• Harry Black Open or Close

    black icon
    Harry Black, VSU Class of 1985, is the City Manager of the City of Cincinnati.   As the chief administrator for the City and its 6,300 employees he is responsible for the day-to-day operations of City government.  He is also the author of “Achieving Economic Development Success: Tools That Work”, published by the International City/County Management Association.  In 2010, he was apppointed to the VSU Board of Directors and currently serves as Rector. 


  • Pamela Bridgewater Open or Close

    Pamela E BridgewaterAmbassador Pamela Bridgewater, VSU Class of 1968, is a United States career diplomat,  She is an Ambassador to Jamica, and was the longest-serving U.S. diplomat in South Africa and the first African-American woman to be appointed consul general in Durban, South Africa. Her service has included stints in Brussels, Belgium; Kingston, Jamaica; Nassau, The Bahamas; and Cotonou, Benin. The Honorable Bridgewater was appointed U.S. deputy assistant secretary for African Affairs in 2002 to manage the African bureau's relationships with 16 countries in West Africa,economic/commercial policies and programs, and public diplomacy program. Recognized for her innovative approach to promoting U.S. business interests in Benin specifically and Africa overall, Bridgewater was selected as the recipient of the 2002 Charles E. Cobb, Jr. Award for Initiative and Success in Trade Development.

  • Burt A. Bunyan Open or Close

    Bert BunyanThe Honorable Bert A. Bunyan, VSU Class of 1963, was elected Justice, New York State Supreme Court, Second Judicial District, in January 2002. Prior to his election to the Supreme Court (NY), Justice Bunyan was elected in 1995 in Kings County, as Judge of the New York City Civil Court. An athlete while at VSU, in June 2003, Justice Bunyan was inducted into VSU's Sports Hall of Fame. 

  • James H. Coleman, Jr. Open or Close

    James ColemanNew Jersey Supreme Court Justice James H. Coleman Jr., VSU Class of 1956, was the son of a sharecropper who in three decades as a state judge earned a reputation as a judicial moderate.  He became the first African-American judge to serve on the state's highest court.   He retired from the New Jersery Supreme Court in 2003. 

  • Cressondra Brown Conyers Open or Close

    conyers cressondra1 213x300Cressondra Brown Conyers, VSU Class of 1977, was the first African-American woman to serve as a judge in Virginia's 9th judicial circuit.  In 2012, she was elected by the Virginia General Assembly as Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court Judge for the counties of Gloucester, Mathews and Middlesex.   Prior to taking the bench, Cressondra served as the Chief Deputy Commonwealth's Attorney for the City of Williamsburg and the County of James City.  In 2008, she became the first African-American president of the Williamsburg Bar Association, a position she held until 2010. 

  • Flora D. Crittenden Open or Close

    FloraDCrittendenA well-respected Democrat who represented Hampton Roads for a decade before retiring in 2003, Delegate Flora Davis Crittenden, VSU Class of 1945, was the first female graduate from VSU to serve in the Virginia House of Representatives.  She was also a teacher and guidance counselor who worked in school for 32 years.   Crittenden Middle School in Newport News, VA is named in her honor. 

  • Jean Cunningham Open or Close

    Jean CunninghamPerhaps best known for her advocacy of gun control legislation and public education, the Honorable Jean Cunningham, VSU Class of 1968, served as a member of the Virginia House of Delegates from 1986 until she retired in 1997. She has served on the boards of numerous organizations, including National President, Virginia State University Alumni Association and board member of the VSU Board of Visitors, to which she was appointed by former Virginia Governor Chuck Robb.

  • Rosalyn Dance Open or Close

    DanceRosalyn Dance, VSU Class of 1986, is a member of the Virginia House of Delegates representing the 63rd district southeast of Richmond, which is made up of the city of Petersburg; and part of Hopewell plus parts of Dinwiddie; Chesterfield, and Prince George Counties. Prior to her election in 2005, she was the mayor of Petersburg from 1992–2004. 

  • Dr. Florence S. Farley Open or Close

    FarleyFlorence SaundersDr. Florence Farley, VSU Class of 1950, was the first female to serve on the Petersburg City Council and became a member of Virginia’s first majority black city council.  She also was the first female to become Mayor of Petersburg and the first African American woman to become mayor of a Virginia city.  In addition, Dr. Farley was a professor of Psychology at VSU and eventually became the Chairperson of the department. 

  • Hermanze E. Fauntleroy, Jr Open or Close

    HermanFauntleroyHermanze E. Fauntleroy, Jr., VSU Class of 1953, was the first African-American to become Mayor of Petersburg, Virginia and is also considered the first African-American mayor in Virginia. Fauntleroy’s historic achievement was featured in the July 1973 issue of the Jet Magazine.  A visionary and rare public servant, he was a 20-year veteran on the Petersburg City Council and is credited with the current format with which Petersburg City Council conducts its meetings, with becoming the first African-American businessman on Sycamore Street, and with leading the Petersburg 2007 Civil Rights Oral History Project, in which interviews of civil rights leaders in the city have been recorded for historical and educational purposes.  He was also the Director for the Virginia State University Alumni Association and VSU's first development officer. 

  • Roger L. Gregory Open or Close

    roger gregoryNamed one of the "75 Top Black College Students in America" by Black Enterprise magazine in 1975, 26 years later, the Honorable Roger L. Gregory, VSU Class of 1975, became the first African-American appointed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit. The Fourth Circuit encompasses the states of Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia. It has the highest percentage of African-American residents of any Circuit in the nation. Among his varied awards and recognitions, Judge Gregory has been named one of "Virginia's Top 25 Best and Brightest" by Commonwealth magazine and one of the "56 Most Intriguing Blacks of 2001" by Ebony magazine.

  • Dr. Harry A. Johnson Open or Close

    Dr. Harry Johnson, VSU Class of 1942, was the first African-American to serve as a member of the Chesterfield County School Board for the Matoaca District. Early in his career, Dr. Johnson won a Fullbright Scholars' Post Doctoral fellowship to Le Sorbonne in Paris, France, while working at l'Ecole Normale Superieure. Later he served as communications media adviser to the government of Sierra Leone through a contract with Indiana University and the United States Agency for International Development. In this capacity, he founded and organized the first audiovisual center in Sierra Leone, West Africa.  On an invitation from the government of Norway, he lectured and led workshops on communication media at the Universities of Trondheim, Bergen and Oslo. Later, he served as a consultant at the University of Sussex, England. Dr. Johnson also served as a consultant at the University of Puerto Rico for several summers, and he was one of the organizers for the World Council on Curriculum and Instructions in Asilomar, Calif.

    Dr. Johnson was dedicated to VSU for many years. He solicited and won numerous grants for the benefit of the university. He also served as chair of the committee that initiated and saw through to completion the construction of Harris Hall Education Building. He authored and/or compiled three books in the field of education. He was the first African-American to serve as president of the Virginia Association for Education Communication and Technology and was awarded its Lifetime Achievement Award.

  • Delores G. Kelley Open or Close

    1198 1 2600bDelores G. Kelley, VSU Class of 1956, was elected to Maryland's House of Delegates in 1990 and the Maryland State Senate in 1994, where she represents the 10th Legislative District of Baltimore County (the first African-American Senator elected in Baltimore County). As one of the few educators in the Senate, Senator Kelley has led the way on education policy. A relentless fighter for the rights of our community members, Senator Kelley is a leader who stands up for the rights of Marylanders and is a strong consumer advocate. Although Senator Kelley retired from Coppin State University in 2004, where she served for 31 years as a professor and dean, her passion for public education continues, as she represents Maryland on the Education Commission of the States and is the Senate representative on the Maryland Council on Educator Effectiveness.

  • Jesse Mayes Open or Close

    Jessie MayesJesse Mayes was a retired lieutenant colonel in the US Army and served during WWII and the Korean War. He was a Master Parachutist in the 555th PIB and the 82nd Airborne Division. As an officer, one of his many accomplishments was his appointment as the first Black to serve at NORAD. In addition to being a proud member of the 555th Parachute Infantry Association, he also served as its National President and Treasurer. He went on to become a professor at VSU, initially as Professor of Military Science (ROTC) and subsequently in Mathematics and Computer Science.  Later, he became the director of computer centers at VSU, Federal City College, Washington Technical Institute, and the University of the District of Columbia.  In 1984 he was the first black elected to serve on the Chesterfield County Board of Supervisors, representing the Matoaca District. 

  • Annie Mickens Open or Close

    Annie MickensAn advocate for the Tri-Cities region, Annie Mickens, VSU Class of 1972, was a 24-year member of the Petersburg's City Council — including six of those years as mayor - before she retired in 2010.  She was elected to the City Council in 1986, filling the seat previously held by Hermanze E. Fauntleroy Jr., Virginia's first black mayor since Reconstruction. 


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