Dominion Energy and the Library of Virginia Honor Four Leaders as 'Strong Men & Women in Virginia History'

  • 12th annual program recognizes African American leaders and their contributions to the Commonwealth
  • Honorees include a Navy Commanding Officer, NASA Project Director, Sheriff, and Dentist
  • Four high school student finalists of creative contest also recognized

RICHMOND, Va., Feb. 26, 2024 /PRNewswire/ -- Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation and the Library of Virginia are pleased to announce the 2024 Strong Men & Women in Virginia History honorees and Student Creative Expressions Contest finalists.

This annual program recognizes notable African American business and community leaders who have overcome obstacles to make significant impacts across the state.

"We are proud to honor changemakers whose efforts have strengthened their communities for generations to come," said Bill Murray, Senior Vice President for Corporate Affairs and Communications at Dominion Energy. "The Strong Men & Women in Virginia History honorees serve as role models for helping every community to thrive."

Members of the armed forces, engineers, medical professionals, community leaders, educators, writers, judges, and elected officials have been celebrated throughout the program's history.

"The Library of Virginia is proud to recognize African Americans who have made significant contributions in their respective fields and in the lives of citizens of the Commonwealth," said Librarian of Virginia Dennis T. Clark. "This year's honorees offer powerful success stories that reflect rich legacies of excellence."

The 2024 honorees:

Captain Janet H. Days 
Navy Commanding Officer, Norfolk

R. Tyrone Foster 
Sheriff, Bristol

Dr. Erma L. Freeman 
Dentist, Mecklenburg

Gregory L. Robinson
NASA Project Director, Manassas

The leaders were celebrated at a reception and private dinner on Thursday in Richmond. Each honoree was provided the opportunity to choose a nonprofit to receive a $5,000 grant from the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation. Along with the event, the Library of Virginia will host a traveling exhibition featuring each of the honorees and their biographical information. The exhibition will be on display at various community, business, and educational institutions throughout the year so that Virginians can learn about these outstanding leaders and their contributions to the Commonwealth.

In 2013, Strong Men & Women in Virginia History was born when the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation and the Library of Virginia began a new educational initiative that merged two phenomenal Black History Month programs: Dominion Energy's 22-year-old series, Strong Men & Women: Excellence in Leadership and the Library of Virginia's eight-year-old program, African American Trailblazers in Virginia History.

As part of the initiative, Virginia high school students can participate in a creative contest to honor outstanding African Americans and share stories they feel may be missing from the mainstream narrative. 

The 2024 Student Creative Expressions Contest finalists:

Bezawit Abate 
Potomac Senior High School, Prince William County

Justin Kidd Jones 
Richmond Community High School, Richmond

Katelyn Luu 
Cosby High School, Chesterfield County

Angelina Nair 
Grafton High School, York County

The winner of the student creative contest was Katelyn Luu from Cosby High School who wrote about Udine Smith Moore, known as "Dean of Black Women Composers."  In honor of her efforts, Katelyn's school received $2,000.

Each student received an Apple MacBook Air laptop and money for their school.

For more information on Strong Men & Women in Virginia History, photos and full honoree biographical information, go to: Strong Men & Women in Virginia History - Library of Virginia Education.

About the Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation

About 7 million customers in 15 states energize their homes and businesses with electricity or natural gas from Dominion Energy (NYSE: D). Through its Dominion Energy Charitable Foundation as well as EnergyShare and other programs, Dominion Energy contributed $46.7 million in 2023 to community causes. The Foundation supports nonprofit causes that meet basic human needs, protect the environment, promote education, and encourage community vitality. Please visit to learn more. 

About the Library of Virginia

The Library of Virginia is the state's oldest institution dedicated to the preservation of Virginia's history and culture. Our online offerings attract nearly 4 million website visits per year, and our resources, exhibitions and events bring in nearly 100,000 visitors each year. The Library's collections, containing more than 130 million items, document and illustrate the lives of both famous Virginians and ordinary citizens. The Library is located in downtown Richmond near Capitol Square at 800 East Broad Street, Richmond, VA 23219. Learn more at

SOURCE Dominion Energy

For further information: For information: Cherise Newsome, or (757) 840-0100.