who were longtime employees of Trinity College and Duke University.

A formerly enslaved person, George Wall was hired in 1870 to work at Trinity College in Randolph County. He was one of the few staff members who relocated with the college when it moved to Durham in 1892. Wall purchased land near the new campus, built a house on Onslow Street, and became a leader in his neighborhood, which is known to this day as Walltown. He was close to generations of students and many campus leaders and served the institution for 60 years before his death in 1930.

George-Frank Wall, the oldest of George Wall’s nine children, worked at Duke as a custodian for more than half a century until his death in 1953. His conscientious approach to his work earned him the nickname “Sheriff of the Dining Halls.”

As we mark Duke’s Centennial, this naming is a timely and meaningful way to recognize the significant contributions these dedicated and long-serving staff members made to Duke University.

The building—to be named the George and George-Frank Wall Center for Student Life—is a dining hub for first-year students and a dynamic center of student life on the former Trinity College campus. As such, this naming also recognizes and celebrates the important role that generations of housekeeping and dining staff members have played in nurturing our campus community and creating a supportive environment for students throughout Duke’s history.

The Duke community will be invited to attend a special dedication event for the George and George-Frank Wall Center for Student Life during our Centennial Founders’ Day and Homecoming Weekend, September 27-29 of this year.