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30 Days of Excitement & Success for President Hammond

Published date: February 13, 2015

She started by hiring a coach and finished with a Town Hall. In between, Interim President Pamela Hammond stayed on the move throughout her first 30 days on the job. With an appearance seemingly every day and along the way winning over students, alumni, faculty and staff, Dr. Hammond’s energy and enthusiasm embodied her message that “there’s something to be celebrated every day!”

Shortly after taking the helm at 133-year-old Virginia State University (VSU) as the institution’s first female president, Dr. Hammond made her first significant hire when Byron Thweatt was named VSU’s head football coach.  

As she leads the charge to stabilize the University’s finances, Dr. Hammond is aggressively seeking corporate partners to invest in VSU. In her first 30 days, she received over $350,000 in investments from companies such as Microsoft, Altria, GCA Services and Richmond Ambulance Authority. Warren Thompson of Thompson Hospitality personally delivered a $200,000 check as part of his company’s commitment to Virginia State University.  As she immediately discovered, one of VSU’s most important campaigns involved the Tuition Assistance Fund. Dr. Hammond was proud to join VSU Director of Student Enhancement Support Program, Dr. Sandra Evans in presenting her first tuition assistance check to freshman Brian Rogers. In keeping with her commitment, one of Dr. Hammond’s first actions was establishing a personal endowment fund to benefit first-generation students. “I don’t want to be in my office with nothing to do,” she says. “If there’s nothing on my schedule, I need to be out, encouraging our alumni to support their school!” 

In keeping with her commitment to restoring the VSU Brand, Dr. Hammond was an extremely visible fixture in local and regional media. She kicked off her media tour with interviews with Richmond television stations WRIC and WWBT. She was also the focus of a Chesterfield Monthly magazine feature and met with editorial staff of the Richmond Free Press. Her commitment to visibility and sharing the VSU story will continue as trademarks of the Hammond Administration. From the beginning, Dr. Hammond has strongly advocated for VSU to state and local officials from Chesterfield County and the City of Petersburg, as well as speaking before the Chesterfield Planning Commission. Along with a steady line of alumni, lawmakers and business leaders, Dr. Hammond received a group of students from Chesterfield County’s Marguerite Christian Elementary School. She imparted the importance of a college education to these young scholars, some of whom are destined to become future Trojans! 

In addition to restoring the VSU Brand, Dr. Hammond has committed herself and the University to the goals of stabilizing its finances and enrollment. The initial results have been promising on both fronts where VSU’s spring enrollment virtually met its projections, and the budget was balanced. “We’ve made strides,” Dr. Hammond says, “but we have a long way to go to build the stronger VSU we envision and that we will achieve.”  If the energy of her first 30 days is a precursor of the future, VSU’s future is bright indeed! 

Dr. Hammond’s message going forward? “We need support from our alumni and friends to be successful,” she says. “We need them to recruit. We need them to help us spread the good news about Virginia State University. We especially need them to support VSU, through campaigns such as the Annual Fund and Tuition Assistance Fund that directly benefit our students!” 

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