Virginia Union students smiling at the camera outside campus building

Virginia Union University

Virginia Union University was founded in 1865 to give newly emancipated slaves an opportunity for education and advancement. The university is the result of the merger of four institutions: Richmond Theological Seminary, Wayland Seminary, Hartshorn Memorial College and Storer College.

Virginia Union University is nourished by its African American heritage and energized by a commitment to excellence and diversity. Its mission is to:

  1. Provide a nurturing intellectually challenging and spiritually enriching environment for learning;
  2. Empower students to develop strong moral values for success; and
  3. Develop scholars, leaders, and lifelong learners of a global society.

To accomplish this mission, Virginia Union University offers a broad range of educational opportunities that advances liberal arts education, teaching, research, science, technology, continuing education, civic engagement, and international experiences.

Virginia Union University Facts

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  • Virginia Union students have volunteered so many hours of community service (about 20,000 hours each year) that the university has been named to President Obama’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll for four years in a row.
  • Founded in 1865, Virginia Union University is one of the oldest historically black universities in the South.  In honor of its 150th anniversary, noted sculptor Ed Dwight recently created a 150th Anniversary monument that is displayed prominently on the University’s Richmond, Virginia campus.
  • Virginia Union University recently opened a new $17 million Living and Learning Center, which includes a 240-bed suite-style residence hall, and conference and seminar facilities.

When I decided to pursue higher education, I came to Virginia Union University...I had no idea that I was joining such a strong diverse community of leaders and world changers. I began to see myself far beyond what I had ever imagined.

Class of 2015

Faith Barbour Class of 2015

Notable Virginia Union Alumni

  • 22 college presidents graduated from Virginia Union
  • Governor L. Douglas Wilder, first elected African American governor in the nation
  • Admiral Samuel Gravely, Jr., first African American admiral in the U.S. Navy
  • Rev. Dr. Wyatt Tee Walker, Chief of Staff to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.
  • Randall Robinson, foreign policy advocate and author, founder of TransAfrica
  • Senator Henry Marsh, first African American mayor of Richmond, VA
  • Roslyn Brock, current Chairman, National Board of Directors, NAACP
  • Janet Jones Ballard, 22nd national president of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
  • Dr. Yvonne Maddox, current Deputy Director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, National Institutes of Health
  • Dr. Cora Marrett, retired Deputy Director, National Science Foundation
  • Simeon Booker, first African American reporter for Washington Post; Washington Bureau Chief for Jet magazine for more than 50 years
  • Will Downing, award-winning vocalist, writer, and producer
  • Necole Parker, founder and CEO of the ELOCEN Group, recently named Washington, D.C.’s small business person of the year by the U.S. Small Business Administration; company exceeded $200 million in revenue last year
  • Dr. S. Dallas Dance, current superintendent for Baltimore County Public Schools
  • Dr. Benjamin Mays, former president of Morehouse College
  • Dr. Charles Spurgeon Johnson, first African American President of Fisk University
  • Bishop Leontine Kelly, former Bishop of the California-Nevada Annual Conference and President of the Western Jurisdiction College of Bishops, spiritual leader of more than 100,000 United Methodists, and first African American to be elected bishop of any major denomination in the world

Virginia Union Staff