For 20 years, Tom Humphries was known as the man in charge of the Youngstown/Warren Regional Chamber. From this day forward, he’ll be the man for which the main building at Eastern Gateway Community College was named after.
The parking garage and offices underneath, which take up an entire square block, were an after-product of downtown Youngstown’s east end urban renewal project of the 1960s. It’s now the main building of Eastern Gateway Community College.
On Wednesday afternoon, it received a new name — Thomas Humphries Hall.
“When I got the call in December, it was a total surprise and as you can imagine, very humbling and an honor to be thought of that way,” Humphries said.
He received certificates of recognition from Youngstown City Council, State Senator Mike Rulli and U.S. Senator Sherrod Brown.
Eastern Gateway President Jimmie Bruce explained that as the campus grew, the buildings needed to be named.
“One name rose to the top and that was Tom Humphries,” Bruce said.
Humphries told the 150 people gathered that before Eastern Gateway started in 2009, the Mahoning Valley was Ohio’s only metropolitan area without a community college.
“The deal was, ‘OK, yeah, Youngstown-Warren, you need a community college but we don’t have any money,'” he said.
It was Humphries who drove the idea. He lobbied, eventually found money and helped grow Eastern Gateway into what it is today.
“This is the fastest-growing community college in the country,” he said.
Youngstown State President Jim Tressel said naming the building Humphries Hall was an appropriate honor.
“When you have a university in the city — community college right here and then we’re right up the hill — and all the other things that are happening, he’s had a hand in all those.”
Across from Humphries Hall is the Harshman Building, which will now be the college’s Health Workforce Building.
A new program — the Center for Inclusive Education — was announced. It will give people with disabilities a chance to earn college degrees.