Claude Grandford Perkins

Claude Grandford Perkins (1941–)

President of Virginia Union University

Claude G. Perkins understood the value of education early in life. He earned a B.S. from Mississippi Vocational College (later Mississippi Valley State University), an M.A. from Purdue University, and a Ph.D. from Ohio University. He began his distinguished career in education with the school system of Clark County, Nevada, where he oversaw its desegregation program and became its first African American school superintendent. He first came to Virginia as an assistant superintendent for secondary education with the Richmond City Public Schools and later oversaw all of the city's schools and operations. Moving to the academic ranks, Perkins was an education professor and founding director of the Center for Educational Leadership at Clarion University of Pennsylvania. He later sat as graduate dean and associate vice president for academic affairs at Albany State University in Georgia.

Perkins came out of retirement in 2009 to become the 12th president of Virginia Union University. Building on his impressive record of academic leadership he has focused on making student achievement the university's top priority and has worked to expand scholarship opportunities, hire new faculty, and develop new academic programs. During his tenure the endowment has increased nearly 50 percent and campus facilities have been improved. Reflecting his personal community involvement, VUU student volunteerism in the Richmond area has grown to record levels and been recognized nationally. Despite the challenges faced during his tenure, Perkins's efforts have garnered national rankings for the university and set Virginia Union on the path to long-term success.

Watch Claude Perkins' speech at the 2016 Strong Men and Women in Virginia History awards ceremony on February 3, 2016.