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Commending Norfolk State University on the occasion of its 75th anniversary.


Agreed to by the House of Delegates, January 15, 2010
Agreed to by the Senate, January 21, 2010


WHEREAS, the Norfolk State University community will celebrate the 75th anniversary of the university’s founding January 1, 2010, through June 30, 2010; and

WHEREAS, to address the educational needs of the region, Norfolk State University was founded in 1935 as the Norfolk Unit of Virginia Union University by involved citizens of Norfolk and Portsmouth; the school opened its doors to 87 students in the YMCA building on Brambleton Avenue; and

WHEREAS, Samuel Fischer Scott, an alumnus of Virginia Union and a Portsmouth native, served as the first director with the primary focus of maintaining the solvency of the school; and

WHEREAS, Dr. Lyman Beecher Brooks, a Virginia Union alumnus, became director in 1938, and he served as provost from 1963 to 1969 and as the first president from 1969 to 1975; and

WHEREAS, in 1944, by an act of the General Assembly, the institution was renamed the Norfolk Division of Virginia State College; and by the college’s 15th anniversary in 1950, the faculty had grown to 50 and the student enrollment to 1,018; and

WHEREAS, in 1952 the Norfolk Division’s athletic teams adopted the “Spartan” name and identity; and

WHEREAS, the City of Norfolk provided a permanent site for the Norfolk Division of Virginia State College on Corprew Avenue; and in 1955 Brown Hall, the former Tidewater Hall, opened as the first permanent building on the new campus; and

WHEREAS, with an enrollment of 5,400 students, Norfolk State College was established separate from Virginia State College in 1969 and accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools as an independent four-year degree institution; and

WHEREAS, in 1975 and 1976, the first master’s degrees were awarded in communications and social work, respectively; and

WHEREAS, after 37 years of distinguished service, Dr. Lyman Brooks retired in 1975 and was succeeded by Dr. Harrison Benjamin Wilson, Jr., who became the second president; and

WHEREAS, in 1979 Norfolk State College was granted university status by the General Assembly; and by the school’s 50th anniversary in 1985, Norfolk State University had an enrollment of 7,200; and

WHEREAS, in 1997 Dr. Marie Valentine McDemmond became Norfolk State University’s third president and the first African-American woman to serve as the head of a four-year college; when she retired in 2005, Dr. Alvin J. Schexnider served as acting president; and

WHEREAS, in July 2006, Dr. Carolyn Winstead Meyers was selected as the fourth president of Norfolk State University, and she continues to serve with distinction today; and

WHEREAS, through transformation and growth, Norfolk State University has forged a tradition of preparing generations of students for leadership and service and is recognized for its numerous intellectual and humanitarian contributions to the Hampton Roads region, the citizens of the Commonwealth, and the greater global community; and

WHEREAS, Norfolk State University reaffirms its tradition and values in education, research, alumni engagement, and community involvement for the betterment of all Virginians; now, therefore, be it

RESOLVED by the House of Delegates, the Senate concurring, That the General Assembly commend and congratulate the Norfolk State University community and its loyal supporters on the occasion of its 75th anniversary; and, be it

RESOLVED FURTHER, That the Clerk of the House of Delegates prepare a copy of this resolution for presentation to representatives of Norfolk State University as an expression of the General Assembly’s gratitude to the university for its longtime commitment to excellence in higher education.

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