Author: Suzanne K. Durham


Charles Henry Corey (1834–1899)

Charles Henry Corey served as president of what became Virginia Union University. Born in New Brunswick, Canada, he entered the United States late in the 1850s to pursue a divinity degree. He preached to Union troops during the American Civil War (1861–1865) and later became active in the American Baptist Home Mission Society, which ministered to freedpeople. In 1868 he took over a fledgling theological school for African Americans in Richmond. The school became the Richmond Institute in 1876, and a decade later it was renamed Richmond Theological Seminary. In 1896 the seminary and the nearby Hartshorn Memorial College, a women’s institution, pursued plans to incorporate as Virginia Union University. By May 1897 Wayland Seminary, in Washington, D.C., joined the institution. The merger was formalized in 1900 with the school’s reincorporation as Virginia Union University; however, Corey did not live to see the event. His poor health had forced him to resin the presidency in 1898, and he died the following year.