Wayne State building names honor former president, longtime residence hall director


Wayne State will honor two women from its past with the naming of the College’s new residence hall, due to house students for the first time in January 2025, and with the naming of the lobby of Morey Residence Hall. The new names were approved by the Nebraska State College System (NSCS) Board of Trustees on April 18 in Lincoln.

Wayne State named the new residence hall in honor of President Sheila M. Stearns’ distinguished leadership of the College from 1999 to 2003.

Dr. Stearns served as the tenth president of the College and was the first woman to lead the institution. Dr. Stearns passed away May 23, 2023. The name of the new hall will be Stearns Hall.

The newly named Stearns Hall will be the first residence hall built since the construction of Bowen Hall in 1966.

The four-story structure will accommodate 276 new and returning students and feature 168 suite-style beds and 108 traditional beds. The main lobby will have an open kitchen, two televisions, a lounge area, pool table, and a front desk reception area. Each floor above the main lobby will have a smaller lounge area. There will be an exercise area on the second floor.

The NSCS also approved Wayne State’s proposal to name the main floor lobby in Morey Residence Hall in honor of Roberta “Mom” Welte’s outstanding professional service as an employee of the College. Welte was a residence hall director at Morey Hall for more than 20 years, from 1967 to 1989. The name of the main lobby will be the Roberta “Mom” Welte Student Lounge.

“Wayne State is proud to recognize two women who left a lasting impression on the College,” said Dr. Marysz Rames, president of Wayne State. “Dr. Stearns is remembered for her work for students, including the All About Students campaign, which provided resources for scholarships and campus beautification. It was quite fitting for the College to honor Dr. Stearns’ legacy at Wayne State with a permanent reminder of her commitment to student success. We are also pleased to recognize Roberta “Mom” Welte, who is so fondly remembered by Wayne State alumni for her role in student life at the College. We are pleased that we could find a way to ensure both of their names will carry meaning for the College for future generations of Wildcats.”