[RICHMOND, VA – April 8, 2022] -- Virginia Union University’s Board of Trustees has unanimously voted to approve a five-year contract extension for Dr. Hakim J. Lucas, President and CEO of the university. Dr. Lucas is VUU’s 13th President.
“The Board of Trustees is very proud to be guided by the sacrificial leadership of our President and CEO, Dr. Hakim J. Lucas. His competence has excelled VUU to new Levels,” said Dr. W. Franklyn Richardson, Chairman of VUU’s Board of Trustees. “Under his leadership, we have made major strides on our quest to provide a quality education to students and a greater impact on the rest of our community.”
Virginia Union University has seen significant successes under the leadership of Dr. Lucas and the leadership team. The university has launched 11 new academic programs along with graduate programs that will allow students to continue pursuing degrees in high demand fields. In Fall 2020, VUU achieved its highest total enrollment, retention and giving in four years with a record increase in fundraising of over $41 million contributed to the university since 2017 and a $5 million increase in average annual giving in the last five years. VUU’s research portfolio has also achieved notable growth, with an increase in research funding from $5 million in 2017 to $45 million currently.
As part of the Physical Plant and Master Plan, VUU has expanded its footprint with the acquisition of three properties, including the former Budget Inn Motel, completed renovations of the historic Huntley Hall and began reconstruction of the historic Industrial Hall. To inspire individuals who wish to continue their education, the VUU tower, which can be seen from the adjacent highway, was built as a beacon of hope, standing tall and lighting up the night sky.
With the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, VUU displayed the nature of its resilience and dedication to academic success. To cater to the 21st century student and provide a safer way to attend classes during the pandemic, VUU partnered with Apple to provide a technology bundle to the incoming class of 2025. Additionally, dorms were updated to include new smart TVs, allowing students to easily access and attend classes.
Among other notable accomplishments is VUU’s continued partnership with organizations that support communities throughout the Commonwealth. In 2018, VUU launched its “VUU is RVA” initiative in partnership with Richmond Public Schools, providing scholarships to rising ninth graders. The university also secured a partnership with the Capital Area Health Network, which provides medical care and more recently, vaccines to the surrounding community.
In the near future, VUU will further expand its impact by establishing new, specialized centers: The Center for Technology and Innovation, in partnership with Paragon VTOL Aerospace and the Center for Economic Justice in partnership with the Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA) to provide home ownership and careers in mortgage and real estate.
Additionally, during its February meeting, the VUU Board of Trustees approved the creation and naming of the Virginia Union Technical College (VUTC), an entity offering a two-year program, designed to allow students the opportunity to earn an associate’s degree or certification in a specialized field. The Board also approved a partnership for the possibility of opening a lab school in Virginia, which would be one of the first of its kind in the Commonwealth.
Dr. Lucas is a leader in the field of HBCU research and the editor in chief of a series of HBCU-related publications for Information Age Publishing. He published his book, Not for Ourselves Alone: The Legacies of Two Pioneers of Black Higher Education in the United States, in 2019.
“It has always been my goal to serve the underserved and I am proud to have the opportunity to do that through education,” said Dr. Lucas. “The impact we’ve made in this city, so far, is only the beginning of what is still to come and the work we do today affects many generations that will come after us. I look forward to continuing the work to become “Best in Class” by 2025.”