Posted on 03/19/2008

Photo taken on January  1, 1929


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Miss VSU

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First candidates for Miss VSU 1929

First candidates for Miss VSU 1929
Contestants (names unknown) for the first Miss Virginia State University contest held in 1929.
Virginia Historical Society

History of VSU
The university was founded on March 6, 1882 as the Virginia Normal and College Institute after the state legislature passed a bill sponsored by Delegate Alfred W. Harris, a black attorney, which chartered the university. The state established the university to serve the needs of a population that was at the time excluded from other public institutions in Virginia. Virginia Normal and College Institute opened as a teacher training college for both male and female black students but it also included a modest liberal arts curriculum.

The campus opened on October 1, 1883 with 126 students and seven faculty members, all of whom were black, on an operating budget of $20,000. In 1885, John Mercer Langston, a leading African American figure of the time and soon to be the first African American elected to Congress from Virginia, was named the university's first president.

The school changed its name to Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute in 1902 after the state legislature revised the charter and curtailed the liberal arts program. In 1920, the state moved its land-grant program for blacks from private Hampton Institute, where it had been since 1872, to Virginia Normal and Industrial College. The college program was restored in 1923 and the school was renamed the Virginia State College for Negroes in 1930.

The college opened up a branch campus in Norfolk in 1944, which would later gain its independence and become Norfolk State College. In 1946, the school was renamed Virginia State College and finally, in 1979, the state legislature passed a law that renamed the institution Virginia State University.

Virginia State University History