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Virginia State University

Virginia State University is a historically black land-grant university located north of the Appomattox River in Ettrick, Chesterfield County, near Petersburg, Virginia.


1 Hayden Drive
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Additional Information

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Mission Statement
Virginia State University, America"s first fully state supported four-year institution of higher learning for Blacks, is a comprehensive university and one of two land-grant institutions in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Its mission is to promote and sustain academic programs that integrate instruction, research, and extension/ public service in a design most responsive to the needs and endeavors of individuals and groups within its scope of influence. Ultimately, the University is dedicated to the promotion of knowledgeable, perceptive, and humane citizens - secure in their self-awareness, equipped for personal fulfillment, sensitive to the needs and aspirations of others, and committed to assuming productive roles in a challenging and ever-changing global society.
Blue Orange
Central Intercollegiate

College History


Following the American Civil War, William Mahone (1826�1895) of Petersburg, Virginia was the driving force in 1870 to combine the Norfolk and Petersburg, South Side and the Virginia & Tennessee railroads to form the Atlantic, Mississippi & Ohio Railroad (AM&O). The new line extended from Norfolk to Bristol. After the AM&O struggled to operate for several years under receiverships, the railroad was sold at auction in 1881 and became part of the Norfolk and Western Railway. Mahone, a former Confederate general, led Virginia's Readjuster Party. He was a major proponent of public schools for the education of freedmen and free blacks. Elected by the state legislature as a United States Senator from Virginia, he arranged for the proceeds of the AM&O sale to help found a normal school for black teachers near Petersburg. Alfred W. Harris, a black attorney who was a state delegate, introduced the bill that established the institute. In 1882, the Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute at Ettrick was established. � "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." � �Dr. Robert Russa Moton Virginia State's first president was John Mercer Langston, former dean of Howard University's law school, and later elected to Congress as the first African-American Representative from Virginia (and the last until 1972). The board of trustees was composed of prominent African-American men, with one seat for a white man. Until the mid-1960s, following federal civil rights legislation that ended racial segregation, the faculty of the collegiate program and the normal school was exclusively African American. In response to the 1890 Amendments to the federal Morrill Act, Virginia designated the normal school as one of its land grant colleges. The United States Congress required that states either open their land-grant colleges (supported by all taxpayers) to all races or else establish additional land-grant educational facilities for blacks. Following the Reconstruction era, white Democrats had regained power in the Virginia state legislature (and across the former Confederacy); they had established Jim Crow racial segregation in public facilities, including schools and colleges. In 1902, the legislature revised the school's charter and renamed it the Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute. With expansion of programs and a four-year curriculum, in 1930 the college was renamed Virginia State College for Negroes, shortened to Virginia State College in 1946. In 1979, the institution's addition of more departments and graduate programs was recognized in a change of name to Virginia State University. Meanwhile, the school's two-year branch in Norfolk, founded in 1935, was expanded to a four-year curriculum and renamed Norfolk State College. Following additional expansion of programs, it is now Norfolk State University. The third season of BET's 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 July 1, 2010, President Keith T. Miller was named as the 13th president of Virginia State University. He previously served as President of Lock Haven University. Miller earned his bachelor, master, and doctoral degrees from the University of Arizona.

College Specialty


The mission of the UCC is to provide a supportive climate for enrolled students to receive an array of mental health services to enhance their emotional growth and academic success during their college years and beyond.�The counseling center houses four specialized services:�Students with Disabilities (SSD)* Substance Abuse, Sexual Assault, Mental Health, and Peer Mentoring Training.



Gaye Adegbalola 1978 Blues singer and civil rights activist James Avery Actor Joe Bonner jazz pianist Herman Branson 1936 African American physicist, best known for his research on the alpha helix protein structure Dr.Rovenia M. Brock Nutritionist, lecturer, health reporter, entrepreneur, and author Al Bumbry Major League Baseball Larry Brooks 1971 former NFL defensive lineman for the Los Angeles Rams and current assistant coach of the Virginia State Trojans football team James Brown former NFL player Pamela E. Bridgewater former U.S. Ambassador to Ghana and current U.S. ambassador to Jamaica Myles "Ray" Cunningham 2006 one of eight cast members on season 3 of BET's College Hill reality series Rosalyn Dance 1986 politician, Member of the Virginia House of Delegates from the 63rd district Das EFX attended rap group Silas DeMary 1993 Arena Football League player Wale Folarin DC Rapper (transferred to Bowie State University) Roger L. Gregory 1975 Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit Aaron Hall attended member of the Music Group Guy Damion Hall attended member of the Music Group Guy Delores G. Kelley 1956 member of Maryland State Senate, representing Maryland's District 10 in Baltimore County, Maryland Reginald Lewis Businessman; owner of TLC Beatrice International William H. Lewis c. 1890 former United States Assistant Attorney General Naomi Long Madgett 1945 teacher and an award winning poet, she is also the senior editor of Lotus Press, which is a publisher of poetry books by African-American poets Thomas Miller prolific graphic designer and visual artist, whose best known publicly accessible work is the collection of mosaics of the founders of DuSable Museum of African American History in Chicago, Illinois. H�ctor Mart�nez Mu�oz first member of the Supreme Court of Puerto Rico Dr.James H. Stith 1963 African-American physicist and current professor of Physics at Ohio State University Roslyn Tyler politician, Member of the Virginia House of Delegates from the 75th district Billy Taylor Jazz musician Camilla Williams 1941 First African-American to receive a contract from a major American opera company Benjie E. Wimberly Member of the New Jersey General Assembly Avis Wyatt 2007? Professional basketball player



Suburban, 236 acres (95.5 ha)