A native of Doddsville, Mississippi in Sunflower County, received her Bachelor of Science degree in Home Economics from Alcorn State University in 1967. She received a Master of Science degree in Home Economics from Iowa State University in 1970 and Doctorate of Philosophy in Home Economics from Iowa State University in 1973.
Dr. Caples professional career expands 50 years beginning in Mississippi serving her alma mater as the Chairperson for the Department of Home Economics, a position she held for 5 years. The majority of her career was spent at Alabama A & M University serving as Interim President, Vice President for Academic Affairs, Provost, Associate Dean, University Professor, and 1890 Administrator for Cooperative Extension. Dr. Caples was the first woman in the history of the university to be name Interim President in 1995.
Dr. Caples has served as the lead facilitator for the University’s strategic planning and SACS accreditation efforts in 1984, 1994, 2004, and 2014 reaffirmation process. Additionally, she was one of the principal individuals involved in the Knight, Sims, et al v. State of Alabama Higher Education Desegregation Lawsuit for Alabama A & M University. She has participated in training sessions and research in Germany, Australia, Tanzania and Sudan in eastern Africa, South Africa, and St. Kitts and Belize in the Caribbean.
Dr. Caples is actively involved in many professional organizations including: the American Association of Family and Consumer Sciences (AAFCS), where she has served as President and Chair of the Board of Directors, Vice-President for Professional Development and Chair of the council for Accreditation; Board on Human Sciences where she has served as President and Secretary; and National Association of State Universities and Land-Grant Colleges.
In addition, she has received numerous awards, and special recognitions for her work in Family and Consumer Sciences and the community including: a member of the first class of Leadership Alabama, as an American Home Economics Association Leader, Outstanding African-American in the Agricultural Sciences for the Museum of Science and Industry, selected as a Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS) accreditation Faculty Fellow for the Accreditation Quality Enhancement Institute.
Additional awards include the Iowa State University Alumni Leadership Award, AAFCS Distinguished Professional Service Award, Rosa Parks Women of Courage Award, 100 Black Men Mentor of the Year Award, University Professor and 1890 Administrator Emeritus of Family and Consumer Sciences. On March 16, 2016, Dr. Caples with honored with the official beginning of the endowment of The Virginia Caples Lifelong Learning Institute named in her honor. Dr. Caples was inducted into the Alcorn State University Alumni Hall of Fame on August 18, 2017.
Dr. Caples is actively involved in social and civic organizations including Huntsville Symphony Orchestra Board of Directors, Harris Home for Children Board of Directors, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Links, Inc., Girls Club, Inc. Board of Directors, and Huntsville Rotary Club.
Dr. Caples was married to Hundley Batts, Sr. resided in Huntsville, Alabama.
She died on February 19, 2018.