05th Sep2011

Patricia Green – Virginia Union University

by Staff

 “I treasure my VUU years and the role black students on black college campuses played during that period of our nation’s history as drum majors for social justice and social change. I couldn’t have asked for a better “real learning for real life” experience.”

C/O 1972

Major: Sociology

Patricias’ two companies: I C Linkages, LLC | HMA Associates

Personal Contacts:

 

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How did you decide to become a student at Virginia Union University?

I had wanted to study art, my passion. VUU didn’t have an art major; however, my parents wanted me to attend there as my sister had done. Unfortunately, my sister did not complete her studies, and I knew my parents wanted this for her. I made a decision to achieve the goal of graduating, not just for myself but for my parents as well. Doing so dictated working part-time at the telephone company as a directory assistant and, sometimes, even full time to pay my tuition. That degree was very important to me as well as friendships and the sense of family that only an HBCU can provide. I treasure my VUU years and the role black students on black college campuses played during that period of our nation’s history as drum majors for social justice and social change. I couldn’t have asked for a better “real learning for real life” experience.

 

patricia-green-virginia-union-university-myhbcuinterview-campus
One of the many beautiful buildings on Virginia Union University’s Campus

 

What professors at Virginia Union University left the most impression upon you as a student and/or person? What did they do that continues to mean so much to you to this day?

Two professors come to mind: Nina Abady and Dr. John Ellison. Both were my sociology professors: Mrs. Abady taught me Urban Sociology while I studied Rural Sociology under Dr. Ellison, who was also VUU’s first African American president. I learned that poverty had no geographical boundaries for circumstances that impacted many people of color were as prevalent in urban America as in the rural countryside. From Mrs. Abady, who was white, I saw a spirit with commitment to show me, and other African American students, a world beyond our village. Because of Mrs. Abady, I participated in a one month study of Native Americans at Fort Lewis College, Durango, Colorado. Both professors had a profound influence on the person I became: one who thinks local and acts global, who recognizes the interdependency of our world community, and who does my part to be the change that I want to see..

patricia-green-virginia-union-university-myhbcuinterview-dr-john-ellison-professorsAn Image of Dr. Ellison who now resides with the ancestors

Thanks to Nubian Queen Patricia we located an organization called Bells For Peace helmed by Elizabeth Dianne Nelson Watkins (VUU c/o ‘65) which honors Dr. Ellison and “will protect, elevate and enrich the history of Virginia Union University, an Historical Black College/University opened in 1865, by preserving the university’s prominent cornerstone. It will provide new bells in the empty tower belfry of the university’s Belgian Friendship Building, restore the building, develop partnerships with great institutions and entities that will propel students from all over the world to make their “mark.”Continued excellence in national and international education prompted by the late John Malcus Ellison, Sr. and Elizabeth Balfour Ellison is the direct and underlying mission.”

patricia-green-virginia-union-university-myhbcuinterview-bells-for-peace-dr-ellison-organizationImage Courtesy of BellsForPeace.Org

 

What is the story of your “experience” at Virginia Union University given its heralded status as a stellar and prestigious HBCU?

My story is one of a first generation college graduate who had the fortune of attending VUU during the right season with the benefit of meeting noted African Americans, from teachers to guest speakers to classmates, who came from communities that I had never known. Having not traveled far beyond my native Richmond, I had always craved to see a world beyond the pages of books and magazines, beyond the segregated images on my black and white television. VUU gave me that world and I embraced it.

patricia-green-virginia-union-university-myhbcuinterview-international-travelImage Courtesy of Nubian King Averick Parker

 

Where were the spots to go to if you wanted to cuddle with your boy or girlfriend?

Wow, this is a tough question as I lived at home, not on campus, and during a time when there were rules of etiquette with respect to parental concerns. However, I recall house parties and back rooms and secluded areas in some of the parks.

patricia-green-virginia-union-university-myhbcuinterview-maymount-park-richmond-virginia
Maymount Park in Richmond, Virginia – Image Courtesy of PlanetWare.com

 

What were the best restaurants on and near campus? Which dishes did you enjoy the most?

The name escapes me; the food was greasy but good! Recall bologna and onion sandwiches. I would get heartburn today! Ms. Green has contacted us recently and she shared with us the name of the rrestaurant, it was called “The Silver Coach”. It has an heir of dignity about it doesn’t it?

patricia-green-virginia-union-university-myhbcuinterview-bologna-onion-sandwiches
What were the chants heard most often at the sporting events?

That memory escapes me.


Who was your College crush?

No one in particular. There was a Freddie and a Fred.

How did you overcome your nervousness about going to college?

I wasn’t nervous at all; I decided to do it and started the journey.

 

What was your major? and Why did you choose it?

Sociology. Remember, I wanted to study art, however, I always had an interest in cultures and the people within. I also desired to be an agent of social change. Sociology enhanced my understanding.

 

What has been your proudest moment @ Virginia Union University?

By far graduating and receiving academic preparedness for graduate school.

patricia-green-virginia-union-university-myhbcuinterview-graduation
Look at all of the Smiles – Image Courtesy of Virginia Union University

 

 

What was your saddest moment @ Virginia Union University?

Having my heart broken by Fred.

 

 

What did you pledge? And why? And if not, why not?
I didn’t pledge at VUU, however, pledged graduate chapter of Delta Sigma Theta. I was influenced by civil rights leader, the late Dr. Dorothy I. Height, whom I worked for upon relocating to Washington, DC.


How were you positively active on campus? (e.g. clubs, SGA, etc.)

I was not involved in many clubs beyond those linked to my major.
Where was the “yard” located?

In front of Ellison Hall.

patricia-green-virginia-union-university-myhbcuinterview-john-m-ellison-hall
John M. Ellison Hall – Image Courtesy of Virginia Union University

 

 

What and where were the historical places on campus?

Coburn Chapel where our religious services occurred and where great orators of the time presented.

patricia-green-virginia-union-university-myhbcuinterview-coburn-hall-historical-place
Abner Coburn Hall – Image Courtesy of Virginia Union University

 

 

Are there any ghost stories involving buildings or spots on campus?

None that I know of but am certain those who lived on campus knew of some.

 

How many “firsts” did you have at college ? What were they? (e.g. first road trip, first job interview, first love, first “F or A”, etc.)

First trip to Penn Relays, First bus trip to Newport News with my girlfriends with not enough funds to get back home, First time I was in love for real.

patricia-green-virginia-union-university-myhbcuinterview-penn-relays

 

 

If you could speak to those family members that have risen but that live forever through you, what words would you speak?

Thank you.

 

When and how did you discover your passion in life?

As a child, reading children’s books that took me to places of my desire, where I knew I could make a difference. These books were given to my mother, best described as “The Help,” by the white women she worked for whose children no longer desired them.

 

Whats your take on life (in the philosophical sense)?

I live a purpose driven life and respect the dignity of the human spirit, no matter the race or creed.

 

If you could only speak two sentences to the youth coming after you what would you say?
Live today like it is your last one in this place. Be the person you were sent here to be with resolve to make a difference.
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Graduate of an HBCU and true believer in HBCUs being the best at giving a well-rounded education academically and personally.

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