An inspirational message of loyalty and values, tributes to inspirational leaders and inspirational acts of generosity were the order of the evening at Virginia State University’s 2015 Founder’s Day Convocation. Dr. Alfred A. Roberts, President of Southside Virginia Community College, keynoted the celebration of the 133rd anniversary of the institution’s founding in 1882.
Urging the assembled alumni, students, faculty and administrators to honor the values upon which VSU was built, Dr. Roberts said “strive to be one of the finest universities in the country, but always uphold and enhance the unique qualities that make VSU different.”
To become a truly great institution, he said, VSU must “embrace and rejoice in the future; see the future as a friend” and should also “never lose focus on your historic mission of teaching, while instilling the value of service.”
Embracing the value of service through action, alumnus Charlie W. Hill (’66) presented $100,000 to Interim President Pamela Hammond to establish the Annase Wilks Hill Minerva Circle Endowment. The Endowment honors Hill’s late wife, Annase Wilks Hill, who earned bachelor and master’s degrees in microbiology from VSU. Funds from the endowment will support primarily female students who exhibit outstanding academic performance and equally outstanding citizenship while studying in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM) areas.
Mr. Hill deemed his gift “a down payment” and urged students to begin giving immediately. He pledged to match any gifts the students raised. “Excellent students should never be turned away because funds aren’t available.” Giving, he said, “allows the VSU magic to happen!”
Richmond Ambulance Authority CEO Terone Green presented what he termed “a first installment” gift of $25,000, also in support of STEM disciplines.
Earlier on Founder’s Day, Interim President Pamela Hammond and First Gentleman Greg Hammond placed wreaths on the grave of VSU Founder Alfred W. Harris in Petersburg’s historic Blandford Cemetery and on the front lawn of Virginia Hall in honor of the past year’s fallen Trojans. Participating in her first VSU Founder’s Day, these solemn activities served to inspire Dr. Hammond with a greater understanding of the storied history of this great institution.
Interim VSU President Dr. Pamela Hammond and her husband Greg are pictured above on the left, with Southside Virginia Community College President, Dr. Alfred Roberts and his wife Janet on the right.