The Reginald F. Lewis School of Business at Virginia State University

The Reginald F. Lewis School of Business at Virginia State University has been making local and some national headlines lately with its recent accolades by fulfilling every college or university’s goal is: preparing their students for the real world! Virginia State University is the first HBCU in the country to implement a digital core business curriculum.  RFLSB is also the first school in Virginia and one of the first in the nation to incorporate a social learning site into the learning process.

The Reginald F. Lewis School of Business noticed their students were not performing well due to the lack of students having textbooks because of their high cost. To solve this problem, the idea of digital textbooks and an online community was born. The online community named “Going On” is also used at schools such as Columbia, University of Pennsylvania and Yale. Through “Going On”, students can view courses and content blogs, and postings while interacting with professors and other students.

The “Digital Delivery” or digital textbooks, was first implemented in the Fall of 2010 and is different from E-books. The “Digital Delivery” allows a student to access and download textbooks without having to go to a website requiring a password. Once the textbook is downloaded, a student does not need to have internet connection to retrieve the book at a later date.

Professors also have more liberty than they would with E-books. Material can be modified, the order of chapters can be altered, information added to paragraphs and even video can be added. This information is downloadable via iTunes, PDF’s, E-pub files and MP3’s and can be read on iPads, Kindles, and smart phones and most importantly- it is free for the students.

RFLSB has also gained a new trading center similar to that of Wall Street’s. In a recent speech by Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke, he noted that a lack of financial literacy helped aid the recent recession. RFLSB wants to provide students in the Mass Communications and Business departments with an opportunity to experience how stock market research is performed, the events that affect daily trading prices and learn to select stocks and create competitive portfolios. The software is the same type used in brokerages and student portfolios compete with those of other universities. To make the scenario even more realistic, a benefactor has offered $100,000 to give students a chance to start an investment. 

The Reginald F. Lewis School of Business is named after Reginald F. Lewis, a lawyer, entrepreneur, CEO, and named the most successful black entrepreneur in the history of the United States by Black Enterprise magazine. Lewis was also an alum of Virginia State University. If Lewis, who died at the tender age of 50 from brain cancer, did not die when he had, he would have become the first black billionaire, a title first held by Bob Johnson.

If Reginald F. Lewis were still alive today, he would be more than proud to see the accomplishments his alma mater has attained. The School of Business has a strong name and is surely living up to it. It has been reported that VSU was facing financial difficulties back in the 90’s but today VSU is thriving and soaring to new heights and is the epitome of Reginald F. Lewis’ often quoted slogan of “Keep going, no matter what.”

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