Richard Bland College is a public junior college associated with the College of William & Mary and located in Prince George County, Virginia. Richard Bland College was established in 1960 by the Virginia General Assembly as a branch of the College of William and Mary under the umbrella of “the Colleges of William and Mary”.
The “Colleges" system lasted two years. Although other institutions such as Christopher Newport founded as colleges of William and Mary became independent colleges and later universities, Richard Bland has continued as a junior college of the College of William and Mary. Though under its own administration, Richard Bland College is governed by William and Mary’s Board of Visitors. It was named after Virginia statesman Richard Bland who lived in Prince George County where the campus is located.
The rural campus was developed on a 750-acre site that was formerly a large dairy farm, that straddles the border of Prince George and Dinwiddie counties, just south of Petersburg. Prior to the Civil War, the property where the college now stands was part of a large plantation owned by the Gurley family. It became an important part of the Union-occupied territory during the Siege of Petersburg. The present campus was the scene of two battles during that campaign, the Battle of Jerusalem Plank Road and the Battle of Globe Tavern, both aimed at extending the Union siege lines to the west to capture the Weldon Railroad and cut the rail lines supplying Petersburg. Shortly before the turn of the century, the Hatcher-Seward family established a dairy farm on the former Gurley property.