Duke Hall of Citizenship
Benjamin N. Duke, of tobacco, textile, and energy fame, donated the funds to build Duke Hall, which was completed in 1928. It has variously housed classrooms, the university's Lincoln collection, religious services, convocations, offices, and a performance center.
Backstory and Context
Duke Hall's auditorium was also the scene of patriotism and sorrow during WWII. Today, a plaque just inside the entrance commemorates LMU's WWII dead. Their names along with the location and dates of their death are as follows:
Lt. Joseph Bryant Ayers, September 24, 1944, in Klene, Germany
Lt. Col. William Riney Craig, December 15, 1944, in Subic Bay, Luzon
Cpl. Wiley M. Compton, June 26, 1944, in Normandy, France
Pfc. Ballard S. Flannary, June 13, 1944, in Normandy, France
T/Sgt. Norwood hall, March 10, 1945
Sgt. V.M. Harris, January 12, 1944, in the Asiatic Theatre
Lt. Samuel Isabell, February, 1944 in North Africa
Sgt. Joe Johns, April 4, 1945, in Germany
Lt. Robert Johnson, May 18, 1945, in Corpus Christi, Texas
Lt. Harry Lafon, Jr., September 7, 1944 in the Pacific Theatre
Pfc. Orrin Rice, June 11, 1944, during the Invasion of France
Capt. Wilbur Welch, 1943
Lt. L.C. Myers, December 6, 1941, in Leige, Belgium
Lt. Pat McCamy William, May 31, 1943, in Coutrai, Belgium
The following account was written by Lou Odle Richards, Class of 1943:
On the day our nation declared war all classes were dismissed, and we were instructed to assemble in the auditorium. A radio with sound amplification was set up on the stage. We sat in silence, and listened to a history-making event about which we could not fully comprehend. A few seats in front of me our Dean of the college sat with his white head bowed. After a while, I saw that he was sobbing and shaking. I felt a great sorrow or him, and was at a loss to understand his emotions...
Many boys left the campus for service, and our enrollment dropped fast. We who were there experienced some grievous days when word came that one was missing or killed in action. Some of the local boys' funeral services were held in the same auditorium where they had heard the declaration of war.
One afternoon some of us girls gathered at our dorm window when the college president's secretary was brought down from her office. She had just received word that her fiance, one of our fellow students, had been killed. We grieved for both of them.
Our graduating class was small in 1943. The night before commencement some of us went up to a class building to find the old campus bell. Traditionally we tolled it once for each graduate, and went our way with sadness for our friends, those who would have graduated with us, classmates who were absent, those whom we had lost and those still in service. Graduation was not a particularly happy occasion at Lincoln Memorial University on that June day in 1943.
Page, Bonnie and Cindy Stephenson. Lincoln Memorial University (Memories and More). Harrogate, Tennessee: PrintOne, 2001.
Sweet, Natalie. Images of America: Harrogate and Cumberland Gap. Charleston, South Carolina. Arcadia Publishing, 2014.
Suppiger, Joseph E. Phoenix of the Mountains: The Story of Lincoln Memorial University. Harrogate, TN: Lincoln Memorial University Press, 2001 (originally published in 1977).