Skip to main content

Jim Dyke Receives Virginia Chamber Lifetime Achievement Award

On May 16, 2024, the Virginia Chamber of Commerce named James Dyke the recipient of its Lifetime Achievement Award. Dyke is one of four recipients of the award, highlighting a century of excellence in business leadership as the Chamber commemorates 100 years of fostering economic growth and prosperity in the Commonwealth. Dyke is a member of the Norfolk State University Board of Visitors and Senior Advisor at McGuireWoods Consulting.

“We are delighted to recognize the individual achievements of each honoree who has helped shape Virginia as a best state for business,” said Barry DuVal, President and CEO of the Virginia Chamber of Commerce. “Their visionary leadership and commitment to excellence serve as an inspiration for current and future generations of business leaders.”

Dyke served as Virginia’s first Black secretary of education and the first Black chair in the then 75-year history of the Northern Virginia Chamber (1999-2000).

In his speech, he thanked the Chamber for “giving me the opportunity to help develop bipartisan policy-focused business support for needed improvements in education and workforce preparation programs – changes that will provide every Virginian with the opportunity to succeed and help grow our economy.”

He also noted the historic location of the award ceremony, which took place at the Jefferson Hotel, where 29 Virginia business leaders, including members of the Chamber of Commerce, met with then Gov. Lindsay Almond 66 years ago to urge him to “end the abomination known as massive resistance.”  

“As Journalist Benjamin Muse wrote, “It may be confidently stated that Virginia business leaders finally brought vigorous and effective pressure, of which the public was not aware, to bring massive resistance to an end.””

Noting that the award was given two days before the 70th anniversary of the historic Brown v. Board of Education decision declaring segregated schools unconstitutional, Dyke stated that “I proudly stand here as a business advocate and a person of color at the very spot where, because of the business community, Virginia’s history took a decisive turn, a turn that was best for Virginia and that made it possible for me to be a part of your work and the recipient of your honor today.

“Unfortunately, the vestiges of school segregation continue today and hinder our ability to fully prepare our future workforce. The business community once again must step up and address that issue just as you did 66 years ago,” Dyke said. 

--Courtesy of McGuire Woods Consulting