September 30, 2020
Dear Panther Community,
Fall is a nostalgic time of year for Virginia Union University. It is a time where we gather to celebrate the university and each other during Convocation and VUU’s Homecoming Like No Other. The good news is that these events are still taking place, but they are bringing us together in a virtual space. A VUU committee, led by our Dean of Students, and the VUU National Alumni Association have planned some events during the week of October 4 - 10, 2020. Look for the details in your email and on our website at www.vuu.edu.
We had planned to celebrate the Class of 2020 during homecoming week. However, due to the continued COVID-19 restrictions we have decided to postpone the ceremony. We look forward to celebrating two classes, 2020 & 2021, during our May Commencement.
Though we are in a double pandemic, dealing with the impact of COVID-19 and institutional racism, the university continues to do its work. In July, we successfully held our reaffirmation visit for accreditation by The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges (SACSCOC). It was the first time this visit was held virtually. As we focus on the next ten years, EVP/COO Dr. Allia L. Carter will begin the process of meeting with each constituent group to collect your feedback on our 2020-2025 Strategic Plan entitled, "Delivering on the Promise."
Since January 2020, our Enrollment Management team, University College, Academic Affairs and, the Office of Student Development & Success have collaborated to ensure that the university achieved its recruitment and retention goals for the Fall 2020 semester. As a result of their challenging work, in the midst of the global pandemic and the need to recreate many of our recruitment and retention strategies, we are excited to welcome 449 new undergraduate students and 115 new graduate students. We are proud of the team on increasing our new student population by 24% and increasing our total undergraduate enrollment by 7%.
While we celebrate our new students, we also are grateful that students are returning. We have achieved an 82% retention rate from fall to fall for undergraduates. VUU is experiencing growth in recruitment and retention rates across the board which indicates that the university’s strategies are working and achieving new heights.
As we continue to implement our vision of becoming a nationally ranked Best in Class institution, the university celebrates the expansion of its academic programs. We have received approval by SACSCOC to offer four new programs in January 2021. They are a bachelor’s degree in Health Sciences, a bachelor's degree in Hospitality Management, a master’s degree in Hospitality Management and, a master's degree in Political Science. We are excited about these new growth opportunities and look forward to enrolling additional new students in January. Now more than ever, our students need your support by donating to scholarships. We look forward to our alumni and friends supporting student educational pursuits during our weekly Giving Tuesdays. Additionally, I encourage you to get involved and share the good news happening at VUU!
We continue to solicit your prayers. The environmental safety of our students, faculty, and staff is of utmost importance. Strong planning and management have helped us to remain under our goal of less than 2% of our population testing positive for the coronavirus. We will continue to implement the necessary security and health standards for the security of our campus and community.
If you missed the virtual Convocation on September 24, please be sure to watch the service on our YouTube (VUU TV) channel. Follow us on social media for the latest updates about VUU. I look forward to sharing with you more great news in October.
Hakim J. Lucas, Ph.D.
President & CEO