During the 33rd Prairie View A&M University National Alumni Association convention, Prairie View A&M University officials hosted a special naming dedication ceremony for its Memorial Student Center in honor of alumnus and former interim university president, retired Army Col. Willie Albert Tempton, Sr. (class of ’61).
More than 200 people filled the Opal Johnson Smith Auditorium for the dedication ceremony and reception. On program for the historic event, was John D. White, chairman of the board of regents for the Texas A&M University System and Michael D. McKinney, chancellor for the Texas A&M University System. This dedication ceremony marked the first building ceremony attended by Chancellor McKinney.
The dedicatory tribute was given by President George C. Wright, whose words provided a testament and appreciation for the legacy of Col. Tempton.
Mary L. Tempton, the widow of Col. Tempton, spoke at the ceremony on behalf of the Tempton family. Her response to the ceremony moved attendees to tears when she read a poignant letter written to her by her granddaughter that confirmed the character, strength and respect held by so many for the late Col. Tempton. Mrs. Tempton’s words echoed the sentiments of many long friends and admirers of Col. Tempton.
The highlight of the program featured a musical tribute titled “Thanks Again,” performed by son Gerald D. Tempton.
Among those in attendance were retired Army Lt. Gen. Marvin D. Brailsford class of ’59 and Nathelyne Archie Kennedy, (class of ’59), for whom the university recently dedicated its Architecture and Art Building.
Affectionately known as “Temp” on campus, Col. Tempton completed a distinguished military career before returning to his alma mater to serve as assistant to the vice president for finance and administration. In 1996, he was named vice president for finance and administration and was later appointed interim president of Prairie View A&M University. He successfully served jointly as interim president and vice president for finance and administration until 2003.
Completed in 2003, the Willie Albert Tempton, Sr. Memorial Student Center, stands as the center of campus activity and hosts several major events that draw thousands to the university each year.
The contemporary building houses the university’s main dining hall, the president’s dining room, the campus bookstore, the Opal Johnson Smith Auditorium and a multi-use ballroom. Also located there are the Office of Student Activities, the Office of Student Financial Aid and the Office of Enrollment Management Services, which includes admissions and the registrar. The building provides state-of-the-art recreation and lounge space.