Students walking during fall on the campus of Virginia State-University.Virginia State University (VSU) LogoVirginia State University was founded in 1882 as the Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute, making it the first fully state supported, four-year institution of higher learning for Blacks in America. Today, Virginia State University is one of Virginia’s two land-grant institutions. VSU is located in Ettrick, Virginia. It's nickname is the Trojans or Lady Trojans and the University is member of the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA). Their colors are orange and blue and their motto is “Building a Better World”.

Virginia State University Profile

General Information

  • Location: 1 Hayden Dr., Virginia State University, VA 23806
  • Phone: (804) 524-5000
  • Website:
  • Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and LinkedIn
  • Type: 4-year, Public Land-grant HBCU
  • Awards offered: Associate's degree, Bachelor's degree, Postbaccalaureate certificate, Master's degree and Doctor's degree (research/scholarship).
  • City: Large Suburb
  • Student population: 5,600
  • Student-to-faculty ratio: 16 to 1
  • Accreditation: Virginia State University is accredited through the The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges.

Watch the VSU Video: Malcolm-Jamal Warner on Education

Virginia State University Campus Setting

The campus sits atop a rolling landscape overlooking the Appomattox River in the Chesterfield County village of Ettrick. It is accessible by Interstates 95 and 85, which intersect in adjacent Petersburg, as well as U.S. Routes 1, 301 and 460. The University is centrally located about two hours away from Washington, DC to the north, the North Carolina Triangle area to the south, the Blue Ridge Mountains to the west and the Atlantic Ocean to the east.

VSU students live and learn on a 236-acre main campus, with more than 50 buildings, including 16 residence halls and 17 classroom buildings, and a 416-acre agricultural research facility.


Virginia State University offers 52 baccalaureate and master’s degree programs and a Certificate of Advanced Study within six colleges: The College of Agriculture; The Reginald F. Lewis College of Business; The College of Education; The College of Engineering; The College of Humanities and Social Sciences; The College of Natural Sciences; and The College of Graduate Studies. In 2008, Virginia State University began its first Ph.D. program, in Health Psychology, the only program of its type in Virginia.


  • Accounting (B.S.)
  • Agriculture (B.S.)
  • Biology (B.S., M.S.)
  • Career and Technical Studies (M.S., M.ED.)
  • Chemistry (B.S.)
  • Computer Engineering (B.S.)
  • Computer Science (B.S., M.S.)
  • Counselor Education (M.S., M.Ed.)
  • Criminal Justice (B.S., M.S.)
  • Economics (B.S.)
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering Technology (B.S.)
  • Education (M.S., M.Ed.)
  • Educational Administration and Supervision (M.S., M.Ed., Ed.D.)
  • English (B.A.)
  • Family and Consumer Sciences (B.S.)
  • Health Psychology (Ph.D.)
  • Health and Physical Education (B.S.)
  • History (B.A.)
  • Hospitality Management (B.S.)
  • Individualized Studies (B.I.S.)
  • Information Logistics Technology (B.S.)
  • Interdisciplinary Studies (M.I.S.)
  • Management (B.S.)
  • Management Information Systems (B.S.)
  • Manufacturing Engineering (B.S.)
  • Marketing (B.S)
  • Mass Communications (B.A.)
  • Mathematics (B.S., M.S.)
  • Mechanical Engineering Technology (B.S.)
  • Media Management (M.A.)
  • Music (B.M., B.A.)
  • Nutrition and Dietetics (Post Baccalaureate Certificate) (CERT)
  • Political Science (B.A.)
  • Project Management Certificate (CERT)
  • Psychology (B.S., M.S.)
  • Sociology (B.A.)
  • Social Work (B.S.W)
  • Sports Management (M.S.)
  • Visual Communications Art & Design (B.F.A.)

Virginia State University Clubs and Organizations

Greek Life

The nine Greek fraternities and sororities at VSU include:

  • Alpha Phi Alpha (Beta Gamma)
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha (Alpha Epsilon)
  • Kappa Alpha Psi(Alpha Phi)
  • Omega Psi Phi (Nu Psi)
  • Delta Sigma Theta (Alpha Eta)
  • Phi Beta Sigma (Alpha Alpha Alpha)
  • Zeta Phi Beta (Phi)
  • Sigma Gamma Rho (Alpha Zeta)
  • Iota Phi Theta (Eta)

Student Organizations

Below is a list of some of the active student organizations at Virginia State University.

  • AbstraKt Entertainment
  • Auset Society, Inc.
  • Breaking the Silence
  • Diversified Virtue Entertainment
  • International Students Organization
  • Kerojo Modeling Agency, Ltd.
  • National Society of Pershing Angels Oscar-4
  • National Society of Pershing Rifles Oscar-4
  • Sankofa Dance Theatre
  • Selected One's
  • Sista 2 Sista
  • Student Liaison Outreach Team (S.L.O.T)
  • Textile Appearl Mercahndising Management (TAMM)
  • The Men of New Water Inc.
  • The Virginia State University Gospel Chorale
  • Trojan Explosion Marching Band
  • Virginia State University Colony of Sigma Alpha Iota
  • University Concert Choir
  • VSU Residence Hall Association
  • VSU Student Ambassadors
  • Your Hate Hurts

Virginia State University Athletics

  • All Track Combined
  • Baseball
  • Basketball
  • Bowling
  • Football
  • Golf
  • Softball
  • Tennis
  • Volleyball

Virginia State University History

    Alfred W. Harris, a black attorney who was a state delegate, introduced the bill that established the now Virginia State University in 1882.
    Delegate Alfred W. Harris

  • Virginia State University was founded on March 6, 1882, when the legislature passed a bill to charter the Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute. The bill was sponsored by Delegate Alfred W. Harris, a Black attorney whose offices were in Petersburg, but lived in and represented Dinwiddie County in the General Assembly.
  • Virginia State's first president was John Mercer Langston, former dean of Howard University's law school, and later elected to Congress as the first African-American Representative from Virginia (and the last until 1972). He was also the great-uncle of the famed writer Langston Hughes.
  • In the first academic year, 1883-84, the University had 126 students and seven faculty (all of them Black), one building, 33 acres, a 200-book library, and a $20,000 budget.
  • In 1902, the legislature revised the charter act to curtail the collegiate program and to change the name to Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute.
  • In 1920, the land-grant program for Blacks was moved from a private school, Hampton Institute, where it had been since 1872, to Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute.
  • In 1923, the college program was restored, and the name was changed to Virginia State College for Negroes in 1930.
  • The two-year branch in Norfolk was added to the college in 1944; the Norfolk division became a four-year branch in 1956 and gained independence as Norfolk State College in 1969. Meanwhile, the parent school was renamed Virginia State College in 1946. Finally, the legislature passed a law in 1979 to provide the present name, Virginia State University.
  • By the centennial year of 1982, the University was fully integrated, with a student body of nearly 5,000, a full-time faculty of about 250, a library containing 200,000 books and 360,000 microform and non-print items, a 236-acre campus and 416-acre farm, more than 50 buildings, including 15 dormitories and 16 classroom buildings, and a biennial budget of $31,000,000, exclusive of capital outlay.

Source: Virginia State University,

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