Roanoke College Will Name a College Building for a Woman for the First Time

Roanoke College in Salem, Virginia, is renaming a residence hall to honor the late Billie Jean Beamer, a longtime faculty member at the liberal arts educational institution. Beamer taught health and physical education at Roanoke for 37 years and was an early advocate of women in sports.

Formerly known as Allegheny Hall, the residence hall overlooks the college’s Athletic Quad. It will be officially renamed as Beamer Hall later this year. This will mark the first building on Roanoke’s campus to be named for a woman in the 176-year history of the institution.

Beamer was a 1952 graduate of Roanoke College. She received a master’s degree from the University of Virginia. After teaching at junior high schools, she returned to Roanoke College in 1959 as an instructor in health and physical education. Beamer coached volleyball, basketball and tennis at Roanoke and assisted with the field hockey program. Beamer retired in 1997.

Beamer died on January 2, 2017. She created an estate bequest to the college when she passed. The gift was valued at approximately $2.7 million.

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