The School of Arts and Sciences was established in 1966 at the Richmond Professional Institute, and included the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, English, Foreign Languages, History and Political Science, with J. Edwin Whitesell, Ph.D., as dean. Below is a list of the highlights of the College of Humanities and Sciences by decade.


2016 Dr. Montserrat Fuentes named Dean of the College.

2015 Sociology and Political Science become departments.

2015 Dr. Alison Baski named Interim Dean of the College.

2014 The L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs becomes independent, while Political Science, Sociology and Economics remain in the College. The Department of Health and Human Performance joins the College from the School of Education and is renamed the Department of Kinesiology and Health Sciences.

2011 Dr. James S. Coleman Ph.D. joins the College as Dean.

2010 The Department of Women’s Studies becomes the Department of Gender, Sexuality and Women’s Studies…


2008 A chair in Catholic Studies is endowed and the inaugural lecture for the program features Rev. Edward A. “Monk” Malloy, C.S.C., Ph.D.

2007 New Ph.D. in Media, Art, and Text (MATX) launches and a chair in the History of Christianity is fully endowed.

2006 The Department of Sociology is realigned with the Wilder School. Robert Holsworth, Ph.D., becomes the sixth dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences.

2004 The VCU Board of Visitors approves naming the School of Government and Public Affairs after L. Douglas Wilder, former governor of Virginia, mayor of Richmond and a distinguished professor at VCU.

2003 The VCU Board of Visitors approves the establishment of the School of Government and Public Affairs and the School of World Studies. B.A. in African American Studies established.

2002 Bachelor of Science in Forensic Science program implemented. Department of Mathematical Sciences separates into Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics and Department of Statistical Sciences and Operations Research. John B. Fenn, Ph.D., receives the Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

2001 New VCU Life Sciences building provides several new classroom and laboratory facilities for the College.

2000 Integration of the Center for Environmental Studies, Military Science program and Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies program into administration by the College.


1998 Stephen D. Gottfredson, Ph.D., becomes the fifth dean.

1997 Susan Kennedy becomes interim dean of the College. Graduate program established in the Adcenter. Dual Master’s degree in criminal justice for theology students established. College celebrates its 30th anniversary.

1996 Office of Academic Advising comes under the College’s auspices. New curriculum for general education requirements established.

1995 School of Community and Public Affairs dissolved. Department of Public Administration merged with Political Science. Departments of Criminal Justice and Urban Studies and Regional Planning join the College.

1994 VCU’s Strategic Plan for the Future implemented by the College.

1993 David Hiley, Ph.D., becomes the fourth dean. 1992 Honors Program comes under the Office of Academic Affairs.

1991 Language Learning Center established by the Foreign Languages Department.

1990 Women’s studies minor introduced by the College.


1989 M.A. offered independently in English.

1988 New academic building housing the School of Mass Communications plus parts of the departments of Mathematical Sciences, Chemistry, Physics and Biology dedicated at 150th anniversary of the University. New programs in women’s studies and international studies are instituted.

1987 National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant received. Development of M.S. program in computer science.

1985 “Colleges within the College” (Nexus and Rampart) introduced.

1984 Physics’ master’s program approved. Military Science/Army ROTC unit becomes part of College.

1983 Honors Program established to be administered by College. Master of Fine Arts first offered in creative writing.

1981 College of Humanities and Sciences name change approved by the Board of Visitors. School of Mass Communications established within the College. Education Support Programs comes under College’s auspices.

1980 Elske v.P. Smith, Ph.D., becomes the third dean of the College.


1978 Doctoral program in social policy and social work begun cooperatively with School of Social Work.

1976 Master’s degree in mass communications and doctorate in counseling psychology offered.

1974 Afro-American Studies becomes a part of the School of Arts and Sciences. English/English Education master’s program begun cooperatively with School of Education. Graduate program in chemistry transferred to School of Arts and Sciences. Creation of Department of History and Geography.

1972 Paul D. Minton, Ph.D., installed as new dean.

1971 Master’s programs in biology and mathematical sciences and doctoral programs in clinical and general (experimental) psychology added.


1969 Departments of Journalism, Psychology and Sociology shifted to the School of Arts and Sciences. First master’s degree programs instituted in psychology and sociology

1968 Virginia Commonwealth University created by General Assembly. Departments of Mathematics, Physics and Physical Science formed.

1967 Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies organized.

1966 School of Arts and Sciences established under Richmond Professional Institute including the Departments of Biology, Chemistry, English, Foreign Languages, History and Political Science, with J. Edwin Whitesell, Ph.D., as dean.