Join us for an afternoon of celebration and reflection as the Caltech community marks the dedication of the Grant D. Venerable House, an undergraduate student residence named in the fall of 2021 in honor of late alumnus Grant D. Venerable (BS '32). Venerable was the first Black undergraduate student to graduate from Caltech and was an active student leader and athlete during his time on campus. Friday, October 21, 2022, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m., Olive Walk, Caltech Campus.
The event will include a brief program with remarks from Caltech president Thomas F. Rosenbaum, members of the Venerable family, and campus leaders. Refreshments will be served.
The dedication is the culmination of the hard work of many Caltech students, faculty, staff, alumni, and others who came together to reflect on and deliberate about Caltech’s past and to help chart a future that reflects and supports the Institute’s continuing commitment to cultivate a thriving, supportive, and inclusive community of scholars.
Grant Delbert Venerable (BS '32) was the first Black undergraduate student to graduate from Caltech. In 1929, Venerable, of African, Cherokee, and Scottish descent, entered Caltech as a transfer student from the mathematics department at UCLA.
During his time at Caltech, Venerable was involved in several professional and social groups across campus, including the YMCA (now the Caltech Y), the American Society of Civil Engineers, the track team, and the Exhibit Day committee. He wrote for the Caltech student newspaper, The Tech, from 1929 to 1932. Venerable also served as president of Caltech’s Cosmopolitan Club, which was formed in 1925 to promote fellowship among students of different nationalities.
Venerable graduated during the Great Depression and, like most of his classmates, was unable to find employment in engineering and science. He worked for several years at the Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company of Los Angeles, one of two Black-owned insurance companies west of the Mississippi, followed by several mining engineering projects in Death Valley. Continuing to live in Los Angeles, Venerable bought a hotel, which he operated with his brother-in-law. He later bought, managed, and operated the George R. Healey Manufacturing Company, which produced and distributed chalkboard erasers for major school districts across the country, until his death in 1986.
In 1989, the Venerable family endowed Caltech with a book fund in memory of Grant D. Venerable and his wife, Naomi T. Venerable.
In 2021, Caltech named the Grant D. Venerable House in his honor.