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December 6, 2001

K. Leroy Irvis room to be dedicated

A room that will house the personal papers of former Pennsylvania Speaker of the House K. Leroy Irvis will be dedicated at 1:30 p.m. today, Dec. 6, on the first floor of Hillman Library.

Irvis broke ground in 1977 when he became the first African American to serve as Speaker of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. At that time, he was the only African American House Speaker in any of the 50 states.

Irvis is an emeritus trustee of the University and an alumnus of Pitt's School of Law, as well as a poet, artist and sculptor.

The new room at Hillman, funded through a $250,000 grant from the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, will house the K. Leroy Irvis Archives, which the former State House Speaker donated to Pitt several years ago. Included in the archives are Irvis's personal correspondence, legislative materials, campaign literature, photographs and newspaper clippings.

Irvis will have an office in the room and is expected to be available to assist with his papers and to provide expertise on special projects to document the African-American experience in southwestern Pennsylvania.

Expected to participate in the ribbon-cutting ceremony for the K. Leroy Irvis Reading Room are Pittsburgh Mayor Tom Murphy, U.S. Representative William Coyne (D-14), State Speaker of the House Matthew Ryan (R-168), State Representatives Joe Preston (D-24) and William Robinson (D-19) and Brent D. Glass, executive director of the Pennsylvania Historic Museum Commission.

Elsie Hillman will serve as mistress of ceremonies.

Filed under: Feature,Volume 34 Issue 8

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