U.S. Sen. Mark Warner, who as Virginia governor helped Longwood University rebuild from a fire to its signature building and signed into law Longwood’s designation as a university, will serve as the 2014 commencement speaker, as the university celebrates its 175th anniversary.

The commencement ceremony will take place at 9:30 a.m. Saturday, May 10, on Wheeler Mall.

"Senator Warner has played a key role in the modern history of Virginia’s third-oldest public university," said President W. Taylor Reveley IV. "We owe no small measure of our strength and prosperity today to the faith he showed in Longwood during his time as governor.

"Senator Warner also embodies the ideals of citizen leadership Longwood strives to instill in our students, from his work championing education as governor to his bipartisan leadership in the Senate," Reveley said. "We are delighted he will be honoring our graduates in this very special year for Longwood."

In 2002, while governor, Warner came to campus to sign into law the General Assembly legislation designating Longwood as a "university." That celebration was held on the anniversary of the Great Fire of 2001, which destroyed Longwood’s most famous building – Ruffner Hall and its Rotunda. Rebuilt and restored, Ruffner and the Rotunda today continue to serve as the academic core of campus. Since the time of the fire, Longwood’s enrollment has grown by more than 800 students and this year stands at 4,960.

Warner served as governor from 2002-06 and was elected to the Senate in 2008. He serves on the Senate Finance, Banking, Budget and Intelligence committees, and has been a prominent member of the Senate’s "Gang of Six," working across party lines to find bipartisan solutions on the issues of debt and deficit reduction.

More than 900 undergraduate students will receive degrees at the Saturday commencement ceremony; more than 150 students will receive graduate degrees at a ceremony Friday evening, May 9.

Leave a Comment