What is the VCLLI?
The Virginia Caples Lifelong Learning Institute (VCLLI) was named in honor of the late 1890 Extension Administrator Dr. Virginia Caples, who had a vision to develop a lifelong learning center for older adults. The VCLLI is housed on the campus of Alabama A&M University (AAMU) and operates under the direction of the Alabama Cooperative Extension System. With the rapid growth of an aging population, there’s no time like the present to promote, advocate, and deliver lifelong-learning opportunities for older adults.
The mission of the VCLLI is to create and sustain a stimulating, state-of-the-art educational, social, and life-enhancing environment for senior adults. This mission is fulfilled through innovative curricula, experiential learning, and intergenerational activities. Further, the Institute engages in research and advocacy that advance its defining theme of “successful aging.”
Noted for its multidimensional platform, the VCLLI has quickly become a highly acclaimed resource for senior adults in Alabama. Led by the Advisory Council, members drive the programs and activities and are the lifeblood of the Institute. The success and growth of the VCLLI is highly dependent on active involvement of its members by serving as volunteers in various capacities
ABOUT VIRGINIA CAPLES
When the Trustees of Alabama A&M University voted and elected Dr. Virginia Caples as interim president of AAMU in 1995, they made history by turning the reins of leadership over to the first woman in the University’s 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, a native of Doddsville, Mississippi, located in the Mississippi Delta, provided committed and dedicated service to Alabama A&M University for the past 38 years in various capacities as Interim President, Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Associate Dean, Distinguished University Professor, and 1890 Administrator. In these 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.
She 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 Consumer 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 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 the following 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 populations, leadership skills for the twenty-first century, parental guidance and career choices of youth, competencies needed by home health aides, 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.
Dr. 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 taught Sunday school and chaired the Diaconate. She was married to Hundley Batts, Sr. 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). Her hobbies were reading, watching old movies, and flying