James McCune Smith Learning Hub

The James McCune Smith Learning Hub - opened April 2021

Building info

Location: University Avenue
Opened April 2021
Size: 16640m2 
Cost: £90.6m
Architects: HLM 

The new James McCune Smith Learning Hub is an inspirational and diverse learning space, allowing undergraduate and postgraduate students access to advanced and useful learning spaces. 

Construction work on the £90.6m building started at the end of October 2017, and the building opened in April 2021.

This flagship development provides a creative environment, combining flexible study and social learning space with multi-styled and technology-enabled teaching. 

The building can accommodate more than 2,500 students, and includes a lecture theatre with capacity for 500 students. Interactive teaching spaces range in capacity from 340 - 75 students, while the hub can also accommodate a number of seminar/group study spaces.


James McCune Smith

James McCune Smith

The new building is named after James McCune Smith - the first African American to be awarded a medical degree, receiving an MD from the University of Glasgow in 1837.

McCune Smith was born into slavery in 1813, however was freed by New York State's Emancipation Act on July 4, 1827.

Recognised as being intellectually gifted, McCune Smith attended the African Free School in Manhattan where his academic achievements led him to apply to several American universities.

After being denied entry to all due to his race, McCune Smith applied for – and was accepted by – the University of Glasgow’s medical school.

McCune Smith went on to gain three qualifications from the University of Glasgow - a bachelor's degree in 1835, a master’s degree in 1836, and his medical doctorate in 1837.

Upon returning to New York McCune Smith set up medical practice in lower Manhattan and grew to be recognised as a prominent figure in the New York black community and a leading intellectual.‌

Read more on the University Story.