Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges
Matthew D. Shank, Ph.D.
July 6, 2021
Virginia Union University Joins the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges
(Richmond, Virginia – July 6, 2021) – Virginia Union University, an HBCU located in Richmond, Virginia, officially becomes the sixteenth member of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC) on July 1, 2021. This new affiliation is the result of a conversation that began two years ago among VFIC board members, and it recognizes the aligned missions of Virginia Union and the other fifteen schools in the VFIC consortium: to teach a broadly pragmatic liberal arts and sciences education in environments that value and encourage ethical leadership and responsible citizenship.
“Virginia Union University is pleased to join the consortium of VFIC colleges and universities,” says Dr. Hakim J. Lucas, President and CEO of Virginia Union University. “Our priorities align closely with the VFIC’s mission, which is to provide a top-quality and affordable education as we prepare tomorrow’s global leaders. Virginia’s private colleges and universities offer a unique academic experience and are critical to the creation of a diverse and inclusive workforce.”
Virginia Union University was founded in 1865 to provide newly emancipated slaves with an opportunity for education and advancement. Today, the university offers a broad range of educational opportunities that advances liberal arts education, teaching, research, science, technology, continuing education, civic engagement, and international experiences. Virginia Union University is nourished by its African American heritage and energized by a commitment to excellence and diversity.
“It’s impossible to overstate my enthusiasm for Virginia Union’s membership to the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges,” says Gary Thomson, founder and president of Thomson Consulting and chairman of the VFIC board of directors. “While I believe Virginia Union will benefit from being part of a consortium of notable institutions, I even more firmly believe our organization will benefit from Virginia Union’s talented executive leadership, dedicated faculty and staff, as well as the engaged student body.”
With a focus on offering students “The Promise of a Limitless Future,” Virginia Union provides an intellectually challenging and spiritually enriching environment for learning, empowers students to develop strong moral values for success, and develops scholars, leaders, and lifelong learners of a global society. The university community places the highest value on innovation, spiritual formation, integrity, diversity and inclusion, and excellence.
“The future of higher education in Virginia has become all the brighter because of our new partnership with such a premier academic institution,” says Thomson. “As the current chairman of the VFIC, I know I speak for all our Trustees in welcoming Virginia Union and sharing in the excitement of our collaboration.”
For more information, please contact Matt Shank, Ph.D., president of the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges. You can reach him at email@example.com.
About the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges
Established in 1952, the Virginia Foundation for Independent Colleges (VFIC) aims to advance the distinctive values and strengths of the sixteen colleges across Virginia that make up our consortium. We accomplish this goal by generating financial support for our schools – more than $166 million since our inception. Leveraging those resources, we establish and administer a range of programs that help our schools attract the best and brightest, create a vibrant and rigorous educational experience, prepare students for a fulfilling career, and cultivate responsible leaders for the communities they call home.
The following sixteen schools make up our consortium: Bridgewater College, Emory & Henry College, Hampden-Sydney College, Hollins University, Mary Baldwin University, Marymount University, Randolph College, Randolph-Macon College, Roanoke College, Shenandoah University, Sweet Briar College, University of Lynchburg, University of Richmond, Virginia Union University, Virginia Wesleyan University, and Washington and Lee University. These schools educate nearly 30,000 students, 24,000 of whom are undergraduates. Of the fifteen chapters of Phi Beta Kappa in Virginia, nine reside on VFIC campuses. Twenty-nine percent of undergraduates from VFIC schools graduate with a STEM-H degree.
VFIC schools are racially, culturally, and economically diverse. According to research from the State Council of Higher Education in Virginia on VFIC students, 30 percent come from minority backgrounds, 31 percent receive a Pell Grant, and 27 percent come from households with incomes of $40,000 or less. More than 23 percent of the students on our campuses fall into the first-generation category. With enrollments that range from 350 students to 3,500 students, our schools teach a broadly pragmatic liberal arts and sciences education in environments that value and encourage ethical leadership and responsible citizenship.