Groundbreaking Ceremony Held For Memorial Hall Expansion at Cumberland University

Board of Trust

Cumberland University held a groundbreaking ceremony with its Board of Trustees to officially announce the expansion of Memorial Hall made possible by Millard and JJ Oakley’s $5 million gift. 

This transformation of the front entrance of Cumberland’s flagship building will make it possible to hold annual commencement ceremonies on the lawn without a stage setup and include stairs and an ADA compliant ramp. 

With long term visions in mind, plans are in place for remodeling Memorial Hall’s vestibule and expanding walkways around the central gathering space of campus for the community’s enjoyment. This project is expected to be completed prior to the new academic year in the Fall of 2022.

Cumberland continually evolves to meet the needs of its growing community and has recently completed multiple campus enhancement projects including the expansion of the dining hall patio, campus signage installation, a university Welcome Center and more. 

In October of 2021, Millard and JJ Oakley committed $5 million to Cumberland, which became the single largest gift in university history. Although Millard Oakley passed away in April 2022 before seeing construction commence, he knew his family’s gift would impact the campus in an extraordinary way. 

In addition to naming the School of Humanities, Education and the Arts, the Oakleys’ generous gift funded the underway expansion of Memorial Hall and will fund various needs of the school for years to come. 

“We will see the manifestation of Mr. Oakley’s legacy on our campus through projects like this,” said Cumberland University President Dr. Paul C. Stumb. “Our gratitude to the Oakleys cannot be overstated.”

For more information about this project and campus closures throughout the summer, visit

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