Small particles, big implications

By Anthony Langley (B.S.’16/MC)

Patricia Turpin (B.S.’17/H&S; B.S.’17/LS) credits her high school math teacher, Mr. Kaiser, for teaching her to appreciate the certainty that came with math and science.

“When I’d write an English essay, there was always room for answers to be partially correct,” she says. “But with math, there was always one true answer, and I really liked that.”

Turpin enrolled at Virginia Commonwealth University after high school, following a trend that began with her grandfather William H. Turpin. He served as director of VCU’s mass communications school, known today as the Richard T. Robertson School of Media and Culture, and as professor for 16 years. Her parents, Gregory (B.S.’87/GPA) and Cheryl (B.S.’88/E), also met and graduated from the university.

“Listening to my family’s stories about [VCU] definitely had an impact,” Turpin says. “I fell in love with campus and the feel of the city the moment I got here.”

Turpin took an interest in computer programming and immersed herself in classes that taught programming languages, quantitative analysis and statistical modeling.

“[Patricia] was an exceedingly bright student driven by a deep curiosity about how things worked” says Tarynn Witten, Ph.D., professor and director of research development in the Center for the Study of Biological Complexity at VCU Life Sciences . “She was also exceptionally ardent, and her work was always top of the line.”

In 2017, she graduated with two bachelor’s degrees, one in statistics and the other in bioinformatics, and soon after landed a laboratory technician position at the California Institute of Technology in the lab of Nobel laureate David Baltimore, president emeritus and the Robert Andrews Millikan Professor of Biology. There, she’s working alongside one of the lab’s postdoctoral fellows researching the link between the causes for retained introns and genetic disorders and cancers.

RNA, a nucleic acid present in all living cells, acts as a messenger to carry instructions from DNA for controlling the synthesis of proteins. RNA is composed of two types of sequences, introns and exons. While introns typically remain in the nucleus of a cell, exons are eventually turned into proteins. “Occasionally introns attach themselves to proteins and leave the nucleus, and there isn’t a commonsense answer as to why they do,” Turpin says. “We’re hoping to figure out why by suppressing certain genes that we think affect these retained introns” and then see if there is a link to genetic disorders and cancers.

After Turpin’s yearlong position at Caltech ends, she plans to start a doctoral program in bioinformatics, though she is still deciding on whether to pursue a career in academia or go into the professional industry.

“[VCU] gave me the confidence to say that I actually know things,” she says. “I’m not sure of my exact path just yet, but I know my time at the university has prepared me for anything.”

‘Fall Line’ bench in Cabell Library lobby evokes Richmond’s stretch of James River

“Fall Line,” a wood sculpture and functional bench, echoing the 7-mile stretch of the James River, was installed in James Branch Cabell Library over spring break.

A wood sculpture — and functional bench — that evokes the 7-mile section of the James River that runs through Richmond has been installed in the entranceway of Virginia Commonwealth University’s recently expanded James Branch Cabell Library.

The sculpture, titled “Fall Line,” was created by Heath Matysek-Snyder (B.F.A.’00/A), an assistant professor in the Department of Craft/Material Studies and lead professor of the wood area in the School of the Arts, who has been working on the piece in his Scott’s Addition studio for more than two years.

“My hope is that when people walk into Cabell Library, they’ll recognize it as the James River, which I find to be an amazing element of Richmond, a really amazing feature of the city,” Matysek-Snyder said. “This will be an object that greets you. It will be a place to meet. And it will be a feature that says goodbye as you walk back out.”

The 27-foot-long white oak bench mimics the contours of the James River from Pony Pasture to the 14th Street Bridge, with aluminum on top of the bench representing the outline of the river, including Belle Isle. The bench is broken into four sections, with each of the three negative spaces representing a different iconic Richmond bridge, also rendered in aluminum, and allowing pedestrians to walk through.

Read more.

Honors College revamps curriculum to emphasize collaboration and experiences, and to solve real problems facing Richmond

Instructor Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead (left) is teaching Humans of RVA and VCU this semester, a new course that will play a key role in the Honors College’s revamped curriculum in the fall.

As part of a new course in Virginia Commonwealth University’s Honors College, students are working in small, diverse groups to interview Richmond residents and post their stories and photos to social media, with an eye toward gaining a better understanding of the many facets of the community.

Inspired by Humans of New York, the new course, Humans of RVA and VCU, provides students with the opportunity to study the nature of community, as well as community engagement and their role in it, said instructor Ann Marie Gardinier Halstead (M.F.A.’03/A).

“My students are learning about RVA and its history. They’re learning about community, humanity and social justice, and also about themselves and each other,” Gardinier Halstead said. “They’re looking forward to interviewing RVA residents after spring break. I can’t say enough about our students. They’re bright and inquisitive and thoughtful and creative, and they’re change-makers, too.”

Humans of RVA and VCU, which is being piloted this semester, will be a key part of a newly revamped curriculum for the Honors College that will go into effect this fall.

Read more.

Capturing the wild: VCUarts alumnus finds inspiration in Africa

Caldwell on his first safari to Tanzania, Africa in 2012.

By Anthony Langley (B.S.’16/MC)

Wildlife artist Robert Caldwell (B.F.A.’00/A), owner of RL Caldwell Studio and Gallery, is known for his highly detailed, photorealistic paintings. His early works feature Northern American birds sprinkled with a few other types of animals he has observed on his travels around the country. In 2012, a trip to Africa sparked a new direction for his art, as if overnight elephants, zebra and monkeys appeared on his canvas. He has since returned to Africa three times, leading groups of professional artists as well as students from his Midlothian, Virginia, teaching studio on photo safaris. This Monday, he takes over the VCU Alumni Instagram account, as he makes his fourth trip to Africa.

What sparked your interest in art and wildlife?

I have always loved the outdoors and do whatever I can to get outside and see wildlife. Although I would much prefer to be in the African bush or on the side of a mountain in Colorado, I still search out and find small wildlife in any setting, even here in Richmond.

It was actually in college that I was sitting in the studio waiting for the professor to show up when I picked up a magazine called Wildlife Art and started flipping through its pages. It was that day that I was introduced to Robert Bateman and several other artists working in the wildlife art genre. I thought, “Wow, wouldn’t that be a great and rewarding career?” I did not set out from that point to be a wildlife artist, but the seed had been planted.

Why did you choose to attend VCU’s art school?

Actually VCU chose me. In high school, I went to National Portfolio Day, and VCUarts was one of the programs that reviewed my portfolio. As the then-assistant dean of the School of the Arts started looking at my work, she began asking questions like “Were you helped with these drawings?” and “Did you trace them?” and a few others that I thought were odd. Odd because, of course, I didn’t have help, they were my creations.

While I was packing up my work, she asked if I could come back at the end of the day. When my parents and I returned, she asked me if I wanted to come to VCU. I answered yes without much thought, and the next thing I knew she accepted me on the spot.

In addition to being an artist, you’re also a teacher. How did that transpire?

Eight years ago, I was approached to teach a drawing class at a small art studio in Midlothian. That’s when I realized I liked teaching. Within a year, I was teaching four classes a week, which grew to six classes six months later. The studio I was teaching at decided to downsize, and it was about the same time that I was entertaining the idea of opening my own studio/school.

In 2016, I opened the doors to the RL Caldwell Studio and Gallery, where I teach, on average, 70 students a week in six different classes. Two of my former students have joined the school as instructors, and we now have classes Monday through Thursday. I leave Fridays and the weekends open so that we can hold art shows for the students and bring in outside instructors for special workshops.

When did you first go to Africa and what prompted the trip?

I went to Tanzania for the first time in October 2012. A friend of mine, Jan Martin McGuire, who at that point had been to Africa 18 times, kept telling me about all the wildlife, the habitat and just the sheer beauty of Africa. One day, after about an hour of conversation, she invited me to join her and her husband on their next safari to Tanzania. I was fortunate enough to pay for the trip by doing presales of new work I would create from my safari adventure.

What keeps you going back?

It’s simply the most amazing place to see and experience wildlife on a grand scale. As a wildlife artist, it is really important to continually observe animals in their natural habitat so that you can accurately depict them in your paintings and drawings. I feel very fortunate that I can now share Africa with my collectors, students and friends who join me on safari on yearly trips.

What has been one of your favorite moments in Africa?

My entire trip in 2012 was a life-changing event. Within the first hour of driving into Tarangire National Park in Tanzania, I saw my first wild elephants, impala, zebra, wildebeests and even a cheetah! I immediately saw a difference in the animals’ behavior and muscle structure and knew that I would never draw or paint another zoo animal again.

Of course, the fact that I even traveled to Tanzania was life-changing. It takes two very long flights, one eight hours and the other 10. This is where I mention that I’m petrified of flying, the type of petrified where you break out in a cold sweat and freak out at every strange noise and bump. I had also never been out of the country and was traveling by myself. That trip, and every one to Africa since, has completely taken me out of my comfort zone but it is worth it.

What stamp do you want next on your passport?

There are a few places I’d like to travel, and Africa continues to be high on that list. I have two safaris already planned for 2019, one to Botswana and the other back to Kenya with an extension to Rwanda. The Botswana safari will be another life-changing event as you have to take small bush planes to get from camp to camp (did I mention I hate flying?). The Kenya safari will introduce me to several new parks, including the Maasai Mara, but it’s the Rwanda extension that I’m really looking forward to. There, we’ll be spending time with mountain gorillas. What an adventure that will be!

Up next, though, is a trip this fall to Rome and Florence, Italy. Not a wildlife trip, but an art tip that several of the students at my art school have asked me to plan and schedule. I, of course, will be taking my camera and looking for urban wildlife.

Making sure the beat goes on: Alumna and Fulbright scholar Hannah Standiford preserves traditional Indonesian music

Standiford speaking to a classroom of students while in Indonesia.

By Anthony Langley (B.S.’16/MC)

Hannah Standiford (B.M.’11/A) picked up her first guitar at 13. Music has played an integral role in her life ever since.

She studied classical guitar at Virginia Commonwealth University, graduating with a bachelor’s in music in 2011. Since then, she has performed as the frontwoman for a number of bands and has taught guitar and voice lessons with several music schools in the Richmond, Virginia, area.

“Through [teaching], I’m able to help other people access something that’s enriched my life so much,” Standiford says. “It gives me an incredibly fulfilling feeling.”

Shortly after graduating from VCU, she attended a performance by the University of Richmond’s Gamelan Raga Kusuma Balinese ensemble, which performs traditional Indonesian music using percussion instruments. This was her first exposure to the concept of community music, a form of music making that emphasizes collaboration among individuals who play, create, improvise and perform music together.

Standiford was hooked and wanted to explore community music further, so in 2014 she applied for and received a Darmasiswa scholarship, which supports foreign students wanting to study the language, arts and culture of Indonesia. She traveled to Solo, Java, where she began studying gamelan and the traditional string music style called keroncong.

When she returned to the States the following year, she started her own keroncong group, Rumput, which combines both Indonesian and American folk styles.

Wanting to continue to study keroncong at its source, she applied for a Fulbright scholarship through VCU’s National Scholarship Office. The Fulbright program is an international educational exchange program sponsored by the U.S. government that fosters international goodwill through the exchange of students and scholars in countries around the globe.

“It took me all summer to write the two-page proposal, but it was worth it,” she says. “I’m really grateful for the [National Scholarship Office] at VCU. Having somebody to help me through the steps and take me through a mock Fulbright panel was a huge help.”

Meredith Sisson, NSO assistant director, alongside NSO Director Jeff Wing, assisted Standiford through the application process.

“[We] work to help applicants make connections with alumni, faculty or other field experts that we think can help them think through their ideas,” Sisson says. “Hannah’s project builds on her previous experiences in Indonesia and on her studies of Appalachian folk music. If anyone can do this, it’s certainly her.”

Standiford was named a Fulbright Scholar and returned to Indonesia in early 2017. With her scholarship, she’s researching keroncong’s two unique styles, langgam jawa keroncong and stambul fajar, in different locations across the country.

“[Keroncong] is known as a music of nostalgia, past its halcyon days but still popular among music veterans,” she says. “Though it’s not widely practiced anymore, there are still communities where [keroncong] is evolving alongside the younger generation who want to keep the style alive.”

She’s currently living on the island of Medanau in Belitong, Indonesia, documenting the stambul fajar through recordings, writing and interviews with the island’s only veteran of the music, Achmadi, and another local, Jabing, who recently received funding from the local government to preserve the music as well.

“[Stambul fajar] music is extremely endangered,” Standiford says. “What we’re hoping to do is preserve a facet of human expression that is specific to the people on this island and nowhere else in the world.”

Once she completes her studies in Indonesia, Standiford plans to publish a paper on keroncong and its recent revival, with the hopes of making the music accessible to a wider audience by combining aspects of it with American folk music. She’s already planned a tour, starting in July, with Rumput to perform in both Indonesia and the U.S.

“[Rumput] relies on the idea of community music making just like keroncong,” Standiford says. “We’re all indispensable, and there’s no lead player. We just want to create the best musical experience possible.”

Scholarship assistance for alumni

More than 50 VCU students and alumni have earned Fulbright awards since the VCU National Scholarship Office was created in 2005. The office offers a range of services to VCU alumni interested in applying for competitive national and international scholarships and fellowships, including the Fulbright scholarship. Learn more.

Want to learn about the Fulbright application process? Register for one of the NSO’s informational webinars on March 6 or March 7.



Virus detective: VCU alumnus stands at the forefront of flu research

Emergency hospital during 1918 influenza epidemic, Camp Funston, Kansas
Courtesy of the National Museum of Health and Medicine, Armed Forces Institute of Pathology, Washington, D.C., Image NCP 1603

By Julie Young

A pioneering virologist with medical and doctoral degrees from the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine has unlocked secrets to a deadly flu virus through plots and twists befitting an Indiana Jones movie.

Jeffery Taubenberger, M.D., Ph.D.

As a med student in the mid-1980s, Jeffery Taubenberger, M.D., Ph.D. (M.D.’86/M; Ph.D.’87/M) couldn’t have imagined that his chief interest, basic immunology, would catapult him into scientific stardom.

The 1918 Spanish flu epidemic that killed more than 40 million people worldwide was barely a blip in his medical education but turned into a hobby and eventually his life work. Today, Taubenberger serves as deputy chief of the laboratory of infectious diseases at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases. He’ll be at VCU Monday, Feb. 19, for a special VCU Libraries lecture, “On the Centenary of the 1918 Flu: Remembering the Past and Planning for the Future.”

The flu pandemic that fascinated Taubenberger led him to crack the 1918 strain’s genetic code and discover why it was so deadly. Mapping the genome unlocked the secret to pathogens responsible for the Spanish virus and revealed key behaviors of strains such as this year’s widespread flu.

After graduation in 1987, Taubenberger completed a pathology residency and worked as a staff pathologist at the National Cancer Institute. In 1993, he joined the Armed Forces Institute of Pathology in Rockville, Maryland.

“I set up a new group to use what, at that time in the early ’90s, was really kind of very cutting-edge, ‘Star Trek’-type medicine,” Taubenberger says. The strategy was to use molecular biology tools and new information about DNA mutations to diagnose diseases. “Traditionally, you make a diagnosis by looking at tissues under the microscope,” he says.

Taubenberger and his team worked in a Washington, D.C., building that housed the largest archive of pathology material in the world, which sparked his memory of that passing reference at VCU to the 1918 flu. “I was thinking that if we could find material from people who died of the 1918 flu, perhaps we could apply molecular biology tools to learn something about this huge, really virulent influenza virus,” he says.

After years of painstaking research, the team identified one positive flu case from a soldier who died in South Carolina in 1918. “We had a little tiny bit of lung tissue from that soldier’s autopsy, about the size of a fingernail,” Taubenberger says. It was enough to generate a partial sequence of the virus. The breakthrough was reported in 1997 in the journal Science.

Across the country in San Francisco, a freewheeling adventurer and retired pathologist named Johan Hultin read the Science article and wrote to Taubenberger. Hultin had traveled to Alaska’s Seaward Peninsula twice in the 1950s to extract DNA from flu victims under the permafrost in the village of Brevig Mission. He had tried unsuccessfully to culture the virus.

Hultin told Taubenberger that he could unearth larger samples of the virus. Using $3,200 of his savings, Hultin returned to the Seward Peninsula, where he exhumed and autopsied a flu victim nicknamed “Lucy.” He shipped her lung tissue to Taubenberger’s lab. The material tested positive for the virus.

Taubenberger used Lucy’s tissue and fragments from autopsies of other victims worldwide to sequence the entire genome of the virus. Using molecular biology techniques, a multi-institutional project was able to produce infectious copies of the deadly virus by 2005. Virologists hailed it as a lifesaving discovery, the largest-ever breakthrough in flu research.

“We’ve learned a lot,” Taubenberger says. “The concern that I have is that something like this could happen again. We would hope, obviously, that it never would, but we are concerned; therefore, what could we do to try to prevent that?”

Vaccination is the answer, he adds. But flu shots have proven to be only partially effective because “influenza is never standing still,” Taubenberger says. That’s what makes flu such a frustrating public health challenge.

“The reason the vaccine has to be remade every year is to try to keep up with this really rapid mutation of the virus,” he says. “It would be bad enough if it were just a human virus, but influenza viruses are present in hundreds of species of animals, including wild birds, domestic birds, pigs … and they have the ability to jump from one species to another.”

In recent years, his lab has pushed to develop a universal flu vaccine that would protect against all strains.

“This is a pretty tall order, but our hope is to develop a vaccine that would prevent the serious complications of influenza so that if you were exposed to a virus like 1918, perhaps you would feel ill for a couple of days but you would not develop pneumonia or need to be hospitalized. That’s the goal we would like to pursue,” Taubenberger says. “And having worked on the 1918 virus has really given us insights into how we could perhaps do that. We hope to have some of our initial candidate vaccines in clinical trials by next year, so we’re excited about that.”

Sanger Series: Going Viral with Jeffery Taubenberger, M.D., Ph.D.
“On the Centenary of the 1918 Flu: Remembering the Past and Planning for the Future”

Monday, Feb. 19
5-7 p.m.
Hermes A. Kontos Medical Sciences Building Auditorium, 1217 E. Marshall St.
Reception to follow

The lecture is free and open to the public, but registration is required.

Grace Harris, a transformative figure in VCU’s history, dies at 84

Grace E. Harris, Ph.D.

Grace E. Harris, Ph.D. (M.S.W.’60/SW), whose leadership helped shape Virginia Commonwealth University during a pioneering 48-year career at the university, died on Monday at the age of 84.

Harris joined the social work faculty at Richmond Professional Institute in 1967, a year before the school merged with the Medical College of Virginia to form VCU, and she would prove to be an integral part of the university’s foundation and growth in the ensuing decades. Over the course of her career, Harris would rise to the position of provost and vice president for academic affairs at VCU, becoming the first African-American woman to serve as the chief academic officer at a four-year public university in Virginia.

“Throughout our 180-year history, a handful of people have been so vital to the story of Virginia Commonwealth University that their names are forever linked with ours,” said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D. “One of those people was Grace Harris. She was a giant in legacy and in character, a woman whose contributions to VCU and to the countless lives we touch are truly immeasurable. She helped us become one of the nation’s premier urban public research universities and, maybe more than anyone, personified our commitment to serve the public good.

“Dr. Harris lived as her name implied, with the utmost grace, even in the face of personal and professional indignities. May we all dedicate ourselves to living, working, and caring in the same profoundly meaningful ways that Grace did: with compassion, character, and — always — with grace.”

When Harris was first hired at RPI, she was one of the three African-American faculty members hired that year – the first black faculty members in the school’s history. Harris was named dean of the School of Social Work in 1982 and was later promoted to vice provost for continuing studies and public service. She served as provost and vice president for academic affairs from 1993 to 1999, while also assuming the role of acting president in 1995 and 1998.

Read more.

Brittany Jones combines two loves: history and teaching

Brittany Jones teaches World History I and Government at John Marshall High School.

When she was a student in Richmond Public Schools, Brittany Jones (M.A.’14/H&S; M.T.’16/E) assumed that all of her classmates had parents who made them do their homework. Her parents sure did. Both were teachers who placed a high value on education.

Jones herself was a history buff. As a child, she dreamed of being a history professor, so it’s no surprise that she majored in history as an undergraduate student at Longwood University. She loved it so much that she decided to pursue her master’s degree in American and African-American history at Virginia Commonwealth University.

To make ends meet, she got a job at a local school, tutoring students in history.

“That’s when I realized how much I enjoy working with kids,” she recalled. “I got more and more interested in becoming a teacher, in having my own classroom and having my own set of kids.”

Read more.

Alumnus says VCU’s diversity gave him the tools to succeed

By Anthony Langley (B.S.’16/MC)

Those in the Hampton Roads, Virginia, area may recognize Brian Hill (B.S.’12/MC) from his work as a multimedia journalist on local CBS affiliate, WTKR News 3. The VCU Richard T. Robertson School for Media and Culture alumnus takes over the VCU Alumni Instagram account this Monday, bringing us along with him as he reports on the stories that matter to the community around him.

Why did you choose to attend VCU?

I grew up in a small town in Sussex County, Virginia, and wanted to experience a bigger area. Richmond was scary to navigate at first, but I grew to love it! VCU has a great journalism program and resources that helped me advance after college. It’s also a melting pot with a lot of diversity, which opened my eyes to new people and experiences.

What are some of your favorite memories from your time as a student?

I really enjoyed my broadcasting classes. Taking part in VCU InSight was stressful, but very informative and helped me get ready for the real world. Getting to be around such a diverse group of people was definitely a highlight as well. I met so many people from different backgrounds, which I believe helped me in my field as I meet a wide array of people from all walks of life every day.

What got you interested in journalism?

I’ve always had an interest in various aspects of radio, film and television. I found journalism was a great way to tell stories, meet eclectic people daily and help to keep people informed about what’s going on in their community and why it’s important for them to know what’s happening around them.

How has VCU tied into your career path?

I think the university played a key role in my career path. VCU InSight was my first time ever in front of a camera or reading a teleprompter, and I was horrible! The diversity at VCU helped me be able to fit into any group; that’s a vital skill to have working in television because you deal with everyone from politicians to families in mourning to everyday people.

What’s been your favorite or the most memorable story you’ve worked on?

You know, I’m asked this question often. I think one of my favorites to write and shoot was about Norfolk’s very own superhero, Black Widow. We usually cover stories that are very serious like fires and homicides, so I enjoyed working on this because it was a lighthearted, fun story that allowed me to be more creative. It also made it on WorldStarHipHop!

Catch all the A-10 action in D.C.

Mark your calendars for March 7-11 as the VCU Rams travel north to Washington, D.C., for the 2018 A-10 Men’s Basketball Tournament.

Join VCU Alumni and the VCU community for a host of exciting tournament activities! Need help getting around D.C.? Plan your Metro trip online.

Total Internship Management Workshop

VCU Career Services presents the Total Internship Management Workshop with Mason Gates, founder and chief careers officer with This workshop will prepare organizations of all sizes to build successful internship programs from scratch. Participants will leave the event with a new-found approach to internship development, implementation and management. Learn more.

When: 8:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. Tuesday, March 6
Where: Renaissance Hotel, 999 Ninth St. NW, Washington, DC 2000

Learn more and register online. Questions? Email Danielle Pearles, associate director of employer and experiential development, VCU Career Services.

Alumni reception

VCU Alumni hosts a cocktail reception for all alumni and Ram fans.

When: 7-9 p.m. Wednesday, March 7
Where: Ronald Reagan International Trade Center, Amphitheater Foyer, 1300 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Washington, DC 20004. The trade center is a 5-minute walk from the Federal Triangle Metro stop on the Blue, Orange and Silver Metro lines. It can also be accessed via the Metro Center Station stop on the Red line.
Dress: Business casual

Registration is closed for this event.

A-10 kickoff social

Join VCU Alumni’s RVA GOLD, DMV GOLD and NYC chapters for a tournament pregame kickoff. All VCU alumni, family and friends are invited. There will be special giveaways for Rowdy Ram fans.

When: 10 a.m. Thursday, March 8
Where: Lucky Strike, 701 Seventh St. NW, Washington, DC 20001. If you’re coming by Metro, get off at the Gallery Place-Chinatown stop or park in the Gallery Place Parking Garage. Lucky Strike is located on the second floor of Gallery Place. Walk down the alleyway next to Clyde’s to access the lobby.  
Cost: Free. Food and beverages available for purchase.
RSVP: On Facebook

Questions? Email RVA GOLD Chapter leader Timmy Nguyen (B.S.’11/B).

Pregame socials

Meet at Penn Social before every VCU game to rally with Ram fans.

When: Before every VCU game
Where: Penn Social, 801 E St. NW, Washington, DC 20004. Penn Social is a three-minute walk from the Gallery Place-Chinatown Metro Station (Green or Red line) and an 8-minute walk from Metro Center Station (Blue, Orange or Green line).

Folger Shakespeare Library tour

Join VCU Libraries for a special tour of the Folger Shakespeare Library. Check out collections from comic books to Shakespeare holdings. Space is limited so register early.

When: 10 a.m. Friday, March 9
Where: Folger Shakespeare Library, 201 E. Capitol St., SE Washington, DC 20003. The library is an 8-minute walk from the Capitol South Metro Station (Blue, Orange or Silver line).

To register or for questions, email Kelly Gotschalk (B.F.A.’90/A; M.A.’97/A), director of development and major gifts, VCU Libraries.

ICA museum tours

Join the Institute for Contemporary Art at VCU for guided tours of two D.C. museums.

The Phillips Collection
When: 10 a.m. Friday, March 9

Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden
When: 10 a.m. Saturday, March 10

To register, email Rachel Southard (M.B.A.’17/B), donor relations associate for the ICA, or call (804) 827-0563.

Greek Alumni Network lecture

Join VCU Alumni’s Greek Alumni Network for “Better Connections: Insights on Connecting With Today’s Recent Greek Alumni.” Guest speaker Amy Riccardi is a human capital and business strategist, an author, a CEO adviser, an employee engagement specialist and an entrepreneur. She is a frequent guest lecturer at both Georgetown and George Washington universities on change management issues and a frequent speaker on the workplace of the future and girl’s/women’s leadership issues. If you have a specific question or topic you would like Riccardi to address, email it to network President Kevin Taylor (B.F.A.’88/A).

When: 10-11:30 a.m. Saturday, March 10 (doors open at 9:30 a.m.)
Where: George Washington University, Marvin Center
Cost: $10, includes a light breakfast
Register: RSVP by noon Friday, March 9

For questions, email Larry Powell (B.S.’85/H&S), assistant director of alumni outreach and engagement.

VCU Alumni pep rally

Join the VCU Peppas and VCU Alumni on the National Mall for a rousing pep rally.

When: Saturday March 10 (time determined by game time)
Where: National Mall on the corner of Madison Street and Seventh Avenue (in front of the National Air and Space Museum and the National Gallery of Art). The event is a 10-minute walk from the National Archives-Penn Quarter Station or L’Enfant Plaza (Green or Yellow line) and from the L’Enfant Plaza or Smithsonian station (Blue, Orange or Silver lines).

Questions? Email Lauren Leavy, VCU Alumni’s senior coordinator of alumni engagement events.