Man shot in the back on Richmond’s Southside

Trailblazing educator Dr. Grace Harris poured ‘heart and soul’ into VCU

RICHMOND, Va. -- Dozens gathered at the Interment Mt. Calvary Cemetery in Richmond Sunday afternoon to pay their final respects to trailblazing educator and compassionate social worker.

Dr. Grace Harris died February 12 at the age of 84. She was the highest-ranking African-American and highest-ranking woman in the history of Virginia Commonwealth University.

According to her grandson, Jullian Harrison, her journey wasn't easy.

"The fact she was able to rise at VCU after originally being denied admission because of her race," said Jullian Harrison.

Dr. Grace Harris

Dr. Grace Harris

That obstacle did not stop her, Dr. Harris enrolled at Boston University and in 1960 she returned to Richmond Professional Institute now know as Virginia Commonwealth University where she completed her master's degree in social work.

"Her heart and soul was put into making sure VCU was the institution that would bear her name and also that would teach and mold the minds of a lot of other students down the road," Harrison said.

She leaves behind years of hard work and her legacy which includes The Grace E. Harris Leadership Institute and the former business building that is now called Grace E. Harris Hall.

Her daughter Gayle Harris wants the world to remember her mother as a pioneer.VCU

"Remember her as someone who enjoyed learning, pursued a career, never let setbacks set her back," said Gayle.