Virginia Union University Awarded Three Grants from National and Virginia- based Organizations to Support Major Projects

October 08, 2020

October 5, 2020

Angela Hayes

Director, Virginia Union University

Virginia Union University Awarded Three Grants from National and Virginia-based Organizations to Support Major Projects. The grants will support Richmond area high school students, VUU’s Coronavirus Response, and the creation of a new museum internship program.

RICHMOND, VA – Virginia Union University is proud to announce the institution received three grants from the United States Department of Education, the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Systems, and the Institute of Museum and Library Services to support transformative projects at the university.

 “In keeping with the University’s ambitious and innovative academic plan, these new grants provide essential resources to strengthen VUU’s positioning nationally, help advance our learning and discovery agenda, and, most importantly, secure the promise of a limitless future for our students,” said Dr. Terrell Strayhorn, Provost and Senior Vice President of Academic Affairs.

A 1.3-million-dollar TRIO grant from the US Department of Education provides continuing support for Virginia Union University students. The grant is to be administered over the next five years. Student Support Services (SSS) has been serving VUU students since 2010.  Student Support Services focuses on providing learning strategies for low income, first generation and students living with disabilities to increase retention and graduation rates at VUU.  "At VUU, we see education as a critical pathway to social and economic justice," said Dr. Darius Beechaum, director of SSS. "Students at Virginia Union have experienced significant success through this program. Our retention rate for first-year SSS students is 90%, and 92% of SSS students maintain a 2.0 GPA or better. This grant helps the University genuinely set students up for success, and continue our work in supporting VUU students to reach their academic goals."

A $49,948 Coronavirus Emergency Supplemental Funding Grant from the Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Systems will assist the Virginia Union University’s Police Department in purchasing new equipment or replacing equipment to assist in providing sanitation, personal protective equipment, and other necessary supplies to the department.  “We are excited about the work that is being done here at VUU Public Safety. The  safety of our campus community is our top priority. This grant helps ensure we are able to provide the necessary protective equipment for our officers and security team as well as additional sanitation supplies to keep our students faculty and staff safe,” said Chief Clarella Thomas, director of public safety at Virginia Union University.

A third grant totaling $205,732 from the Institute of Museum and Library Services supports professor Pari Valad in piloting a paid internship program for VUU undergraduate students through the University’s Museum of African Art. The internship program allows students to gain valuable career-directed experience in a variety of museum settings of different scales, sizes collections, increasing the scope of their experience as an intern while increasing African American student exposure to the museum field. “Experiential learning allows our students to acquire professional experience before entering the workforce,” said professor Pari Valad. “We are thankful that this grant will allow us to introduce students to the business of the artworld, thus making them more competitive and employable after graduation.”

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.