Huntley House officially opens

The Living Learning Community was created to promote academic success for male African American students.

Mahmoud El-Kati, left, and Walt Jacobs, right, reminisce about their hometowns during a short break at the Huntley House's, a living learning community for african american males located in Sanford Hall, opening celebration Friday at the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center. El-Kati is one of the first faculty members of the University's black studies department.

Bridget Bennett

Mahmoud El-Kati, left, and Walt Jacobs, right, reminisce about their hometowns during a short break at the Huntley House's, a living learning community for african american males located in Sanford Hall, opening celebration Friday at the University of Minnesota Urban Research and Outreach-Engagement Center. El-Kati is one of the first faculty members of the University's black studies department.

Simon Benarroch

Huntley House celebrated its grand opening at the Urban Research and Outreach Center Friday.

The Living Learning Community was designed to provide a “stable environment” for male African American students in their first year at the University of Minnesota. It took on its first four students at the start of the semester.

Low graduation and enrollment rates for African American men at the University were among the reasons the house was created, according to Patrick Troup, director of retention initiatives for the University’s Office for Equity and Diversity.

Faculty, administrators and students joined former campus activists and community leaders — including some who had participated in the 1969 Morrill Hall takeover — to address fundamental questions of what the LLC stands for and how it might succeed in its mission.

 “The Black Community is in a very peculiar place today,” said Dr. Horace Huntley, for whom the house is named. “We don’t really know who we are.”

He was one of several speakers at the ceremony.

Soon after Huntley’s speech Keith Mayes, the new chair of African American and African Studies, opened discussion regarding the future of the house to attendees.

“We have to be careful of one thing,” he said, “…that Huntley House doesn’t fail.”

Check mndaily.com to learn more about Huntley House and its hopes for the future.