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Notable Alumni: Viola O. Baskerville '73

Viola O. Baskerville '73

Viola O. Baskerville '73 was appointed Secretary of Administration by Virginia Governor Timothy Kaine. In this role, she oversees state agencies such as the State Board of Elections, Departments of General Services, Department of Human Resources Management, and the Department of Minority Business Enterprise. She is the second African-American and the only African-American female cabinet head in the current administration. Prior to her appointment, she served as co-chair of Governor Kaine's transition team.

Baskerville has had many years of public service. Beginning in 1994, she served on the Richmond City Council and was elected Vice Mayor by her council peers. In 1997, she was elected to the Virginia House of Delegates, and served until relinquishing the seat in 2005 to pursue the Democratic nomination for Lieutenant Governor, the first African-American woman to do so. During her tenure in the Virginia General Assembly, she served the 71st District, which includes downtown and the north side of the City of Richmond as well as a portion of Henrico County. She was a member of the Health, Welfare and Institutions and Science and Technology committees.

Among her most notable legislative achievements was the establishment of educational scholarships for those students locked out of Prince Edward County Public Schools when the state failed to fund these schools. The Brown v. Board of Education scholarships were funded at $2 million and have offered opportunities to dozens of adult learners to pursue their educational goals.

Baskerville received a bachelor's degree from the College of William and Mary and, after graduation, was awarded a Fulbright Fellowship to study in Bonn, Germany. Later, she earned a law degree from the University of Iowa College of Law. She has received numerous awards and recognition for her work as a public servant from organizations such as the YWCA and National Council of Negro Women, Inc. She was inducted into the National Honor Society of Omicron Delta Kappa and is on the Center for Women's Policy Studies National Roll of State Legislators.

Baskerville strongly believes in the development of the next generation of political leaders and serves on the Sorensen Institute of Political Leadership's statewide advisory board. She is married to Dr. Archer Baskerville, a cardiologist in private practice in Richmond. The couple has two sons: Timothy, an attorney who is an assistant public defender in Newport News, Va. and Sean, a behavioral therapist. -- Source: State of Virginia

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