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The geology building will now be named after Glasgow graduate influential in the African National Congress.

The geology building, formerly known as the Gregory Building, has been renamed the Molema Building. 

The building which opened in 1980, had been renamed the Gregory building in 1998 after John Walter Gregory, who was the University of Glasgow's first geology professor, teaching from 1904-1929. 

This name has now been stripped due to Gregory's Galtonist and racist views. A UofG spokesperson said: “Following consultation with colleagues in the relevant Schools, the University has re-named the Gregory Building, the Molema Building. The decision was taken in recognition of the fact that the views propounded by Professor John Walter Gregory on race and racial segregation are completely at odds with the University’s values.

“The University has chosen to recognise Dr Molema because of his contribution to South Africa through his medical, academic and political work, as well as his close ties to the University of Glasgow. The decision to name a building after Dr Molema is supported by his daughter, Warada, and by his family.”

In 1931 the geologist delivered a lecture at Conway Hall which concluded that drawing on the experience of cross-breeding between animal species and plants, inter-marriage between racial groups in humans leads to "inferior" offspring. He is quoted as saying in this lecture that "the segregation of the three races is desirable”.

The new name is after Modiri Molema, a South African 1919 graduate of medicine from the University of Glasgow. Molema went on to become an influential member of the African National Congress (ANC), Nelson Mandela's political party, which has held power since the first free and fair elections in which Mandela was elected in 1994. As an outspoken critic of administrative and financial problems in the ANC at the time, Molema was elected the party's national treasurer in 1949 and reelected in 1952. He was arrested for civil disobedience during the Defiance Campaign, against apartheid laws, in 1952. The following year, the government ordered his resignation from the ANC, at which point he left politics.


4 replies on “Renamed: former Gregory Building now titled Molema Building”

Matthew Staitis says:

I agree a more appropriate name change was overdue however, I feel an important opportunity has been missed here by the university to highlight past and recent notable Glasgow geology graduates from minority backgrounds.

Eddie Stewart says:

I’d agree entirely with your point, (or to celebrate an archaeologist since it’s 1/2 our building too…)

Matthew Staitis says:

Alternatively the building could have been renamed the Ethel Currie building. She worked with Gregory and got a PhD but wasn’t allowed a lectureship because she was a woman. I feel she would have made the perfect candidate especially as there are not many UofG buildings named after women. If you take into account that geosciences has historically been underrepresented by women – the ability to make a powerful statement here has been truly missed. To my knowledge, Molema has no connections to the School of Geographical and Earth Sciences. Ye it clearly feels very forced. Other minority groups deserve equal recognition by the university too!

Graham King says:

I agree. If it had to be re-named it would have been better to name the building after one of the distinguished geologists associated with the University. Neville George was instrumental in the new building. Ethel Currie is a good suggestion too, though her main link was to the Hunterian.

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