L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs

A collage of photos featuring Governor Wilder.

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

Scholarships for Careers in Public Service

The National Ovation to L. Douglas Wilder is much more than a celebration of Governor Wilder's lifetime 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 attend the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs for undergraduate or graduate studies and enroll and pay tuition at VCU.

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 collaborations with Virginia Union University and Howard University.

Make a gift to support our student scholarships!

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

In the memo section, write: "Wilder National Ovation Scholarship

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

You can also make your gift today with Stevan Dozier, Director of Development and Alumni 
Engagement: doziers2@vcu.edu

Thank you for Joining us for "A National Ovation to L. Douglas Wilder"

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 were 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.

A National Ovation Gala
7:00 p.m. - 12 a.m., Saturday, January 20, 2024
Washington Hilton Hotel, Washington, D.C.


This unprecedented gala celebrated Governor Wilder’s legacy and inaugurated a scholarship fund benefiting Wilder School students aspiring to create an impact in public service. Thank you to our master of ceremonies Ed Gordon and presenters: VCU L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs Dean Susan T. Gooden, U.S. Senator Tim Kaine; Virginia Union University President Dr. Hakim Lucas; Governor Wes Moore of Maryland; U.S. Representative Bobby Scott; and Wilder family Larry Wilder and Loren Wilder.

Special congratulations are due to Norfolk State University student Keighton Bell for his outstanding reenactment and delivery of Governor Wilder's inauguration speech from January 13, 1990. Mr. Bell has previously had the pleasure of performing at the L. Douglas Wilder Performing Arts Center. 

"L. Douglas Wilder: Beyond Wilder Dreams" Documentary Film Premiere
5:00 - 8:00 p.m. Wednesday, January 17, 2024
Claude G. Perkins Living and Learning Center, Virginia Union University, Richmond, V.A.

We celebrated 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.

Thank you to Virginia Union University, VUU President Dr. Hakim Lucas; film director Brian Bullock, film producers Ameta Cartwright and Pam Cox; Q&A moderator Bob Holsworth; cinematographer Ryan Pace; VCU L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs Dean Susan T. Gooden; the Virginia Union University First Thursday Jazz Ensemble and band director Fayesha Cole; and event facilitators Katie Huynh, Ida Jones, Robert Lynn, Tim Milam, and Vance Richards.


Stay tuned - additional screenings of "L. Douglas Wilder: Beyond Wilder Dreams" are coming to a theatre near you!

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.

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.

Thank you to our generous partners for your support:

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

$25,000 - HBCU Luminary - Celebrating the Governor’s fervent advocacy for Historically Black Colleges and Universities and his broader educational contributions.

Altria Group - $30,000
City of Richmond 
Deloitte Consulting, LLP
Dollar Tree and Family Dollar
Virginia Natural Gas, Inc.

$10,000 - Military Service - A salute to the Governor’s courageous military service.

Alfred Street Baptist Church - $20,000
Armada Hoffler
Bank of America - $15,000
Collis Warner Foundation
The Executive Leadership Council
Hampton University 
Howard University Office of the President Emeritus Dr. Wayne A.I. Frederick
McGuire Woods/McGuire Woods Consulting
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
National Association of Investment Companies
National Urban League
Norfolk State University
Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc.
Sentara Health
Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity, Manford Byrd Jr. Educational Fund
Virginia Legislative Black Caucus
Virginia Tourism Corporation
Thomas and Hillary Baltimore
Reginald and Doris Brown
Drs. Susan and Basil Gooden
Eva and Michael Hardy
John and Barbara Jacob
Dr. Ronald and Bessie Johnson
U.S. Senator Tim Kaine
Alexander B. McMurtrie
Tony and Carole Miller and the Jean Wilder Miller Family
Joan and Stacey Mobley
Brenda and Mark Moore
Thomas and Joyce Moorehead
Corbett A. and Chrystie Boucree Price
Earl and Amanda Stafford
Governor Glenn Youngkin, Commonwealth of Virginia, and Suzanne Youngkin

$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
Breit Biniazan Trial Lawyers
Dorsey & Whitney, LLP
The Eley Group, LLC
Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc.
Miyares for Virginia
Policy Pathways, Inc.
Richmond Free Press
ROMEO Club - $7,750
Schexnider & Associates, LLC
Scott’s Funeral Home
Spanberger for Governor
VCU Commonwealth Poll
VCU Office of the President Emeritus Dr. Eugene P. Trani
VCU Research Institute for Social Equity
Virginia State University
Virginia Union University
Washington Gas
Sela and Art Collins
Norm and Cammye Jenkins
Dr. and Mrs. William R. Harvey

$1,000 - Supporters - We are proud and grateful for your assistance.

Beta Lamda Boulé, Sigma Pi Phi Fraternity Foundation
Lanier Real Estate
Royal Dermatology, Inc.
Southern Education Foundation
Arnold Henderson & Associates
Beta Lambda Boulé, Sigma Pi Phi
Fraternity Foundation - $1,500
Guiding Wealth Financial Partners
Lanier Real Estate
Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney - $ 2,000
Royal Dermatology, Inc.
Southern Education Foundation
William & Mary, Office of the President Emeritus Timothy J. Sullivan
Montez Anderson and Dr. Kelly
Epps-Anderson - $2,000
Ken Ampy
Reginald Barley
U.S. Representative Don Beyer - $1,500
Reginald Brothers
Michael Brown in Memory of Doris Wilder Brown
Mr. Gregory Burrell and Dr. Lynne Lightfoote - $2,000
Glenn and Carol Davidson
Ron and Zinna Davis
H. Benson Dendy III
James and Ellen Dyke
Lieutenant Governor Winsome Earle-Sears, Commonwealth of Virginia
Steven Evens and Bonnie Makdad
Brett and Tiffini Greene - $2,000
The Honorable Roger L. Gregory
Robert J. Grey, Jr., Esq.
Joan Huffer and Robert Dugger
Lorraine and Mac Hunter - $2,500
Brian Jackson
Kenneth Johnson
Dr. Vernon Dale Jones
Dr. Frankie T. Jones, Sr. - $2,000
Nicholas Jordan - $2,000
Edward L. McCoy - $2,500
Linwood Norman
Dr. Clifton and Cathie Peay
Dr. Larry J. Sabato
U.S. Congressman Bobby Scott
John Simpkins
Warren and Edith Williams - $2,000