Freddie Monahan and Jakiran Richardson pose in front of signage for The Royal Treatment after Monday's ribbon-cutting ceremony. Monahan painted the mural on the adjacent wall. Richardson is co-president of Black Student Union, the club that will manage the space. The lounge has two barber chairs, a hairwashing station and some couches, as well as a lot of good vibes. Check it out in EMU's University Commons. (Photos by Macson McGuigan)

Ribbon-cutting marks opening of ‘The Royal Treatment’ barbershop, salon and student lounge

Eastern Mennonite University celebrated the opening of its newest student lounge – “The Royal Treatment,” an informal barbershop and salon – during its observance of Martin Luther King, Jr. Day.

A brief ceremony before the ribbon-cutting included speeches from Student Government Association representative Hannah Nichols, EMU President Susan Schultz Huxman, senior advisor to the president for diversity and inclusion and Multicultural Student Services director Celeste Thomas, facilities management director Ed Lehman, Black Student Union co-president Jakiran Richardson and “resident barber” Mark Loving III.

Scott Eyre, lead residence director, was also recognized for his contributions and leadership.

The speakers then conducted a unity ceremony during which various colors of sand were poured together into a glass container.

“The colors of sand represent the connection between EMU and our multicultural faculty, staff, students, alumni and community,” said Nichols. “They also represent the Kente, a traditional woven cloth worn as a symbol of ethnic pride. The colors chosen are also connected to Kwanza (black for the people, red for the bloodshed and green for greener pastures) and the Olympic rings, a gathering of all nations.”

Also present for the ceremony were Harrisonburg Mayor Deanna ReedStan Maclin, EMU alumnus and founder of the local Harriet Tubman Museum; and local barber Tyrone Sprague, who owns Sprague’s Barbershop in downtown Harrisonburg and has been a supporter of EMU students for many years.

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Discussion on “Ribbon-cutting marks opening of ‘The Royal Treatment’ barbershop, salon and student lounge

  1. When I was a student in the 1960’s, there was a barber’s chair in the basement of Maplewood. Another student with barbering experience gave haircuts for 75 cents each to males of all ethnicity until the city (county?) ordered him to cease and/or be subject to fines because he was operating without a license and in a non-inspected location. That ended John Ruth’s Maplewood barbershop. Perhaps that story should be included as a prequel to “The Royal Treatment.”

  2. Is this open to the public? And where on campus is this located? What is the cost of a child’s hair cut. I would love to support this.

    1. Hi Anna,
      Thanks for your interest in supporting The Royal Treatment. This is a student lounge with hair care equipment available rather than a licensed business open to the public. But you are welcome to stop by for a visit to the second floor of University Commons (go through the inside door located in the snack shop and you’ll see the room on the left, outside the VACA department). There are not set opening hours, so you may want to check ahead of your visit with Celeste Thomas, director of multicultural services ( and she can put you in touch with a Black Student Union rep.

  3. This bold step for EMU is classic! The barbershop/salon is the heart of every community and to provide this service on campus speaks loud and clear what this outstanding university is all about.

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