CLAUDE GRANDFORD PERKINS, Ph.D.
Dr. Claude Grandford Perkins is the 12th President of Virginia Union University. Since his appointment as Chief Executive Officer in January of 2009, the University has undergone a major transformation. Dr. Perkins’ achievements include increases in enrollment, scholarships, retention, and the university’s net assets. Dr. Perkins has substantially stabilized the financial position of the university and continues to grow the endowment for long term financial viability. Under his leadership, Virginia Union has added new faculty and new academic programs, including a new graduate program in Curriculum and Instruction, a new Fine Arts program, the Center for the Study of the Urban Child, the Center for International Studies, and the Center for Small Business Development.
Dr. Perkins has completed a new five-year strategic plan for the University and recently completed construction of the first residential facility on the Virginia Union campus in the last 45 years. Dr. Perkins has made more than $10 million in campus improvements during his tenure as president, including a new fitness center, new chemistry and biology labs, all new student furnishings in Storer Hall, and a total facelift for Wall Auditorium. In addition, Dr. Perkins restored the Virginia Union Concert Choir and University Band, and hired the second full-time head women’s basketball coach.
Dr. Perkins’ successful efforts to get the university fully accredited have led to numerous accolades for the university, including the recent distinction of U.S. News and World Report naming Virginia Union one of the Best Regional Colleges 2013. Dr. Perkins’ support of faculty and students has led to an increase in faculty publications and student learning experiences. The first Fulbright Scholar under his presidency was recently completed and a new partnership with Meharry Medical College has created substantial opportunities for Virginia Union’s science majors.
Dr. Perkins’ commitment to serving the community has led to record breaking hours of student volunteer service in the Richmond metro area. Virginia Union has been honored by President Barack Obama with placement on the Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll four times during Dr. Perkins’ presidency. Dr. Perkins expands his leadership role throughout the Greater Richmond community and beyond, serving on the Board of Directors of the Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce, Richmond’s Future, and Bridging Richmond. He was recently elected Chair of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association’s (CIAA) Board of Directors. He also serves on the Executive Committee of Venture Richmond, and the Steering Committee of Future of Richmond’s Past, and is a member of the SunTrust Bank Mid-Atlantic Advisory Board, and Management RoundTable. In addition, Dr. Perkins serves on the Board of Trustees of the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts.
Dr. Perkins brings an impressive record of academic leadership to Virginia Union. He served as Professor of Educational Leadership, Graduate Dean and Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs at Albany State University in Albany, Georgia. As the chief academic officer for graduate education, he was responsible for the granting of degrees in 13 areas of study, including education, business, criminal justice, public administration, and nursing education. Dr. Perkins also provided leadership in establishing international education programs in Kenya, Brazil, Jamaica, South Africa and volunteer programs in Europe and Asia through a program called “Camp Adventure.” Dr. Perkins serves as the chief administrative officer of the African Educational Research Network (AERN) and publisher of the international journal, The Symposium. He was the founding director of the Center for Educational Leadership at Clarion University of Pennsylvania.
Dr. Perkins was the first African American to serve as Superintendent of Schools in Clark County, Nevada, which includes Las Vegas. The Clark County, Nevada School Board honored Dr. Perkins for his work by naming a school for him. The $25 million Claude Grandford Perkins Elementary School was completed in the fall of 2007. Dr. Perkins also served as Superintendent of Schools in Kansas City, Missouri and Deputy and Assistant Superintendent of Schools for the City of Richmond, Virginia. In addition, Dr. Perkins was appointed by the Governor of the State of Nevada to serve as the State Director (Secretary) of Commerce in 1982.
Dr. Perkins earned the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in Curriculum and Supervision from The Ohio University, the Master of Arts Degree in Economics Education from Purdue University, and the Bachelor of Science Degree (with Distinction) in Political Science from Mississippi Valley State University. He has completed further study at Vanderbilt University, University of Nevada, Las Vegas, and Oklahoma State University.
The father of two sons and one daughter, Dr. Perkins is married to Cheryl Elizabeth Perkins.