University Unveils the H. Westcott Cunningham Welcome Center

First president of Christopher Newport honored at admission hub naming.

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The University has unveiled the H. Westcott Cunningham Welcome Center in Christopher Newport Hall, honoring the first president of Christopher Newport College.

H. Westcott "Scotty" Cunningham established a new college for the people of the Peninsula. His hard work, passion and leadership provided the foundation for Christopher Newport to become a pre-eminent institution of higher education - for both the Commonwealth of Virginia and our nation.

“Earlier this year, we opened the doors to the Gregory P. Klich Alumni House, a place that honors our history and serves as a marvelous spot for all of our alumni to gather when they return home. Today, we honor our history again and name our official welcome center, which greets thousands of future Captains each year, after our first leader and our first Captain,” Rector Scott Millar ‘85 stated at the unveiling.

"While our beautiful campus has changed over the years, with new buildings and programs emerging in support of the remarkable students who call Christopher Newport home, Scotty’s values and vision are always evident," stated President Paul Trible. "We want every individual who visits this campus to be reminded of Scotty’s life of significance and his many contributions to our success."

"I am so pleased about the Welcome Center, and also delighted to return to a place that holds such happy memories for me. Many thanks to Paul and Rosemary Trible for planning this wonderful tribute," Cunningham’s wife, Cecil Cary stated at the announcement.

Cunningham was an Elizabeth, New Jersey native and a 1943 graduate of the College of William & Mary. He served in the United States Navy during World War II as a PT boat skipper in the Pacific and later rose to the rank of Captain. Upon the conclusion of his naval career, he returned to Virginia to work for his alma mater.

While Cunningham was serving as William & Mary’s dean of admission and student aid, Admiral Alvin Duke Chandler, the college’s president, asked Cunningham to consider being “director” of a new junior college created by the Virginia General Assembly. On July 7, 1960, Cunningham accepted the offer, and in 1961 he, along with his wife, Cecil Cary, and their children, Ann and Todd, moved to their new home in Newport News to lead Christopher Newport College.

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