President, Virginia Union University

Hakim J. Lucas, Ph.D., is the 13th President of Virginia Union University. He is strategically focused on student success, academic excellence, entrepreneurial enterprise, and brand prestige. Under Dr. Lucas’ direction, the university launched the “WU is RVA” partnership with the City of Richmond and Richmond Public Schools (RPS) to solidify greater access to academic, economic, medical, and civic support to those who live in the Greater Richmond area. Under this partnership, full-tuition scholarships were awarded to 50 RPS 8th grade students to attend VUU after high school graduation. An innovative retention and recruitment initiative, Quest for the Best, led to a 90% retention rate from fall to spring semester. It is the highest retention percentage in the history of Virginia Union.

Through his entrepreneurial acumen, the Henderson Health Services Clinic was opened on campus in partnership with the Capital Area Health Network (CAHM). It is the first community health clinic to open on a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) campus. He also paved the way for the opening of campus barbershop and fitness studio which meets specific needs and gives opportunities for employment and entrepreneurial training.

Additional major accomplishments include a multi-million dollar Historic Preservation initiative to restore and renovate residence halls and other buildings on campus; classroom upgrades from chalkboards to whiteboards; naming of the first Athletic Director; and the creation of a workforce development office to ensure all students receive internships, work experience, employment offers upon graduation.

Dr. Lucas has nearly two decades of progressive leadership experience in higher education. His career successes include fundraising, government relations, public/private partnerships, strategic planning, and the engagement and retention of students in challenging educational experiences which empower them to reach their career goals. He is the author of Not For Ourselves Alone: The Legacies of Two Pioneers of Black Higher Education in the United States (2019). The book explores the educational models of Wilberforce University and Morehouse College to compare the similarities and differences of each institutions founding, the motivation and interests of the founding leaders, the support received from their religious organizations, and the impact of these institutions on Black higher education.

He is an avid proponent of civic engagement, through involvement with city and state leaders and non-profit organizations. Lucas stands on the maxim “Education is our Social Justice” and encourages students to find a social justice cause that is meaningful to them. He offers his expertise and guidance on several boards: the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA), the Truist Richmond Advisory Board, the Southern Education Foundation (SEF), Partnership For Families, and Venture Richmond. He is active with a number of professional organizations, notably the Association of Fundraising Professionals, the Council for Advancement and Support of Education (District Ill), the Council of Independent Colleges in Virginia (CICV), the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Commission on Colleges (SACS-COC), and the Association of Governing Boards.

Community service is equally important and is demonstrated through his membership with organizations to include: 100 Black Men, Agape Tabernacle International Fellowship, Alpha Phi Alpha Fratemity, Inc., the Grand Lodge of Free and Accepted Masons of New York, the Most Worshipful Union of Grand Lodge, Virginia Prince Hall Affiliated, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP).

Dr. Lucas earned a bachelor’s degree from Morehouse College, a master’s degree in teaching (History) from Tufts University, an Executive MBA from Stetson University, and a Master of Divinity (Church History) from Union Theological Seminary at Columbia University. He earned his doctoral degee in education from Fordham University. In addition to his appointment as President & CEO of Virginia Union University, Dr. Lucas serves as an Associate Professor in the Department of Philosophy & History teaching a very popular class in African American History.