Virginia Union University was founded in 1865 to give newly emancipated slaves an opportunity for education and advancement. The University is the result of the merger of four institutions: Richmond Theological Seminary, Wayland Seminary, Hartshorn Memorial College, and Storer College.
Richmond Theological Seminary held classes in Richmond, Virginia at Lumpkin’s Jail, a former holding cell for runaway slaves. During the same time, Wayland Seminary was founded by the American Baptist Home Mission Society in Washington, D.C. Two years later in 1867, Storer College was founded in Harper’s Ferry, West Virginia, and in 1883, Hartshorn Memorial College opened its doors in Richmond as the first college for African American women.
After three decades of operating independently, Richmond Theological Seminary and Wayland Seminary merged on February 11, 1899 to form Virginia Union University. Later, in 1932 and 1964, respectively, Hartshorn Memorial College and Storer College became part of this UNION.
Our Vision Unites Us
Virginia Union University is a premier liberal arts urban institution of higher education and center of excellence for the preparation of students and the development of leaders for tomorrow’s world.
Virginia Union University is nourished by its African American heritage and energized by a commitment to excellence and diversity. Its mission is to 1) Provide a nurturing intellectually challenging and spiritually enriching environment for learning; 2) Empower students to develop strong moral values for success; and 3) Develop scholars, leaders, and lifelong learners of a global society.
To accomplish this mission, Virginia Union University offers a broad range of educational opportunities that advances liberal arts education, teaching, research, science, technology, continuing education, civic engagement, and international experiences.