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VSU Foundation

2013-2014 Notable Achievements

  • VSU broke ground on its $84 million Multipurpose Center, a beacon of cooperation and unity. The new facility is expected to open in Fall 2015. More than one-third of the signed contracts for site work on Virginia State University’s Multipurpose Center have gone to minority-owned companies.  Of the more than $4.86 million in contracts signed to date, minority companies have received $1.62 million. African American-owned companies received nearly half of that amount, $801,000.
  • VSU’s Gospel Chorale advanced to the Live Performance round of NBC’s America’s Got Talent TV series. The Chorale also toured Europe in late 2013 and performed during the Pope’s worldwide-televised Christmas Concert.
  • VSU hired Grammy-nominated artist James “Saxsmo” Gates to reinvigorate the Billy Taylor Jazz Studies Program.
  • Virginia State again participated in the Caterpillar Study Abroad program, through which a group of students spent a semester studying in China.
  • During Homecoming, VSU formally dedicated the Reginald F. Lewis College of Business.
  • The Huffington Post and HBCU Digest cited VSU as one of five HBCUs that are “Saving the World Through Sustainability.”  VSU was noted for its Cooperative Extension program, which, the groups said “promotes sustainable agricultural practices, and stronger local economies in and around Petersburg, VA. Assisting independent farmers…VSU helps generations of current and potential farmers grow produce and business savvy through instruction on best practices and exposure to new technologies in aquaponics and alternative crops. Additionally, VSU provides agricultural research to provide farmers with strategies to avoid crop infestation and foodborne illness.
  • Virginia State University’s Bachelor of Social Work (BSW) program has received full accreditation from the Council on Social Work Education’s (CSWE) Commission on Accreditation (COE).
  • In just under three years, VSU has established 18 concurrent (dual) enrollment partnerships with more than 30 high schools, offering more than 97 VSU courses to nearly 1,000 high school students.
  • Dr. Yixang Xu, food processing/engineering assistant professor in Virginia State University’s Agricultural Research Station, has been awarded two competitive grants totaling $320,351. These will fund research on the use of nanotechnology in food packaging to extend the shelf life of perishable food products and will enhance VSU’s ongoing efforts to develop commercial chickpea varieties suitable for production in Virginia and to familiarize Virginia farmers with chickpeas.
  • Dr. Stephan Wildeus, a small ruminant professor in VSU’s Agricultural Research Station, recently received a three-year, $299,305 USDA capacity-building grant that supports research and extension efforts to help limited resource farmers increase their incomes by raising and selling grass-fed hair sheep as meat to direct and retail markets.
  • Alex Todd of Baltimore, a senior, health and physical education major received the Frances A. Mays Award at the 2013 VAHPERD Convention. Todd currently serves as President of the VSU Sport Management Majors Club and as a member of the Club’s Board of Directors. The Frances A. Mays Award is presented each year to an undergraduate student from a Virginia college or university who emulates the personal qualities, high ideals, and professional ethics for which Frances A. Mays was known, admired, respected and loved.
  • Victoria Brunson, a junior in the College of Agriculture and Mohamed Bah, a junior, criminal justice major, are two of over 1,000 outstanding American undergraduate students from almost 400 colleges and universities across the U.S. who have been awarded the prestigious Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship to participate in a study abroad program.
  • Ulysses S. Knight, III, a VSU Project Management master’s degree candidate, completed training to join the University Innovation Fellows, a national program that empowers student leaders to bring more entrepreneurial activity to their campuses. Knight joins a national network of 110 University Innovation Fellows from 78 schools across the country. Knight also obtained his B.S. degree in Business Management with a minor in International Business from VSU.
  • VSU faculty member C. Nana Derby, Ph.D., an Associate Professor in VSU’s department of sociology, social work and criminal justice, was awarded a prestigious Fulbright U.S. Scholar Grant for the 2014-2015 academic year. She will teach and conduct research from January 2015 through August 2015 on human trafficking, with a special focus on child domestic servitude in Nigeria.
  • VSU has joined a network of 70 colleges and universities that sponsor the Bonner Leaders Program, a new, service-based scholarship program.  Students in the Bonner Leaders Program serve 8-10 hours per week during the school year and participate in regular training and reflection about their service and the issues they are addressing.  In return, they will receive a school-year stipend and an AmeriCorps Education Award.
  • The Corporation for National and Community Service named Virginia State University to the 2013 U.S. President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll.  The designation represents the highest honor a college or university can receive for its commitment to volunteering, service-learning and civic engagement.  This is the first time VSU has been named to the Honor Roll.
  • While many college students see Spring Break as a time of beaches, partying and socializing, two groups of Virginia State University students and staff spent their break building houses, clearing brush, building bridges and hacking weeds. The groups participated in VSU’s Alternative Spring Break, volunteering from March 4-7 for Habitat for Humanity in Lucedale, MS and Shenandoah River State Park. 
  • The American Association for Blacks in Higher Education (AABHE) presented VSU Associate Provost for Partnerships and Engagement Dr. Muriel Hawkins with the group’s Public Service Award. The Public Service Award is presented to an individual who has demonstrated a commitment to AABHE, experienced career accomplishments and successes and has held leadership positions. Since coming to VSU in 2011, Dr. Hawkins has led the University’s Concurrent Enrollment initiative that has resulted in 16 agreements between VSU and some of Virginia’s largest public school systems.
  • The American Council on Education selected VSU’s Dr. Nicolle Parsons-Pollard, Assistant Vice Provost for Academic Operations and Associate Professor, Sociology, Social Work and Criminal Justice, as one of 31 college and university senior faculty and administrators for the 2014-15 class of the ACE Fellows Program. She represents one of three fellows selected from a Historically Black College or University. 
  • Dominion Virginia Power has awarded Virginia State University a two-year, $150,000 grant for a “Green Roof Initiative” that combines green roof and alternative energy technologies in novel ways to improve both the energy efficiency of buildings and the sustainable use of water for irrigation.
  • VSU’s Athletic Department adopted Harrowgate Elementary School for the 2013 school year. The purpose of the partnership is to provide the Harrowgate students with positive role models, lunch buddies, tutors and educational and social activities. The program will stress the importance of both education and athletics and also provide students with the motivation to work hard and achieve their goals.
  • This year, 110 VSU Trojans earned Scholar-Athlete status with at least a 3.0 grade point average. That equates to 41.5 percent of the total number of Trojan student-athletes. At 70 percent, VSU athletes have the CIAA’s highest graduation rate, and the fourth highest graduation rate in the NCAA Division II Atlantic Region, which includes the CIAA, the Pennsylvania Athletic State Conference (PSAC) and the Mountain East Conference (MEC).
  • The Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) presented Virginia State University with the conference’s Loretta Taylor All Sports Award as having the conference’s best women’s sports program and the C. H. Williams All Sports Award for the CIAA’s overall best men’s athletic program. This represents one of the few times one school has received both the men’s and women’s awards.
  • The VSU football team won the CIAA Northern Division and head coach Latrell Scott was named Dr. Cavil’s HBCU Coach of the Year, along with several other Coach of the Year honors.
  • The VSU Volleyball team also won the CIAA Northern Division and Ivana Rich was named CIAA Coach of the Year.  
  • The VSU women’s basketball team completed one of the most heralded campaigns in school history, winning the CIAA Northern Division, achieving a top-10 national rank, advancing to the NCAA Atlantic Regional tournament and earning the CIAA’s John B. McClendon Sportsmanship Award. Coach James Hill was honored as CIAA Coach of the Year and Dr. Cavil’s HBCU Mid-major Women’s Coach of the Year. Senior Lamesha Deal was named CIAA Player of the Year and Dr. Cavil’s HBCU Mid-major Women’s Player of the Year.
  • In indoor track & field, Hughnique Rolle won the 3000m, mile run and 800m during the CIAA Championships, to earn the CIAA Most Valuable Female Track Performer. 
  • The VSU bowling team won the CIAA Championship and earned honors for the highest team GPA in the conference. Rebecca Clements was CIAA Bowler of the Year and Amber Seay was the CIAA Tournament MVP. 
  • The VSU softball team won the CIAA Northern Division, while pitcher Jessica Mattia was the 2014 CIAA Softball Player of the Year and first-year Coach LaTasha Branch was honored as the CIAA Softball Coach of the Year.
  • The VSU golf team captured its second consecutive CIAA championship and advanced to the NCAA Atlantic/East Regional Tournament. Golf Coach Jeff Hamilton was named CIAA Coach of the Year. 
  •  In track and field, VSU men Te’Shad Chambers, Justin Williams, Charles Robinson and Clive Cameron earned All-American status in the 4x400 relay, with Robinson also earning All-American in the 400m. Daniel Ross was named All-American in the 400m hurdles. Trojan 800m specialist Taylor-Ashley Bean also earned All-American honors. 
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