Global links and utilities:

Virginia State University Home

Our History

Ideas, Passion and Perseverance.

Virginia State University was founded on March 6, 1882, when the legislature passed a bill to charter the Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute. The bill was sponsored by Delegate Alfred W. Harris, a Black attorney whose offices were in Petersburg, but lived in and represented Dinwiddie County in the General Assembly.

Share this page:


The first person to bear the title of president, John Mercer Langston, was a well-known African-American of his day. Until 1992, he was the only African-American elected to the United States Congress from Virginia (elected in 1888); and he was the great-uncle of the famed writer Langston Hughes.

Share this page: