L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs


A NATIONAL OVATION TO L. DOUGLAS WILDER: Honoring 70 Years of Leadership and Service

Governor L. Douglas Wilder, with over seventy years of revered public service, is a symbol of dedication to civil rights, visionary education, and people-first governance. His historic achievements will be recognized in January 2024 with two distinctive events organized by the Virginia Commonwealth University L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, in concert with Virginia Union University and Howard University.

Capturing the Essence of a Legacy

A National Ovation Gala
7:00 p.m., Saturday, January 20, 2024

Washington Hilton Hotel, 1919 Connecticut Ave NW, Washington, D.C. 20009

This unprecedented gala will celebrate Governor Wilder’s legacy and inaugurate a scholarship fund benefiting Wilder School students aspiring to create an impact in public service. 

Room reservations at the Washington Hilton hotel are available to "A National Ovation to L. Douglas Wilder" gala attendees at a discounted rate. Reservations must be made prior to December 30, 2023.

Wilder Documentary Film Premiere
5:00 p.m. Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Claude G. Perkins Living and Learning Center, 1500 N Lombardy St

Richmond, Virginia 23220

The stage will be set for Governor Wilder’s 93rd birthday, marked by the premiere of a documentary film offering deeply personal insight into Governor Wilder’s life, revealing memories, passions, and the experiences that forged the man behind the legend.

Scholarships for Careers in Public Service

The National Ovation to L. Douglas Wilder is much more than a celebration of his life’s achievements. It represents an opportunity to help launch a new generation of public servants. Scholarships are provided for Virginia Commonwealth University, Virginia Union University, and Howard University students who enroll and attend the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs for undergraduate or graduate studies.  

The scholarships will advance several objectives:

  • Aid relief of the financial burden of higher education while cultivating a diverse pool of qualified and passionate individuals who can bring fresh perspectives, innovative ideas and dedication to their professions. With the ever-increasing costs of college education, these scholarships are critical to making graduate education in public service affordable for future leaders.
  • Extend a bridge of support to the Wilder School’s graduate programs for students from Governor Wilder’s two alma maters to strengthen collahorations with Virginia Union University and Howard University.

A Testament to Visionary Leadership

The National Ovation in honor of Governor Wilder is more than an event; it’s a counterpoint to our times, a celebration of a trailblazing figure whose influence on American politics remains unparalleled. At a moment when our nation grapples with social divides and political tensions, the legacy of Governor Wilder serves as a poignant reminder of the change that visionary leadership can inspire. The National Ovation stands as a symbol of hope and a call to action, underlining the potential for positive transformation even in challenging times.

We have reached $465,000 in pledged support and counting - Support "A National Ovation" and make your gift today

Order Online: bit.ly/wilderovation 

By Mail: You can make your check payable to: “Virginia Commonwealth University”

In the memo section, write: "Governor Wilder Commemoration Events”

Mail to: Virginia Commonwealth University
Attn: Gifts and Records Management
Box 843042, Richmond, VA 23284-0441

Thank you to our generous partners 

$100,000 - People First Advocate - A reflection on Governor Wilder’s lifelong dedication to serving the people.
 - Dominion Energy

$25,000 - HBCU Luminary - Celebrating the Governor’s fervent advocacy for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and his broader educational contributions.
- Deloitte Consulting, LLP
- Virginia Natural Gas, Inc.    

$10,000 - Military Service - A salute to the Governor’s courageous military service.
- American Association of Retired Persons
- Bank of America
- Chrystie Boucree and Corbett A. Price
- Eva Teig Hardy
- Executive Leadership Council
- John and Barbara Jacobs
- Norfolk State University
- Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.    
- Reginald and Doris Brown
- Thomas and Joyce Moorehead
- Virginia Tourism Corporation

$5,000 - Son of Virginia Pioneer - Drawing from Governor Wilder’s biography, “Son of Virginia: A Life in America’s Political Arena,” emphasizing his Virginia roots and pioneering role as the first African-American Governor.
- American Society for Public Administration
- Don Beyer
- Dorsey & Whitney LLP    
- Dr. and Mrs. Alvin Schexnider
- Goodwill Industries (via Keith Parker)    
- McGuireWoods, LLP    
- Policy Pathways, Inc.
- TowneBank
- VCU Office of the President Emeritus
- VCU Wilder School Commonwealth Poll
- Virginia State University    
- Virginia Union University  

$1,000 - Supporter - We are proud and grateful for your assistance.
- Dr. Dale Jones and Dr. Kristen Luck
- James and Ellen Dyke

About Governor L. Douglas Wilder

THE HONORABLE L. DOUGLAS WILDER is the 66th Governor of Virginia and a distinguished professor at the school that bears his name. A native of Richmond’s historic Church Hill district, Wilder is the nation’s first elected African-American governor and served as the commonwealth’s chief executive officer from 1990 to 1994.

Governor Wilder graduated from Virginia Union University and served in the United States Army during the Korean War, where he earned a Bronze Star for heroism in ground combat. He then attended Howard University School of Law, and afterward established a legal practice in Richmond. He won election to the Virginia Senate in 1969 as a member of the Democratic Party and served five terms before taking office as the Lieutenant Governor of Virginia, becoming the first African American to hold statewide office in the commonwealth.

He returned to elected office in 2005, becoming the first directly-elected mayor of Richmond. Since 2009, he has worked as a distinguished professor at the Wilder School, where he lectures and hosts symposia, including the most recent, "HBCUs and the Absence of Support" and “Racism, Health & Accountability.” He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the NAACP’s prestigious Spingarn Medal and the author of “Son of Virginia: A Life in America’s Political Arena.