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VWU President to be Honored by Hampton Roads UNCF

Award reflects university’s tireless commitment to educational equity

University News | February 12, 2024

Virginia Wesleyan University President Scott D. Miller will be among several honorees at the 2024 Hampton Roads UNCF Mayors’ Masked Ball being held on March 2, 2024 at the Virginia Beach Convention Center. Each year, the local chapter of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF) honors individuals, companies, and organizations for their steadfast commitment to fostering hope and opportunity for deserving students and the broader community.   

“I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all our faculty, staff, students, and supporters for their relentless commitment and active involvement in making our university a place of inclusivity,” says Dr. Miller. “This honor is a reflection of our shared vision and dedication, and it inspires me to continue championing the values of academic excellence and community engagement. I am proud to receive this award on behalf of our vibrant community and am continually motivated by our collective dedication to inclusivity and educational empowerment.” 

VWU has a noteworthy history of supporting educational equity. Among the many initiatives led by Dr. Miller is VWU First. Designed for first-generation students and their families, it provides a wide array of resources to assist them in navigating the college experience such as academic support, counseling services, and financial resource guidance. 

Since 2015, VWU has made a concerted effort to build a campus that is heavily focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion. Those efforts include: 

  • Revising the student scholarship program, placing stronger emphasis on meeting the needs of first generation and historically underserved and disenfranchised populations
  • Facilitating discussions about race on campus, in the community, and the nation through the Robert Nusbaum Center
  • Joining the Liberal Arts Colleges Racial Equity Leadership Alliance (LACRELA), coordinated by the University of Southern California Race and Equity Center as part of a 3-year grant
  • Becoming one of six institutions in the Commonwealth of Virginia to receive significant federal funding aimed at enhancing the educational journey of low-income and first-generation students through the U.S. Department of Education's Strengthening Institutions Program
  • Launching Coastal Advantage, a program that virtually eliminates tuition for accepted commuter students from families with household incomes under $60,000

Currently, 22.4% of VWU’s study body is African American, many of which are first generation college students. Recently, the university was awarded a federal grant to further expand the scope of its services to support low-income and first-generation students with an eye on monitoring students using a system of high-quality data collection and analysis that allows for proactive responses to factors that contribute to student attrition. 

“Virginia Wesleyan University will remain vigilant in its mission to empower students from all backgrounds to thrive academically and professionally," says Dr. Miller. “Being honored by the Hampton Roads UNCF is encouraging. It shows our students, faculty, and staff that we are on the path.”