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APSU Freshman to Live in Hall Named After Great-Grandfather

            When Ben Rawlins decided to attend Austin Peay State University, he went online to look at the different housing options for incoming freshmen. His father sat next to him as he scrolled through the names of the residence halls, and both men stopped when one name appeared on the screen – Rawlins Hall.

            “My dad was the one who really wanted me to stay in that dorm,” Ben said. “I said, ‘Let’s do it.’”

            When Ben Rawlins decided to attend Austin Peay State University, he went online to look at the different housing options for incoming freshmen. His father sat next to him as he scrolled through the names of the residence halls, and both men stopped when one name appeared on the screen – Rawlins Hall.

            “My dad was the one who really wanted me to stay in that dorm,” Ben said. “I said, ‘Let’s do it.’”

            The residence hall’s name isn’t simply a coincidence. The dorm is named for Ben Rawlins’ great-grandfather, Dr. George Rawlins Jr., who taught at APSU from 1946 to 1964 and served as chair of the chemistry department.

            “I never met him, but I just really wanted to keep the tradition going,” Ben said.

            Rawlins Hall opened in the mid-1960s, following an enrollment boom at APSU. A decade later, Dr. George Rawlins III, a professor of education at APSU and son of the building’s namesake, began joking with students that the building was actually named after him.

            “It was named after my father, but I did tease my classes that I was the only faculty member at Austin Peay with a building named after him,” Rawlins III said.

            He retired from APSU in 1998, and he was sad to learn recently that Rawlins Hall would be torn down in a few years to make room for more residence halls. But then he heard that his grandson, Ben, would be one of the building’s last residents.

            “I think it’s great he requested it,” he said. “I just figured he got assigned to it. But I think it’s great he wanted to stay there.”

            On Aug. 26, Ben Rawlins will join about 600 incoming freshmen as they move into residence halls for the semester. APSU faculty and staff will be on hand from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the “Freshman Welcome Wagon,” to help these new residents unload vehicles and carry boxes to their rooms. 

            “I have never even been in Rawlins Hall, so it’ll be totally new,” Ben Rawlins said. “I’m looking forward to it.”

            And if some of his fellow freshmen ask him about his last name, he might just follow his grandfather’s lead and tell them the dorm is named after him.

            “I’ll definitely try,” he said. “I might pull it over on a few people.”

            For more information on the Freshman Welcome Wagon, please contact Kim Morrow, associate director of housing/residence life and dining services, at 221-7444 or morrowk@apsu.edu.