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Our History: Featured Alumni/ae: Howell, Henry E., Jr., 1943

Over the decades our graduates have developed distinguished careers as justices, members of Congress, ambassadors, educators, business people, and community leaders in many fields. This site features some of those late graduates.

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Henry Evans Howell, Jr.

Lt. Governor of Virginia

Born in Richmond, Virginia in 1920, Henry Evans Howell grew up in Norfolk, Virginia. He earned an undergraduate degree from the College of William and Mary and a J.D. from the University of Virginia. He first became involved in politics in 1949, campaigning for gubernatorial candidate Francis Pickens Miller, who was ultimately unsuccessful. In 1952, Howell managed Miller's campaign against incumbent U.S. Senator Harry F. Byrd, which Miller also lost.

The following year, Howell ran for a seat in the Virginia House of Delegates, but lost the election. In 1959, he was elected to the seat, but lost a campaign for re-election in 1961. He reclaimed the seat two years later in 1963 and was elected to a seat in the Virginia State Senate in 1965. Known as ”Howlin” Henry Howell, he especially attacked big business and monopolies. A supporter of civil rights for African Americans, Howell campaigned against massive resistance, was a major proponent of desegregation, and filed a successful lawsuit to abolish the state's poll tax. A strong supporter of labor unions, he often attempted to repeal Virginia's right-to-work law.

In 1969, Howell made his first run for Governor, losing the primary to William C. Battle, son of former Governor John S. Battle. In 1971, Howell was elected Lieutenant Governor of Virginia running as an Independent. In 1973, Howell made his second run for Governor, this time as an Independent, but was again unsuccessful. In 1977, Howell made his final run for elective office, campaigning for Governor as a Democrat. Howell won the primary but went on to lose to the Republican Lieutenant Governor John N. Dalton, also an alumnus of UVA Law. After losing the election, Howell retired to Norfolk, dying of natural causes on July 7, 1997.

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