The Mary Morton Parsons Foundation has bestowed $250K upon the university to support renovations

April 05, 2021

Richmond, VA – Virginia Union is elated to announce the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation has bestowed $250K upon the university to support the renovations set to be made on the historic Industrial Hall. 

“To see the growth and development of the campus is thrilling”, said Dr. Hakim Lucas, President and CEO at Virginia Union University. “Industrial Hall was once an essential part of our campus, and with this gift, we can focus on having it return to its prominence.”  

Founded in 1988, The Mary Morton Parsons Foundation took its name after Founder, Mrs. Mary Morton Parsons. The private, non-operating foundation supports the capital needs of charitable organizations. To date, the Foundation has awarded approximately $128 million to qualified grantees, typically issues between $3-5 million annually. 

“We are always actively looking to make an impact in the lives of others and what better opportunity than this for Virginia Union”, Executive Director Amy Nisenson. “We understand what Industrial Hall has meant to VUU’s history and we’re excited to see the vision of what it will become turn into a reality. Providing a space for art, culture, and education provides an essential trifecta for the modern student’s educational foundation. We were so glad to be able to share this moment with the Virginia Union family.”    

The proceeds will be used toward revitalizing Industrial Hall into university museum, gallery and cultural education center. It will house VUU distinctive art collection as it continues to grow, while also providing space for a learning sector for students to experience art in a multitude of styles and genres.  

Industrial Hall, which is also referred to as the “Power Plant”, is accompanied by the towering smokestack and beside it, once stood, was the Industrial Training School during the University’s early years. In the early 1900s, the university generated its own power, had its own water supplies, and kept barn full of livestock including cows, horses, pigs and chickens. Students would commonly work the farm and take on other jobs at Industrial Hall for money to pay for books, supplies and other educational needs as part of the “work study” equivalent of those early years.  

“We’re so thankful to the Mary Morton Parsons Foundation for providing such a generous gift to VUU”, said Ralph Dickerson, VP of Institutional Advancement at Virginia Union. “This is the beginning of a great relationship. We take pride in the partnerships we forge throughout the city and we look for the opportunity to be of service to The Mary Morton Parsons Foundation should the opportunity arise.    

For more information on Virginia Union University, visit our website “https://www.vuu.edu/” or call (804) 257-5600. 


About Virginia Union University   

Virginia Union University is a premier liberal arts urban institution of higher education and center of excellence for the preparation of students and the development of leaders for tomorrow’s world. It was founded in 1865 to give newly emancipated slaves an opportunity for education and advancement. 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. Visit https://www.vuu.edu/ for more information.