University History

The Reverend William E. Hatcher

President of the Board of Trustees, Richmond College 1897-1908


William E. Hatcher entered Richmond College in 1854 and graduated in 1858 with a bachelor of arts degree. While at Richmond College, he helped found the Philologian Literary Society and was prominent in every religious movement. Hatcher was awarded an honorary doctor of divinity degree by the College in 1872. He also received an honorary doctor of laws degree from Denison and an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Colgate.

Hatcher was elected a trustee of Richmond College in 1870 and served on the Board the remaining 42 years of his life. When the trustees were divided as to the wisdom of enlarging the institution and moving to its present site, Hatcher made a speech in favor of these plans that carried the day. He also served for five years as financial agent for Richmond College. The William E. Hatcher Memorial Fund was established in 1912 as an unrestricted endowment.

In 1857, Hatcher was ordained as a minister at Mt. Herman Baptist Church in Bedford County, Va. He served as pastor at a number of churches including Grace Street Baptist Church in Richmond from 1875–1901.

Mr. Hatcher was president of the Baptist General Association of Virginia for two successive years, 1888–1889. Hatcher was president of the Education Board of the Baptist General Association of Virginia from 1875–1901.

Hatcher was a trustee of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, president of the board of trustees of the Woman’s College of Richmond from 1892–93 and president of the board of trustees of the Virginia Baptist Orphanage. He was the founder of Fork Union Academy and president of its board of trustees.

Mr. Hatcher was a junior editor of the Religious Herald from 1882–1885. For a number of years he was editor of the Baltimore Baptist and a number of other Baptist publications. He was the author of several books including Life of J. B. Jeter, John Jasper, Along the Trail of the Friendly Years, and The Pastor and the Sunday School.