Fund honors Nansemond native

Published 8:19 pm Saturday, March 2, 2013

Former Virginia Historical Society trustee and long-time supporter Hugh Vernon White Jr., a Nansemond County native, who died in August 2012, has been honored with a special education fund to support the society’s efforts.

White served on the VHS board from January 1997 to December 2006 and was chairman in 2004 and 2005.

To honor his memory and celebrate the many contributions Mr. White made to the VHS and the law firm, his former employer, Hunton & Williams LL,P and a number of its present and former partners have established the Hugh V. White Jr. Outreach Education Fund. Hunton & Williams has invited others to join them in this effort.



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Income from the fund will support history education outreach programs to school systems, educators, and other student groups across Virginia who may not be able to travel to the VHS for programs.

Outreach programs include VHS educator site-visits; interactive video conferencing or other technology-based programming; teacher training and recertification classes; VHS-sponsored lectures, conferences, and symposia held at off-site locations; and traveling exhibitions.

More than $250,000 has been raised to date in memory of Mr. White. These funds — from VHS board colleagues, staff, and members, plus friends, family, and people he mentored at Hunton & Williams — will be used to assure an enduring stream of income to support the society’s statewide educational activities.

“Hugh was very proud of his small-town roots,” said current VHS board chairman and Hunton & Williams partner Thomas G. Slater Jr.

“He grew up in an area where cultural opportunities were far more limited than in the Richmond metro area. He never forgot the impact that an organization’s educational outreach programs could have on a smaller, more isolated community. It is appropriate that the Hugh White Fund will support the society’s efforts to extend their reach to all communities in Virginia.”

“When Hugh was chairman of our board, he was most interested in moving VHS programs outside the headquarters building in Richmond,” said VHS Vice President for Institutional Advancement Pamela Seay. “I know he would be pleased that the VHS is actively pursuing ways to connect children, adults, families, and new Americans to the stories of Virginians.

White was born in Holland, in 1933. His father was a public high school principal. After graduating from Virginia Military Institute in 1954, White joined the U.S. Air Force. After serving from 1955-58 as a fighter pilot, White attended law school at Washington and Lee University, where he was a member of Phi Beta Kappa and served as editor-in-chief of the Washington and Lee Law Review.

In 1963, White joined the Richmond law firm of Hunton, Williams, Gay, Powell & Gibson, now Hunton & Williams LLP. White’s specialty was business law, with an emphasis on corporate and securities law. He became partner in 1969 and joined the Executive Committee in 1974. He served as vice chairman from 1982-86 and chairman from 1986-94.

As part of the leadership team, Mr. White helped transform Hunton & Williams from a one-office firm to an organization employing 500 lawyers with several national and international branches. White retired from Hunton & Williams in 1999.

White was widely recognized for his professional accomplishments and was active in service to his community. He served on the board of directors of The Chesapeake Corp. and Pulaski Furniture Corp.; was chairman of the Richmond First Club and the Richmond Metropolitan YMCA; was a member of the Virginia Commonwealth University Business School Council and the Law Council of the Washington and Lee University School of Law; was a trustee of Randolph-Macon Woman’s College (now Randolph College); and served as a senior warden at St. Mary’s Episcopal Church in Goochland County, where he was a member.

White also contributed more than 100 hours of pro bono legal assistance to low-income residents in Richmond’s Church Hill area, earning him Hunton & William’s E. Randolph Williams Award in 1999.

“Hugh’s service and devotion to this institution have made a significant and lasting impact,” Seay said. “Because of that, the response to the fund has been inspiring. It is gratifying to work for an organization supported by individuals who share a sense of urgency and excitement about education.”