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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.

2020: Jennifer Malat, Ph.D., is named the ninth dean of the College. Amid the COVID-19 pandemic, courses move to a hybrid or online format while nonessential personnel telework.

2021: The College launches 12 new accelerated bachelor’s to master’s degree programs. The purpose of these programs is to allow more students to save time and money in their pursuit of a graduate degree. A new leadership position in the Dean's Office is created—an associate dean for equity and community partnerships (Faye Belgrave, Ph.D.)—who leads new initiatives aimed at promoting diversity, equity and inclusion in the College. Despite colleges and universities across the country struggling to keep students enrolled during the pandemic, the College retains its continuing students at equal levels to prior years. Further, the College finishes the year without layoffs or furloughs of full-time employees, and on budget.

2022: Catherine Ingrassia, Ph.D., a professor and chair from the VCU Department of English, is named interim dean.

2019: Donald Young, Ph.D., is named interim dean. The strategic plan 'Excellence Beyond Boundaries' is adopted. A new minor in LGBT+ and queer studies is introduced.

2018: The College introduces its inaugural class of Eminent Scholars. Alumna Iris Harrell and wife Ann Benson create a new scholarship for gender, sexuality and women’s studies with a $1M gift.

2017: Novelist David Baldacci and wife, Michelle, give $1.1M to the College for scholarships and experiential learning. Emeritus Professor of History Harold Greer Jr., Ph.D., and his wife, Laura (also a retired faculty member) pledge $1M to endow the Dr. and Mrs. Harold Greer Jr. Distinguished Professorship in Latin American History.

2016: Montserrat Fuentes, Ph.D., is named the eighth dean of the College.

2015: Sociology and Political Science become departments.

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. The Humanities Research Center was established.

2011: James S. Coleman, Ph.D., joins the College as its seventh 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: A 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. A B.A. in African American Studies is established.

2002: A B.S. in forensic science program is implemented. The Department of Mathematical Sciences separates into the Department of Mathematics and Applied Mathematics and the Department of Statistical Sciences and Operations Research. John B. Fenn, Ph.D., receives the Nobel Prize in chemistry.

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

2000: The Center for Environmental Studies, Military Science program and Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies program are integrated into administration by the College.

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

1997: Susan Kennedy becomes interim dean of the College. A graduate program is established in the Adcenter. A dual master’s degree in criminal justice for theology students is established. The College celebrates its 30th anniversary.

1996: The Office of Academic Advising comes under the College’s auspices. A new curriculum for general education requirements is established.

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

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

1993: David Hiley, Ph.D., becomes the fourth dean.

1992: The Honors Program comes under the Office of Academic Affairs.

1991: The Language Learning Center is established by the foreign languages department.

1990: A minor in women’s studies is introduced by the College.

1989: An M.A. is offered independently in English.

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

1987: A National Endowment for the Humanities Challenge Grant is received. An M.S. program in computer science is developed.

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

1984: A master's program in physics is approved. The Military Science/Army ROTC unit becomes part of the College.

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

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

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

1978: A doctoral program in social policy and social work begins cooperatively with the School of Social Work.

1976: A master’s degree in mass communications and doctorate in counseling psychology are offered.

1974: Afro-American Studies becomes a part of the School of Arts and Sciences. An English/English Education master’s program begins cooperatively with the School of Education. The graduate program in chemistry is transferred to School of Arts and Sciences. The Departments of History and Geography are created.

1972: Paul D. Minton, Ph.D., is installed as the new dean.

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

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

1968: Virginia Commonwealth University is created by the General Assembly. The Departments of Mathematics, Physics and Physical Science are formed.

1967: The Department of Philosophy and Religious Studies is organized.

1966: The School of Arts and Sciences is 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.