Centennial Celebration Held for WCU Tatum Court
A centennial celebration was held on August 26 for Tatum Court, the administration building of William Carey University.
The Colonial-style building was completed in 1914 at a cost of $312,982.09. The building was funded through a generous gift from W. S. F. Tatum, a wealthy local Methodist lumberman and early benefactor of WCU’s predecessor, Mississippi Woman’s College. In its original configuration, Tatum Court boasted the largest auditorium in Hattiesburg along with classrooms, laboratories, a gymnasium, a library and a swimming pool on the ground floor. The building, which has been renovated on five occasions since its completion 100 years ago, is now the oldest surviving building on the WCU campus.
During the celebration, Dr. Tommy King, president of WCU, made remarks on the significance of the building as an icon not only for the university but also for the Hattiesburg area. He also welcomed members of the Tatum family. Dr. Myron Noonkester, professor of history and dean of the Noonkester School of Arts and Letters, offered words of remembrance about the building and the significance it has had for his family and others.
William W. (Bill) Tatum Jr., the oldest surviving great-grandson of W. S. F. Tatum, gave a response from the Tatum family. He told of W. S. F. Tatum’s life and personal motto, “Never Quit,” and praised the WCU community for the growth of the university.
Dr. Bennie Crockett, vice president of institutional effectiveness, closed the celebration with a reading of Scripture from Ezra 5:4 and Luke 6:47-48. He also offered a prayer of thanksgiving for the building’s rich service to the university and for the hands that made the building possible.