Delon Hampton

Delon Hampton shares the spotlight with Aiden(left) and Miles Squiers. They are the children of Sarah Squiers, Hampton's niece.

The Purdue University civil engineering building has a new name and a great story to go with it.

The Delon and Elizabeth Hampton Hall of Civil Engineering naming follows Hampton’s $7.5 million gift to the school, where he earned a master’s degree in civil engineering in 1958 and a doctorate, also in civil engineering, in 1961. He received an honorary degree from Purdue in 1994.

It also recognized and honors Elizabeth Hampton, whom Hampton called “the mother who brought me into this world, the mother who raised me.” It is also his thanks for “the excellence of Purdue.”

Naming the building in the Hamptons’ honor is an appropriate recognition and will serve as an ongoing tribute to his generosity and leadership, then acting President Tim Sands said at the naming ceremony in September 2012.

Leah Jamieson, the John A. Edwardson Dean of Engineering, also praised Hampton’s support. “Dr. Hampton’s gift will allow the School of Civil Engineering to build on its long history of success. He is among the school’s extraordinarily successful graduates, and it’s fitting that the Hampton name will be an integral part of Purdue civil engineering.”

“It also shines a light on Purdue’s longstanding commitment to diversity,” she said, noting that the School of Civil Engineering had the first Purdue engineering African-American graduate in 1894.

Hampton was born in Jefferson, Texas, on August 23, 1933, to Elzatie Lewis Douglas, who succumbed to complications from childbirth.

“Prior to her passing, my mother — at age 25 — found the strength and the courage to make my father promise to send me to live with my aunt and uncle, Elizabeth and Uless Hampton, on the south side of Chicago,” Hampton said.

After the couple divorced, Elizabeth raised him as a single mother with little money or education.

“She instilled in me a strong work ethic and a belief that I could attain any goal I sought, as long as I worked hard and played by the rules,” Hampton said. “Among (other) keys to my success in life are my Purdue education and the friendships I made here.”

Hampton, of Potomac, Md., went on to become the founder of Delon Hampton & Associates (DHA), a top design firm specializing in civil, structural and environmental engineering, and construction and program management and planning services. He also was a civil engineering assistant professor at Kansas State University and a professor at Howard University.

The civil engineering building was constructed in three phases. The original building was constructed in 1950, with the second phase added in 1961 and a final phase in 1986.