Former Gov. Wilder remembers that others paid for his education; now he hopes to do the same for future generations.

When Susan Gooden was a student at Virginia Tech in the early 1990s, “on a whim” she wrote a letter to the governor to thank him for the state’s investment in her education.

To her surprise, she received a personal letter back from that governor — Douglas Wilder.

Now, more than three decades later, Gooden is dean of the school that bears Wilder’s name, the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs at Virginia Commonwealth University. On Saturday, Gooden had another unique honor, helping preside over a “National Ovation to L. Douglas Wilder” black-tie gala in Washington, D.C., that served as a fundraiser for a scholarship program that involves the three schools with which Wilder is connected: his undergraduate alma mater of Virginia Union University, his law school alma mater of Howard University, and VCU, where he has taught after leaving office.
Virginia House Speaker Don Scott, U.S. Senator Mark Warner, Senate Black Caucus chair Sen. Lamont Bagby, and former Gov. Douglas Wilder. Courtesy of Virginia Commonwealth University.

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