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PCI donates $500K to USA alumni center

The Poarch Creek Indians donated $500,000 to build the Julian and Kim MacQueen Alumni Center’s ballroom at the University of South Alabama, according to a release.

The ballroom will be named the Chief Calvin W. McGhee Grand Ballroom.

McGhee was a longtime leader and equal rights activist for the Tribe.

“We are proud to have the ballroom named in honor of my late great-grandfather and a leader everyone admired,” said Robert R. McGhee, vice chair, of the Poarch Creek Indians in a release. “During his lifetime, Chief McGhee always strived to attain equal rights for his people and believed that education was an integral part of our lives.  Many tribal members have graduated from USA, and it is inspiring to know they will have a place at the new alumni center named for a former tribal leader. This honor will continue his legacy that everyone should be able to obtain an education.”

The MacQueen Alumni Center, which is being funded through philanthropic gifts to the USA National Alumni Association, will serve as the permanent home for University alumni. The center will be located in the epicenter of campus, across from Moulton Tower and Alumni Plaza, on USA Drive South. The Poarch Creek’s donation will allow the alumni association to break ground on the project soon.

McGhee was born in 1903, and was best known for protesting the unequal educational rights of the Tribal youth. His activism led to the Escambia County School Board granting equal educational opportunities for the Poarch Creek tribe in the late 1940s. McGhee passed away in 1970.

“We are honored to be able to name the new alumni center ballroom after such a historic educational advocate and leader,” said Margaret M. Sullivan, vice president for development and alumni relations at the University of South Alabama. “His legacy will continue to have a positive impact on our thousands of graduates who will call this center their home for generations to come.”

Alumni Association President Doug Whitmore believes the addition of a new center will elevate the experience for the University’s more than 80,000 alumni.

“The MacQueen Alumni Center will allow our alumni the opportunity to have a true home on campus for the first time in the University’s history,” Whitmore said in a release.