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Virginia Union University

Virginia Union University is a historically black university located in Richmond, Virginia, United States.



1500 N Lombardy St
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Additional Information

College Type
Religious Affiliation
Baptist Church
Campus Housing
Mission Statement
Maroon And Steel
Central Intercollegiate

College History


The University was founded in 1865 to give the newly emancipated freedmen an opportunity for education of the mind in an ethical, religious environment. An historically black university, Virginia Union University embraces the uniqueness and contributions of the African Diaspora, celebrating the value of cultural and intellectual diversity. However, enrollment is open to all students without regard to racial background. The University provides comprehensive undergraduate liberal arts programs and graduate education for Christian ministries. To this end, a guiding principle of the University's educational program is a strong focus upon moral values and ethics, and students are encouraged to engage in activities that promote self-actualization.The American Baptist Home Mission Society (ABHMS) founded the school in 1865 shortly after Union troops took control of Richmond, Virginia, at the end of the American Civil War. Approximately 4 million former African American slaves, or freedmen, were to become citizens. Many had been deprived of formal education and prevented from becoming literate by Southern state laws. Southern states were in economicl upheaval after the war. Members of the ABHMS proposed a National Theological Institute to educate freedmen wishing to enter the Baptist ministry. Soon the proposed mission was expanded to offer courses and programs at college, high school, and preparatory levels, to both men and women. This effort was the beginning of Virginia Union University. Separate branches of the National Theological Institute were set up in Washington, D.C. and Richmond, Virginia, with classes beginning in 1867. In Washington, the school became known as Wayland Seminary, named in commemoration of Dr. Francis Wayland, former president of Brown University and a leader in the anti-slavery struggle. The first and only president was Dr. George Mellen Prentiss King, who administered Wayland for thirty years (1867�1897). Famous students there included Dr. Booker T. Washington and Dr. Adam Clayton Powell, Sr. In Richmond, the efforts were more difficult. Beginning in 1867, Colver Institute, a VUU predecessor school, was housed in a building long known as Lumpkin's Jail, a former "slave jail" owned by Mary Ann Lumpkin, the African-American widow of the deceased white owner. In 1899, the Richmond Theological Institute (formerly Colver Institute) joined with Wayland Seminary of Washington to form Virginia Union University at Richmond. In 1932, the women's college Hartshorn Memorial College, established in Richmond in 1883, became a part of Virginia Union University. Storer College, an historically black Baptist college in West Virginia (founded in 1867), merged its endowment with Virginia Union in 1964.

College Specialty


Virginia Union University is nourished by its African American and Christian 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 advance liberal arts education, teaching, research, science, technology, continuing education, civic engagement, and international experiences.



James Atkins 2002 Former NFL player Mamye BaCote 1961 Virginia House of Delegates (2004-present) Bessye J. Bearden 1900s Journalist and Social Activist; mother of artist Romare Bearden Leslie Garland Bolling 1924 Early 20th century wood carver Simeon Booker 1941 award-winning Journalist and the first African-American Reporter for the Washington Post Michael Brim 1988 former National Football League player Roslyn M. Brock 1987 Chairman of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Henry Allen Bullock 1928 Historian, winner of the Bancroft Prize Emmett C. Burns, Jr. Maryland House of Delegates (1995-2006) Terry Davis Former NBA player Robert Prentiss Daniel 1924 President of Shaw and Virginia State universities for more than 30 years in total Will Downing attended R&B Singer AJ English former Professional Basketball Player Walter Fauntroy 1955 Civil rights leader, minister, former Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, from Washington, D.C.'s At-large district and was a candidate for the 1972 Democratic presidential nomination Dr. Anderson J. Franklin Professor of Psychology at the School of Education at Boston College Samuel Lee Gravely, Jr. 1948 first African-American to reach the rank of Admiral in the United States Navy Abram Lincoln Harris 1922 Economist; Chair, Economics Dept. Howard University (1936-1945); Professor University of Chicago Pete Hunter 2002 former National Football League player Cornelius Johnson Former NFL player Eugene Kinckle Jones 1906 Member of the Black Cabinet under President Franklin D. Roosevelt and a founder of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. Dwight Clinton Jones 1967 Mayor of Richmond, Virginia (2009-present) Howard S. Jones (inventor) 1943 Inventor, microwave systems hardware; 31 U.S. Patents Charles Spurgeon Johnson 1916 first black President of Fisk University Lyman T. Johnson 1930 integrated the University of Kentucky Leontine T. Kelly 1960 a Bishop of the United Methodist Church Henry L. Marsh 1956 first African-American Mayor of Richmond, Virginia and Member of the Virginia Senate from the 16th district Bai T. Moore Liberian author and poet Delores McQuinn 1976 Virginia House of Delegates (2009-present) Charles Oakley Professional Basketball Player Chandler Owen 1913 Writer, editor and early member of the Socialist Party of America. Wendell H. Phillips member, Maryland House of Delegates (1979-1987) Samuel DeWitt Proctor 1942 President of VUU and president of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University, where he made close acquaintance with then student body president Jesse Jackson Dean John W. Kinney Dean, Samuel DeWitt Proctor School of Theology at Virginia Union University Randall Robinson Attorney; Founder of TransAfrica James R. Roebuck, Jr. 1966 member of Pennsylvania House of Representatives, District 188 Spottswood William Robinson III 1937 Prominent Civil Rights Attorney, Dean of Howard University Law School, First African American to be appointed to the United States District Court for the District of Columbia Herbert Scott 1974 National Football League player, 2 time All-Pro, 3 time Pro Bowl; Dallas Cowboys Wyatt T Walker Activist, civil rights motivator, musician, Theologian who gave letter to Dr. Martin Luther King from Coretta; close confidant and preacher Ben Wallace 1996 Professional Basketball Player, NBA Defensive Player of the Year, NBA Champions; Detroit Pistons Douglas Wilder 1951 first African-American Governor of Virginia (1990-1994) and Mayor of Richmond (2005-2009) Donald F. Turner Professor at Harvard Law School



Urban, 84 acres (33.99�ha)