University of Richmond Race & Racism Project

Letter from Unnamed Alum to George M. Modlin

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Letter from Unnamed Alum to George M. Modlin


This letter written on December 30, 1970 by an unnamed alum to University of Richmond President George M. Modlin was read at a President’s Advisory Council Meeting on March 8, 1971 regarding Dick Gregory’s lecture on campus on December 9, 1970. Dick Gregory was a black comedian, author, actor, activist, and civil rights leader who came to speak on campus as part of a lecture series. This alum expresses “disgust” at the list of speakers sponsored by the University Student Union and states that E. C. Robins “couldn’t condone the appearance of these people on campus.” In 1969, Robins gifted $50 million to the University, giving the University independent financial security. The alum asserts that their objection to these speakers will be tangibly shown through “stopping my annual contribution” as they believe that “these speakers do not deserve to walk on that hallowed ground.” The alum expresses their desire for the University of Richmond to remain rooted in “tradition, religious teaching, loyalty to country…American.” Many alumni decided to withhold their financial donations, but President Modlin defended the principle of free speech as essential to the University.


Notes from President's Advisory Council Meeting at the University of Richmond, 8 March 1971, RG 6.2.4 Box 28 Folder 2, University Archives, Virginia Baptist Historical Society.









Richmond (Va.)

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“Letter from Unnamed Alum to George M. Modlin,” University of Richmond Race & Racism Project, accessed February 7, 2023,