Hampton University’s Living Legend

Reuben V. Burrell earned an industrial arts degree at what is now Hampton University in 1947. He then earned a master’s degree in industrial arts at New York University. In 1949 he was hired as the official photographer at Hampton. He has remained in that post for the past 60 years.

Over that span Burrell has chronicled every major event on the Hampton campus including athletic events, guest speakers such as Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks, and the past 60 commencement ceremonies.

Now 90 years old, Burrell walks to campus each morning from his home. He works from 8 a.m. to noon in the same room in which he lived when he was a student at Hampton more than six decades ago.

More than 20,000 of Burrell’s photographs are being preserved in a digital archive at the Hampton University Museum.