VSU Announces Fall 2021 Commencement Speaker

VSU Alumnus, University President, and Businessman, Dr. William R. Harvey will serve as speaker for the fall 2021 Commencement Ceremony.

Virginia State University has announced that VSU Alumnus, Hampton University President, and Businessman, Dr. William R. Harvey will serve as the fall 2021 VSU Commencement speaker.

Dr. Harvey has served as President of Hampton University since 1978 and is also the owner of the Pepsi Cola Bottling Company of Houghton, Michigan. He graduated from Virginia State University and went on to earn his doctorate in College Administration from Harvard University. Before starting at Hampton University more than four decades ago, he held administrative posts at Harvard, Fisk, and Tuskegee universities. 

As President of Hampton University, Dr. Harvey has introduced innovations which have solidified Hampton’s stellar position among the nation’s colleges and universities. Since Dr. Harvey became President, student enrollment has increased from approximately 2,700 to a high of approximately 6,300. Ninety-two new academic programs have been introduced including doctorates in physics, pharmacy, nursing, atmospheric and planetary science, physical therapy, educational management, and business administration.

“Dr. Harvey’s monumental legacy as President of Hampton University for more than 40 years sets him apart and places him among the most respected and relevant educational speakers
of our time,” said VSU President, Dr. Makola M. Abdullah. “Our VSU Community is inspired by his esteemed work and contributions to society, and we are further enamored by his
inspirational love story with another Trojan, his beautiful wife, Norma. His presence will be the perfect culmination to celebrate the hard work and dedication of our graduating Trojans.”

Virginia State University will hold its Fall 2021 Commencement ceremony inside the VSU Multipurpose Center on December 18, 2021, at 10am. This is the University’s first indoor, in-person commencement since 2019 before the COVID-19 pandemic began.

VSU has a vaccination mandate and will require all employees, graduates and guests (18 and older) to provide proof of full COVID-19 vaccination status to participate or attend the ceremony. Masks are also required. To allow for social distancing and reduced capacity, each graduate will be allotted four general admission tickets.

VSU employees and graduates who have been granted medical or religious exemptions by VSU will be allowed to participate in the ceremony after providing a negative COVID-19 test taken within 48 hours of the ceremony. Those with the exemption will receive an email with further instructions. This exemption applies only to VSU graduates and employees. It does not apply to general admission ticket holders.

All fully vaccinated attendees will be provided a specialized commencement wristband required for entry. Information regarding obtaining the wristbands will be forthcoming.

The ceremony will also be livestreamed on the VSU website and broadcast live on WVST radio.