L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

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Continuing 30 Years of History

January 13, 2020 marks the 30th Anniversary of the inauguration of The Honorable L. Douglas Wilder, 66th Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.
January 13, 2020 marks the 30th Anniversary of the inauguration of The Honorable L. Douglas Wilder, 66th Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.

January 13, 2020 marks the 30th Anniversary of the inauguration of The Honorable L. Douglas Wilder, 66th Governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia.  As we remember this historic day, we also look forward to celebrating Governor Wilder's continuing legacy with a day-long leadership symposium on Thursday, March 26 at Virginia Union University in partnership with VCU's Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.  L. Douglas Wilder: Continuing 30 Years of History, Then and Now will include lectures, panel discussions, and a keynote address by Governor Wilder.  Students, faculty and community members are invited.  More information about the Symposium and how to attend will be forthcoming.

"We are honored to partner with Virginia Union University to create this day-long exploration of important topics such as civic engagement, leadership and the 2020 elections," said Susan T. Gooden, interim dean of the Wilder School.

More About L. Douglas Wilder: 

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 served as the commonwealth's chief executive officer from 1990 to 1994, and is the first African American to serve as governor of a U.S. state since Reconstruction, and the first elected African-American 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. After the war, he attended Howard University School of Law, establishing a legal practice in Richmond shortly thereafter. 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. Wilder’s historic success in the 1989 Virginia gubernatorial election made him a major and immediate influence in the U.S. political arena. He was commended for his sound fiscal management and balancing the state budget during difficult economic times. For two consecutive years under Wilder’s administration, Virginia was ranked as the best-managed state in the U.S. by Financial World magazine.

Wilder returned to elective office in 2005, when he became the first directly-elected mayor of Richmond in over a half century, winning every precinct. Since leaving office in 2009, he has worked as a distinguished professor at the Wilder School where he lectures and hosts symposia, including the most recent, "Race in Academia." He is the recipient of numerous awards, including the NAACP’s prestigious Spingarn Medal, awarded 34 honorary degrees and citations of the highest order, e.g. Veterans of Foreign Wars, life member of several government and public service organizations, the author of “Son of Virginia:  A Life in America’s Political Arena,” and a spokesperson on current issues - national, state, and local.