Dr. Arthur A. Richards - UVI's Second President (1980-1990)
Dr. Arthur A. Richards was inaugurated as the second president on Charter Day in 1981. Born in Frederiksted, St. Croix, he attended St. Croix schools, then earned his bachelor’s degree from Howard University, his master’s from Hampton Institute (1961) and his doctorate in Educational Administration and Supervision from New York University in 1965. He began his career as a classroom teacher in Frederiksted, then became a principal, then deputy commissioner of Education (1960-1963), assistant commissioner of Education (1963-66), commissioner of Education, and eventually provost and dean of the College of the Virgin Islands (his title later included vice president.) He had studied with the International Institute on Comparative Education in Italy and the Netherlands.
Under his leadership, the College of the Virgin Islands earned a ten-year re-accreditation by Middle States Association; developed quality programs and raised the institution’s academic standards.
Under the visionary leadership of Dr. Richards, among other notable contributions, participation in the National Student Exchange program was initiated, the bachelor of arts in Caribbean studies, the bachelor of science in biology and chemistry with physics programs and the bachelor of science in nursing were instituted; the institution’s name was changed from College of the Virgin Islands by the Legislature of the Virgin Islands; the northwest wing of the Evans Center was dedicated and the Eastern Caribbean Center was established and then later designated as the Secretariat for the Consortium of Caribbean Universities for Natural Resource Management.
Additional accomplishments included the College of the Virgin Islands becoming the University of the Virgin Islands in great part to the development and diversification of its academic programs; the University was named a Historically Black College and University (HBCU), the only such institution so designated outside the continental United States in 1986; the establishment of the Upward Bound Program, the Small Business Development Center and the continued growth of the Cooperative Extension Center and the Agricultural Experiment Station.
In 1990, upon Dr. Richards’ retirement, in honor of his accomplishments, leadership and impact that he had on the development of the University during his term as President and in honor of his outstanding service to the University, the people of the Virgin Islands and Caribbean, he was conferred the status of President Emeritus.
Dr. Arthur Richards passed away on September 2, 2005 at the age of 80. He was married to the late Myrna Richards. It was noted by Dr. Orville Kean who succeeded Dr. Richards as president of the University that Dr. Richards was largely responsible for the metamorphosis of education in the Virgin Islands. His vision and commitment to learning will always be a part of his legacy to future leaders.