The Board of Visitors appointed attorney George Keith Martin as its new vice rector Thursday evening following the June resignation of former Vice Rector Mark Kington. Martin, who will serve as the University’s first African-American vice rector, will succeed Rector Helen Dragas next July as chairman of the Board. The University began admitting black students in 1951. Martin graduated from the University in 1975. He now is a managing partner at McGuireWoods LLP in Richmond. “My time at U.Va. as a student was special,” Martin said in a statement. “Indeed it changed my life, and therefore I am thankful to the Governor and the General Assembly for the opportunity to serve on the Board of Visitors.” Dragas in a statement called Martin’s appointment a large step forward in “reflecting the great diversity of our community.” “His irrefutable integrity, character, and considerate manner will contribute constructively to our renewed efforts to make real progress and reshape the future outcomes for this great university,” Dragas said. Martin has previously served on the James Madison University Board of Visitors and currently sits on the Regent University Law School Board.