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AAMU Family Mourns Death of Dr. Virginia Caples

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CaplesPrez.jpgThe Alabama A&M University Family is saddened by the Monday, February 19, 2018, death of Dr. Virginia Caples, long-time educator and administrator at AAMU for nearly 40 years.  Funeral services will be held Saturday, February 24, at 12 noon at First Missionary Baptist Church, 3509 Blue Spring Road, NW, Huntsville, Ala.  (VIDEO - Michael Morns/Erica "Fox" Washington)


When the Trustees of Alabama A&M University voted and elected Dr. Virginia Caples as the individual to take the helm of leadership for the University back in 1995, they made history by turning the reins of leadership over to the first woman in the University's then 120-year history. Ten years later in 2005, Dr. Caples was again selected to lead the University as president for an interim term.


Dr. Caples was a native of Doddsville, Mississippi, located in the Mississippi Delta.  The Alcorn State University graduate provided committed and dedicated service to Alabama A&M University for nearly 40 years in various capacities as Interim President, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Associate Dean, Distinguished University Professor, and 1890 Administrator. In Caples2.jpgthese capacities, she provided effective leadership in areas such as strategic planning, academic program development and evaluation, faculty performance, institutional effectiveness, technology integration, meeting accreditation requirements, and student learning outcomes. She was the lead facilitator for the University’s strategic planning and SACS accreditation efforts in 1984, 1994, 2004, and 2014. Further, she was one of the principal individuals involved in the implementation of Knight, Sims, et al v. State of Alabama Higher Education Desegregation Lawsuit for Alabama A&M University.


Dr. Caples was actively involved in local, state, national, and international affairs related to her professional area of Family and Consumer Sciences. As a leader and active member of the American Association of Family and CaplesJoyner2.jpgConsumer Sciences (AAFCS), she served as president and chair of the board of directors, vice president for professional development, and chair of the Council for Accreditation. She also served as president and secretary of the Association of Administrators of Human Sciences. In recognition of her leadership and professional involvement, Dr. Caples received the highest recognition bestowed on a member, the Distinguished Service Award of the AAFCS in 1999.


In addition to the Distinguished Service Award from AAFCS, Dr. Caples was recognized by her colleagues and peers as a leader, role model, educator, and scholar through her selection as Outstanding African-American in the Agricultural CaplesV2011B.JPG
Sciences, Museum of Science and Industry--Chicago, Iowa State University and Alcorn State University Distinguished Alumni Awards in Family and Consumer Sciences, National Institutes of Health Extramural Associates Fellowship, and Leadership Alabama and Huntsville/Madison County and leadership programs.


Also, in recognition of her leadership, she served as a member of the board of directors for Girls, Inc, Retired Senior Volunteer Program, Harris Home for Children, The Volunteer Center, and Department of Human Resources for Madison County. In December 2005 and January 2006, Dr. Caples received a trilogy of awards from three prestigious community organizations; First Annual Rosa Parks Women of Courage Award by the Huntsville Madison County NAACP; the Mentor of the Year Award by the 100 Black Men of America, Inc. Huntsville Chapter; and the Martin Luther King Unity Award from Alpha Phi Alpha, Inc. Delta Theta Lambda Chapter.


As a scholar, Dr. Caples had numerous presentations, articles, and other publications to her credit on such topics as: nutrition education for underserved UrbanLiving.jpg
populations, leadership skills for the twenty-first century, parental guidance and VCLLIGive.pngcareer choices of youth, competencies needed by home health aids, and workplace and professional challenges for women of color, the future of 1890 Extension. In addition to her publications, Dr. Caples conducted workshops and training sessions on developing the quality enhancement plan, meeting and exceeding accreditation standards, leadership, curriculum and programs development, strategic planning, and the freshman-year experience. She participated in training sessions and research in Germany, Australia, Tanzania and Sudan in eastern Africa, South Africa, and St. Kitts and Belize in the Caribbean.

Alabama A&M University 

established the Virginia Caples Lifelong Learning Institute (VCLLI) in honor of Dr. Caples.  With the opening of the VCLLI, AAMU joined the ranks of its sister Institution, Hampton University, to become only the second Historically Black College and University (HBCU) and the first 1890 land grant institution, in the nation to address learning and advanced quality of life for the older adult population.


CaplesBatts.jpgDr. Caples was a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated, and the Greater Huntsville Chapter of The Links Incorporated. She was a member of the Church Street Cumberland Presbyterian Church, where she was a Sunday school teacher and chair of the Diaconate.


She was married to Hundley Batts, Sr., and together they owned and operated "Your Community Station" WEUP 103.1 FM; WEUZ 92.1 FM (Hip Hop, Rhythm and Blues); and "Huntsville's Heritage Station" 

WEUP 1700 and 94.5 FM (Gospel, Inspiration and Talk); WEUP 1600 and WHIY 1190 AM (Delta Blues). 


- Jerome Saintjones 

Office of Marketing and Public Relations
Alabama A&M University
303 Patton Hall
Normal, AL 35762-1027
(256) 372-5654
(256) 372-5034 (Fax)
Jerome Saintjones,, (256) 372-5607
Debra Daniel,(256) 372-4767
Shirley Alexander,, (256) 372-5607
Interns/Bi-Weekly Students: (256) 372-5625
Memorial Video (by Michael Morns)
     Narrated by Erica "Fox" Washington