VCU board approves naming of the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

Share this story

RICHMOND, Va. – The Virginia Commonwealth University Board of Visitors today approved naming the university's new School of Government and Public Affairs, a division of the College of Humanities and Sciences, after L. Douglas Wilder, former Virginia Governor and current VCU Distinguished Professor.

The L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, as it now will be known, offers programs in criminal justice, economics, nonprofit management, political science, public administration and urban studies and planning. It is nationally ranked and has more than 850 undergraduate majors and more than 250 degree-seeking graduate students.

"This is a rare opportunity to recognize the extraordinary contributions of Gov. Wilder while at the same time increase the school's national and international prominence," said Dr. Stephen Gottfredson, dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences.  "Gov. Wilder has a distinguished record of accomplishment in Virginia and his name has meaning throughout the country and the world.  He also has a deep and close affinity for VCU, where he has served as a superb teacher for 10 years."

Wilder was the first, and remains the only, African-American elected governor in U.S. history.  While he was governor, Virginia was recognized nationally as the best managed state in the nation for two consecutive years.  Dr. Robert D. Holsworth, director of the school, noted that Gov. Wilder's commitment to the highest standards of governmental practice, political inclusion and independence of thought are values at the core of the school's mission.

A Richmond attorney, Gov. Wilder served in the State Senate and as Lieutenant Governor before becoming Virginia's 66th governor in 1990.  He received his undergraduate degree from Virginia Union University and his law degree from Howard University.

"Gov. Wilder truly is an icon inside and outside of Virginia," said VCU President Dr. Eugene P. Trani.  "Douglas Wilder's name embodies this university's commitment to opportunity, responsibility, public service and diversity."

The School of Government and Public Affairs was established last year when several traditionally separate departments were combined into a single unit crossing disciplinary lines.  The School is committed to providing students with the skills that will enable them to become effective contributors to both the science and the art of government.