In memoriam: Virginia A. Arnold

Headshot of Dr. Virginia A. Arnold.
Dr. Virginia A. Arnold.

Dr. Virginia Arnold, an important and dedicated member of the VCU School of Education family, died January 12, 2020 at the age of 85. Arnold established SOE’s Virginia A. Arnold Scholarship Fund in 1990 for students with financial need and the desire to become elementary or middle school teachers.

Arnold believed providing scholarships to talented students offered them the same opportunities she enjoyed. She also funded scholarships in elementary education at Ohio State University and Kent State University.

The youngest of five children, Arnold completed her Master of Arts in Curriculum and Administration and her Ph.D. in Language Arts, Reading and Children's Literature at Ohio State. She began her career as an elementary school teacher in South Euclid, Arizona before returning to Grandview Heights, a suburb of Columbus, Ohio.

During her career, she worked in advertising, marketing and finally as editor-in-chief of elementary publications at Macmillan Publishing Company. She began teaching at SOE in the 1970s while she was writing textbooks for Macmillan, eventually settling in Richmond.

It was during her time in Richmond that Arnold decided to support education students through scholarship funding. Having come from a big family with limited resources and knowing the struggle of working two jobs to get through school, she believed that this type of support could make a great impact on the lives of students.

“The most important thing you will ever do is get an education, and I want students from all walks of life to have that opportunity,” Arnold said. “Students need our help today more than ever before, and future teachers are a great investment.”

“If we don’t have teachers, we don’t have schools and we won’t have a future.”

Arnold was also passionate about music, ballet and theatre, and she generously supported a number of organizations throughout the Richmond area. She was on the Board of Directors of the Richmond Symphony as well as the Richmond Symphony Foundation.

During the later years of her life, Arnold lived at the Residences at Cedarfield, serving on the Residents Council. Her love of life, passion for the arts, and wonderful sense of humor will be missed by all.

A Celebration of Life service will be held at the Fellowship Hall at Cedarfield on Thursday, January 23, 2020, at 11 a.m. Parking may be limited. Contributions in Dr. Arnold's memory can be made to the VCU Foundation with designation for the Virginia A. Arnold Scholarship, to the Richmond Symphony, or to a charity of your choice.

Learn how the Virginia A. Arnold Scholarship Fund benefitted one SOE student in the article below:
Scholarship provides extra push for student to complete internship