2023 Commencement Speaker

Posted on 05/18/2023
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Mr. Cainan Townsend is a native of Prince Edward County, graduating from Prince Edward County Public Schools and Longwood University. Townsend still resides in Farmville, alongside his wife Kandice and their daughters Caroline and Kennedy.
Mr. Townsend is the great-grandson of John Townsend, a plaintiff from the landmark Brown vs. Board of Education case; the great-nephew of Mildred and Arlene Townsend, members of the 1951 Moton student walkout; and the son of a member of the “lost generation,” those who missed several years of education due to the closing of Prince Edward County Public Schools from 1959-1964.
Mr. Townsend is the Managing Director of the Robert Russa Moton Museum, a National Historic Landmark in Farmville and the birthplace of America's Civil Rights Student Revolution. Townsend leads the day-to-day operations of the Moton Museum and works to advance the museum’s mission in all parts of the commonwealth through active education and public program offerings.
Mr. Townsend has demonstrated strong leadership skills by serving on the Prince Edward County School Board, the Virginia African American Cultural Resources Task Force, and the Commission for African American History Education. In addition, he was selected to be join the prestigious Governor’s Fellowship with the Virginia Secretary of Education under Governor McAuliffe.