Virginia State University


Virginia State University was founded in 1882, by the state legislature and chartered as the Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute. The legislature bill was sponsored by Delegate Alfred W. Harris, a Black attorney in Petersburg. A lawsuit delayed school opening 1883. In the first academic year, 1883-84, the University had 126 students and seven faculty, one building, 33 acres, a 200-book library, and a $20,000 budget. In 1902, the legislature revised the charter to curtail the collegiate program and to change the name to Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute.

In 1920, the land-grant program for African Americans was moved from a private school, Hampton Institute, where it had been since 1872, to Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute. In 1923 the college program was restored, and the name was changed to Virginia State College for Negroes in 1930. The school was renamed Virginia State College in 1946. Finally, the legislature passed a law in 1979 to provide the present name, Virginia State University.

By 1982, the University was fully integrated, with a student body of nearly 5,000, a full-time faculty of 250, a library containing 200,000 books and 360,000 microform and non-print items, a 236-acre campus and 416-acre farm, more than 50 buildings, including 15 dormitories and 16 classroom buildings.

Its first college president, John Mercer Langston, was one of the best-known African Americans of his day. Until 1992, he was the only African American elected to the United States Congress from Virginia (elected in 1888), and he was the great-uncle of Langston Hughes. From 1888 to 1968, four presidents – James H. Johnston, John M. Gandy, Luther H. Foster, Robert P. Daniel served an average of 20 years, helping the school to overcome adversity and move forward. The next twenty years, 1968-1992, saw six more presidents Ñ James F. Tucker, Wendell P. Russell, Walker H. Quarles, Jr., Thomas M. Law, Wilbert Greenfield, and Wesley Cornelious McClure.

On June 1, 1993, Eddie N. Moore, Jr., the former Treasurer of the Commonwealth of Virginia, became the twelfth President of Virginia State University.

Academic Merit

Virginia State University is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate, master’s, and doctoral degrees. The university offers these degree programs:

Computer Engineering
Computer Science
Counselor Education
Criminal Justice
Educational Administration and Supervision
Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technology
Family and Consumer Sciences
Health, Physical Education, Recreation, Dance & Sport Management
Health Psychology
Hospitality Management
Information Logistics Technology
Management Information Systems
Manufacturing Engineering
Mass Communications
Mechanical Engineering Technology
Media Management
Nutrition and Dietetics
Political Science
Social Work
Sport Management
Visual Arts

Campus Life

Virginia State University is situated in Chesterfield County at Ettrick, on a bluff across the Appomattox River from the city of Petersburg. It is accessible via Interstate freeways 95 and 85, which intersect in Petersburg. The University is 2.5 hours driving distance from Washington, DC. The University emphasizes on-campus housing of students as a vital part of its higher educational experience.

ADDRESS: 1 Hayden Drive, Petersburg, VA
PHONE: 804-524-5000