In Memoriam: Grace Victoria Edmondson Harris, 1933-2018

Grace E. Harris, the former provost and vice president for academic affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, died on February 12. She was 84 years. Dr. Harris was the first African American women to serve as a chief academic officer at a four-year public university in Virginia.

A native of Halifax County, Dr. Harris was the valedictorian of her high school and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in sociology at what is now Hampton University in Virginia. After graduating from college, in 1954 Dr. Harris applied to the Richmond Professional Institute, which later became Virginia Commonwealth University. She was denied admission because of the color of her skin. The state then paid to send Dr. Harris to Boston University. She later transferred to Richmond Professional Institute and earned a master of social work degree. Dr. Harris later earned a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Virginia.

Dr. Harris joined the faculty of what is now Virginia Commonwealth University in 1967. She was one of three African Americans who were the first Black faculty members at the school. In 1982, Dr. Harris was appointed dean of the School of Social Work. She served as provost and vice president for academic affairs from 1993 to 1999, and twice was named acting president.

After stepping down as provost. Dr. Harris continued to teach at the university until 2015, completing 48 years on the faculty. The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute has been established at the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Get the JBHE Weekly Bulletin

Receive our weekly email newsletter delivered to your inbox

Latest News

Report Established by State Senator Art Haywood Uncovers Racism in the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education

"Ultimately, Pennsylvania's leaders and institutions should respect the dignity of all students," says Senator Art Haywood. "The work to ensure that dignity is intact for Pennsylvania's Students of Color continues with this report in hopes that one day the work will no longer be required."

Cynthia Gyamfi-Bannerman Appointed President of the Society for Maternal-Fetal Medicine

"I appreciate the support I have received from my faculty and trainee colleagues here at UC San Diego along with colleagues from around the world," says Dr. Gyamfi-Bannerman. "Together we will work to advance our field and our reach, improving patient outcomes and eliminating health disparities."

Rate of Black Homeownership in America Remains Virtually Unchanged Since 2012

The National Association of Realtors has found that although homeownership rates in American are steadily increasing, the rate of Black homeownership has experienced significantly less growth than White, Asian, and Hispanic homeownership since 2012.

Safiya George Named President of the University of the Virgin Islands

“As a servant leader, I am confident I will be an effective President for the University of the Virgin Islands and will remain humble and grounded with a sincere desire to improve outcomes and the lives of students, faculty, staff, and the community," says Safiya George, who will assume the role of president of the University of the Virgin Islands this summer.

Featured Jobs