Virginia State Seal Virginia Department of Historic Resources

127-0354 Virginia Union University

Virginia Union University
Photo credit: Calder Loth/DHR, 1993

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For additional information, read the Nomination Form PDF

VLR Listing Date 06/16/1981

NRHP Listing Date 07/26/1982

NRHP Reference Number 82004590

The history of Virginia Union University exemplifies the efforts to bring higher education to southern blacks following the Civil War. Because literacy among former slaves was often limited to black clergymen, seminaries and missionary societies frequently formed the kernels for black colleges. Virginia Union began in 1896 through the merger of Richmond Theological Seminary and Wayland Seminary of Washington, D.C. Further mergers have transformed the school into a leading institution dedicated to higher education primarily for African Americans, though the school is now racially integrated. The main complex of Virginia Union is a late Victorian collegiate grouping in the Romanesque Revival style. The gray granite dormitories, classroom buildings, chapel, president’s house, and power plant, each with its own massing and lively silhouette, were designed by Washington architect John H. Coxhead.

VLR: Virginia Landmarks Register
NPS: National Park Service
NRHP: National Register of Historic Places
NHL: National Historic Landmark

Updated: July 7, 2021