As part of the 139th Founders’ Celebration at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff, Caldwell Hall auditorium will be named the Cross-Phipps Lecture Hall in honor of Harry L. Cross and Della Gardner Phipps.
The free, public event will take place Friday at 4:30 p.m. in the lecture hall.
Cross was born and reared in Camden where he attended the Camden Colored School from elementary through high school.
He graduated as co-valedictorian of his high school class before attending Arkansas Mechanical and Normal College (AM&N College) now UAPB.
Cross was a member of the Vesper Choir, marching band and Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity Inc.
After graduation, Cross served in the military four years during World War II, was discharged as a captain and later established a career in education administration and finance administration at UAPB.
He remained for nearly 40 years in the capacities of accounts receivable clerk, internal auditor, chief accountant, and instructor of accounting at UAPB.
An active member of St. John AME Church in Pine Bluff, Cross has been a class leader, steward, finance committee member, and church treasurer. He is married to Mildred Cross, a retired associate professor of English and former head of the Department of English, Speech and Drama at UAPB.
The late Phipps grew up in Hot Springs attending Langston High School and later AM&N College. She obtained her bachelor degree from Bishop College in Marshall, Texas, and did post-baccalaureate study at Howard University in Washington, D.C., and Fisk University in Nashville, Tenn.
She began as an elementary and high school teacher in Rison and Wilmar before assuming the registrar’s position at AM&N in 1962.
Phipps was an active resident of Pine Bluff, serving as a member of the American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers and the National Association of Deans, Registrars and Admissions Officers.
She was a charter member of the Pine Bluff Chapter of the Links, member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority Inc. and was affiliated with the Old Timers Auxiliary of UAPB/AM&N Alumni Association. Phipps was also a member of St. John AME Church where she served on the Stewardess Board #2, was a member of Collegiate Club, Ladye B. O’Bryant Women’s Missionary Society and Sunflower Club.
Upon her retirement from UAPB in 1983, Phipps served as a board member for the Arkansas Cancer Society and the Arts and Science Center for Southeast Arkansas.
“Phipps was a very personable woman whose kindness and concern for others began at home with her husband, Dr. Harlod Phipps, Jr. and their three children: Dr. Evelyn Boyer, Willeta Phipps, and Harold Phipps, III and extended to her wide circle of family and friends including that of the AM&N/UAPB community,” a spokesman said.