Office of the President, Message from Dr. Hakim J. Lucas

November 30, 2022

November 30, 2022

Dear Panther Community, 

I hope you all had a happy Thanksgiving, enjoying time with family and friends! I am grateful for each of you and all you do to make Virginia Union University better than ever. This month, we’ve made great strides, continuing our journey to Best in Class. Keep reading below for some things you should know about.

Record Enrollment 

Last month marked our enrollment census date, finalizing our actual student headcount. I am pleased to announce that we have seen an increase in total enrollment since last fall. As you may remember, last year, we saw our highest total enrollment in four years with 1,781 students enrolled. This year, we have surpassed that mark, with a total of 1,865 students enrolled. Additionally, we exceeded our total undergraduate enrollment, reaching 102% of our goal, with a total of 1,344 undergraduate students enrolled. Great job to our Enrollment Management team for their ongoing efforts to recruit and retain the best students!

November Board of Trustees Highlights 

This month, we continued our focus on this year’s theme, “In All Things, Excellence” as the Board of Trustees gathered to develop strategies to build VUU as a top-ranked university. Here are a few highlights from our meeting. 

Approval of Endowed Scholarship Funds 

The Board of Trustees approved the establishment of several scholarships to assist students with their cost of attendance. 

One of six endowed scholarships presented was the Joseph and Rachel Hartshorn Memorial Scholarship Fund, named in honor of Joseph and Rachel Hartshorn, who established Hartshorn Memorial College, the first African American women’s college in the country to offer bachelor’s degrees. During our meeting, we heard from the Hartshorn’s great-great-granddaughter, Mrs. Miriam Pemberton, who shared the history of Hartshorn College and its connection with Virginia Union. Our production team also had the privilege of interviewing Mrs. Pemberton earlier this year. To watch the video and learn more about the history of Hartshorn Memorial College and VUU, click here. We thank Mr. and Mrs. Alan and Miriam Pemberton for their generosity! 

Groundbreaking Developments 

We are progressing in the restoration of historic Industrial Hall, the future sight of VUU’s museum and home of the Center for African American History and Culture. Additionally, the board approved the contract for the future establishment of VUU Gateway North, what is now the former Budget Inn property. I am excited to begin planning as VUU expands its footprint and capacity to better serve our community! 

VUU Athletics: Record Setting Season 

Congratulations to sophomore running back, Jada Byers for being named CIAA Offensive Player of the Year with a record setting season, finishing with 1,928 rushing yards. Freshman kicker Brady Myers was named CIAA Special Teams Player of the Year and our very own head football coach, Dr. Alvin Parker, was named CIAA Coach of the Year. The football team ended the season with a final record of 9-2, the most wins for the football team in over a decade. Good work team!  

This Saturday, December 3rd, come out and support our men’s basketball team as they open the home season, taking on the Jaguars of Augusta University. For more information and to purchase tickets for the season, visit the VUU Athletics website

Looking Forward

Tomorrow, join us for our annual holiday concert, Christmas at Virginia Union University, featuring the VUU Choir and First Thursday Jazz Band, along with faculty and staff. The concert is open to the public and will take place in the Allix B. James Chapel in Coburn Hall at 7 PM. 

Lastly, save the date for our 45th Annual Martin Luther King Jr. Community Leaders Celebration. This in-person event will take place at the Richmond Marriott Downtown on January 13, 2023, beginning at 7:30 AM. Stay tuned to your university communications for more information. 

As always, I thank you for your ongoing support of this university. Your efforts do not go unnoticed, and your contributions directly impact the lives of the community we serve. As we begin the last month of this year, I encourage you to keep an attitude of gratitude by showing the people in your life why you appreciate them. 

Thank you for all you do! 


Hakim J. Lucas, Ph.D.
President & CEO