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Virginia State University
Motto "Dream, Explore, Succeed"
Established March 6, 1882 (1882-03-06) (127 years ago)
Type Public, land-grant, HBCU
Endowment 20,000,000 usd
President Eddie N. Moore, Jr.
Faculty 276
Students 5,000
Undergraduates 4,300
Postgraduates 550
Location Petersburg, Virginia,
United States
Campus Suburban, 236 acres (95.5 ha)
Former names Virginia State College for Negroes
Colors Blue and Orange
Nickname Trojans
Athletics NCAA Division II
Affiliations Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association

Virginia State University is a historically black and land-grant university located in Petersburg, Virginia in the Richmond area. Founded on March 6, 1882 (1882-03-06), Virginia State was the United States's first fully state-supported four-year institution of higher learning for black Americans. The university is a member school of the Thurgood Marshall Scholarship Fund.



Following the American Civil War, William Mahone (1826-1895) of Petersburg, Virginia was the driving force in the linkage of Norfolk and Petersburg Railroad, South Side Railroad and the Virginia & Tennessee Railroad in 1870 to form the Atlantic, Mississippi & Ohio Railroad (AM&O), a new line extending from Norfolk to Bristol. After several years of operating under receiverships, Mahone's role as a railroad builder ended in 1881 when the AM&O was sold at auction to form the Norfolk and Western Railway.

Mahone, a former Confederate general best known as the hero of the Battle of the Crater, later led Virginia's Readjuster Party and was a major proponent of public schools for the education of the former slaves and free blacks. He became a United States Senator from Virginia, and arranged for the proceeds of the AM&O sale to help found a school for teachers near Petersburg. In 1882, the Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute at Petersburg was established. State delegate Alfred W. Harris, a black attorney, introduced the bill that established the institute.

Robert Russa Moton wrote in his autobiography, Finding a Way Out (Garden City, N.Y., and Toronto,Doubleday, Page & Company, 1921):

"The next morning I asked my father about the school for coloured people, which was being projected under the influence of General Mahone at Petersburg, now a State Normal School. He told me much about it. It was to open the following fall. The Hon. John M. Langston, he said, a coloured man who was as well educated as any white person that he knew of, was to be the president. He said I might go if I wished and that he would do what he could to help me. It being a state school, and he having certain strong friends in the Republican Party (General Mahone among them), Hon. B.S. Hooper, a member of Congress from the Fourth Congressional District of Virginia, would probably arrange for me to have a scholarship." [1][2]

The school was designated one of Virginia's land grant colleges in response to the 1890 Amendments to the Morrill Act, which required that states either open their land-grant colleges to all races or else establish a separate land-grant educational facilities for blacks.

Virginia State's first president was John Mercer Langston, who later became the first African-American elected to Congress from Virginia. The board of trustees was almost entirely African-American, except for one member. The faculty of the collegiate program and the normal school was African-American until the mid-1960s.

In 1902, the legislature revised the school's charter and renamed it the Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute. In 1923, the college was renamed Virginia State College for Negroes, shortened to Virginia State College in 1946, and finally renamed Virginia State University in 1979. Meanwhile, the school's two-year branch in Norfolk, Virginia, founded in 1935, became Norfolk State College, now known as Norfolk State University.

The third season of the reality television series College Hill was filmed at Virginia State University in 2006.

In 2003, the university accepted its first students in its first Ph.D. program.

On 30 November 2009, the University announced it's 13th President Dr. Keith T. Miller, who is currently the President at Lock Haven University in Pennsylvania.[3]


This is a list of the Departments within each School:[4]

  • School of Agriculture
    • Agriculture and Human Ecology
    • Hospitality Management
    • Dietetic Internship, ADA Accredited
    • Cooperative Extension
    • Agriculture Research Station
  • School of Business
    • Accounting and Finance
    • Computer Information Systems
    • Management and Marketing
  • School of Engineering, Science, and Technology
    • Engineering, Engineering Technology, Industrial Education and Technology
    • Engineering Technology
    • Computer Engineering
    • Industrial Education and Technology
    • Manufacturing Engineering
    • Biology
    • Chemistry and Physics
    • Mathematics and Computer Science
    • Mathematics
    • Computer
    • Psychology
    • Nursing
  • School of Liberal Arts and Education
    • Professional Education Programs
      • Graduate Professional Education Programs
      • Center for Undergraduate Professional Education Programs
    • Economics
    • Health, Physical Education and Recreation
    • History and Philosophy
    • Languages and Literature
      • English
      • Mass Communication
    • Military Science
    • Music, Art and Design
    • Political Science and Public Administration
    • Sociology, Social Work, and Criminal Justice
  • Bachelor of Individualized Studies
  • School of Graduate Studies, Research, and Outreach (offering Master Degrees in):
    • Biology
    • Career and Technical Studies
    • Counselor Education
    • Criminal Justice
    • Economics
    • Education
    • Educational Administration and Supervision
    • English
    • History
    • Interdisciplinary Studies
    • Mathematics
    • Psychology
    • Sport Management

The University also has the Office for International Education and the Institute for Study of Race Relations.


The university has a 236-acre (0.96 km2) main campus and a 416-acre (1.68 km2) agricultural research facility. The main campus includes more than 50 buildings, including 15 dormitories and 16 classroom buildings. The main campus sits atop a rolling landscape overlooking the Appomattox River in the Chesterfield County village of Ettrick.[5]

Student activities



The name used by the school's athletic teams is the Trojans.

Notable alumni

This list includes graduates, non-graduate former students and current students of Virginia State University.

Name Class year Notability Reference
Reginald Lewis Businessman; owner of TLC Beatrice International
William H. Lewis c. 1890 former United States Assistant Attorney General
Vernard Henley Former Chairman and CEO of Consolidated Bank and Trust Company
Hulon Willis First African-American alumnus from the College of William & Mary
Dr. Mary Hatwood Futrell Former president of the National Education Association
Camilla Williams First African-American to receive a contract from a major American opera company
Billy Taylor Jazz musician
James Avery Actor
Caitlin Corcoran Music Editor, Ebony Magazine
James H. Coleman First African-American to serve on the New Jersey Supreme Court
Alonzo Bumbry Former Major League Baseball player
Leo Miles Former NFL Official; first African-American to officiate a Super Bowl
Isaiah Drummond WWI veteran
Avis Wyatt 2007? Professional basketball player
Gaye Adegbalola 1978 Blues singer and civil rights activist
James Brown former NFL player
Pamela E. Bridgewater U.S. Ambassador to Ghana
W. Montague Winfield 1977 U.S. Army Major General (retired)
Bill McGee jazz singer
Shelia Baxter U.S. Army Brig. General (retired)
Willie Harris Lt. Col., Chief of Command Information U.S.A. Reserve
Wale Folarin DC Rapper (transferred to Bowie State University)
Aaron Hall member of the Music Group Guy
Damion Hall member of the Music Group Guy
Das EFX rap group

External links



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