VCU’s ‘changemaker in residence’ launches campaign urging people working to alleviate poverty to promise to be ‘sidekicks’

Master of Product Innovation students in VCU’s da Vinci Center take part in the Sidekick Manifesto social media campaign.

While visiting Honduras a few years ago as part of his work running a global development nonprofit, Shawn Humphrey, Ph.D., (M.A.’96/B) snapped a photo of a woman carrying water on her head, thinking the image would be perfect for his organization’s website.

The woman got angry. And, Humphrey realized, she had every right to be.

“It’s kind of a development trope. You see images like this on almost every nonprofit’s website. But I had taken her picture without permission, and she was understandably upset,” he said. “It made me ashamed that I did that. I didn’t use the photo, but essentially I stole her image. And, if she hadn’t said anything, I would have used it as part of [our organization’s] narrative or posted it on our website to try to raise awareness and funds for our work in Honduras.”

The humbling process of realizing he acted unethically prompted Humphrey to write what he calls the Sidekick Manifesto, a promise to support — and not attempt to lead — the efforts to alleviate poverty in communities around the world.

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VCU School of Education alumna Greenlee Naughton named Virginia’s Region I Teacher of the Year

Greenlee (Lee) Naughton, Ph.D. (right), and Colleen Thoma, Ph.D., associate dean for academic affairs and graduate studies at the VCU School of Education, at the 2018 Virginia Teacher of the Year Ceremony at VMFA.

A career journey can be anything but linear. Myriad experiences affect the paths we

take before becoming what we were meant to be. Greenlee (Lee) Naughton (Ph.D.’16/E), who received her doctorate in educational leadership last year from the VCU School of Education, is no exception.

Both of Naughton’s parents were career educators. As a child, she remembers her mother coming home from school one day barefoot because a first-grader in her class had thrown up on her beloved alligator-skin pumps.

As Naughton grew up and considered different professions, she couldn’t get that image out of her head. If someone mentioned teaching, she would remember that day with her mother and say, “No way. I’m not going to do that.”

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Novelist David Baldacci and wife, Michelle, give $1.1M to VCU for scholarships, experiential learning

From left: David Baldacci; Michelle Baldacci; Montse Fuentes, Ph.D., dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences; and VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D.

Bestselling novelist and Virginia Commonwealth University alumnus David Baldacci (B.A.’83/H&S; H.L.D.’01) and his wife, Michelle, are making a $1.1 million gift to VCU’s College of Humanities and Sciences that will establish a scholarship for political science students and will create a fund to provide students with a variety of experiential learning opportunities.

“Our continuing partnership with VCU is incredibly meaningful to us both,” said David Baldacci. “The endowed fund and endowed scholarship will provide direct support to any university’s most important asset: its students. We look forward to helping VCU students in achieving their full potential as students and in their endeavors after graduation.”

VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D., said the Baldaccis’ gift is an invaluable contribution in support of VCU students’ education.

“Michelle and David’s support of the College of Humanities and Sciences beautifully illustrates their belief that our students are committed to contributing to the common good now and in the future,” Rao said. “Along with my colleagues, I look forward to watching our students learn, discover and flourish as a result of the Baldaccis’ endowed scholarship and fund.”

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Historical marker commemorating 1917 origin of VCU’s Monroe Park campus dedicated

A Virginia historical marker commemorating the founding of the Richmond School of Social Economy, later known as the Richmond School of Social Work and Public Health, in 1917, was dedicated outside of Founder’s Hall.

A state historical marker commemorating the origins of Virginia Commonwealth University’s Monroe Park Campus was unveiled Wednesday outside Founder’s Hall at a ceremony attended by state and university officials, alumni and community members.

The marker, issued by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources, marks the 1917 founding of the Richmond School of Social Work and Public Health, which later became the Richmond Professional Institute and ultimately merged with the Medical College of Virginia to create VCU.

The full text of the marker reads:

Richmond Professional Institute

A group of community leaders founded the Richmond School of Social Economy, later known as the Richmond School of Social Work and Public Health, in 1917. Initial instruction was in the fields of social work and nursing, but the curriculum soon expanded. In 1925 the school became the Richmond division of the College of William and Mary and moved to its permanent home here at 827 West Franklin Street. It adopted the name Richmond Professional Institute (RPI) in 1939. RPI separated from William and Mary in 1962 and operated as an independent state institution before merging with the Medical College of Virginia in 1968 to form Virginia Commonwealth University.

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‘Richmond Potluck’ benefits Puerto Rico hurricane victims

Steven Casanova’s exhibit, “The Richmond Cookbook,” at the Anderson.

A Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts alumnus has quickly turned his existing exhibition at the Anderson into a benefit for Puerto Rico, which was devastated by Hurricane Maria last month.

VCUarts will host Steven Casanova’s (B.F.A.’15/A) “Richmond Potluck” on Friday, Oct. 6, from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the Anderson, 907 1/2 W. Franklin St. Casanova is one of six recent alumni featured in the “Reach Out and Touch” exhibition, on view at the Anderson through Oct. 8.

Casanova’s work, “The Richmond Cookbook,” is a submission-based citywide cookbook showing the diversity in culture and background through Richmond, while contrasting living situations and food access throughout the city.

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Historical marker for ‘Richmond Professional Institute’ to be dedicated Wednesday

A state historical marker issued by the Virginia Department of Historic Resources that commemorates the origins of today’s Virginia Commonwealth University Monroe Park Campus will be dedicated Wednesday.

The “Richmond Professional Institute” marker will recognize the 1917 founding of the Richmond School of Social Work and Public Health, which later became RPI and ultimately merged with the Medical College of Virginia to form VCU.

The dedication and unveiling ceremony for the marker is open to the public and will take place Wednesday, Oct. 4, at 11:15 a.m. at Founders Hall, located at 827 W. Franklin St. Paid parking — cash or credit card — is available in the VCU West Broad Street parking deck, adjacent to the campus Barnes and Noble.

Speakers during the ceremony will include VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D.; Tim Davey, Ph.D., interim dean of the VCU School of Social Work; Joe Lowenthal, chair of the Richmond Professional Institute Alumni Council; and Julie V. Langan, director of the Virginia Department of Historic Resources.

Guests will be invited to join a processional to the current location of the VCU School of Social Work at the Academic Learning Commons, where a reception honoring VCU School of Social Work emeriti faculty senate presidents will be held on the third floor lobby. A pedestrian path connects the two locations.

In 1917, the marker reads, “A group of community leaders founded the Richmond School of Social Economy, later known as the Richmond School of Social Work and Public Health.” Initially, the school focused on instruction in the fields of social work and nursing, “but the curriculum soon expanded,” according to the marker.

In 1925, the school relocated to its permanent home at 827 W. Franklin Street as the Richmond division of the College of William and Mary. In 1939, it was renamed the Richmond Professional Institute, and in 1962 it separated from William and Mary.

For most of the 1960s the school operated as an independent state institution “before merging with the Medical College of Virginia in 1968 to form Virginia Commonwealth University.”

The “Richmond Professional Institute” highway marker is sponsored by the VCU Foundation and was approved for manufacture and installation earlier this year by the Virginia Board of Historic Resources, which has authority to designate new historical markers. The VCU Foundation covered the manufacturing costs of the sign. The event is sponsored by the VCU School of Social Work, RPI Alumni Council, VCU Libraries and VCU Facilities Management.

Virginia’s historical highway marker program, which began in 1927 with the installation of the first historical markers along U.S. Route 1, is considered the oldest such program in the nation. Currently there are more than 2,500 official state markers, most maintained by the Virginia Department of Transportation, as well as by local partners in jurisdictions outside of VDOT’s authority such as the City of Richmond.

‘I bring this life with me wherever I go’ — an interview with author Katy Resch George

Katy Resch George.

When Katy Resch George (M.F.A.’12/H&S) was a creative writing student at Virginia Commonwealth University, she distinguished herself with both her vivid, honest storytelling and the generous, insightful feedback she offered her classmates. Now, Resch George, who earned an M.F.A. in creative writing from the Department of English, part of the College of Humanities and Sciences at VCU, has published her first book, “Exposure,” a collection of short stories from Kore Press that brings readers into the tense lives of an assortment of flawed, compelling characters so sharply drawn as to seem summoned from real life.

Allison Titus, a poet, novelist and fellow alumna of the VCU creative writing program, said, “The stories in ‘Exposure’ sear like light trails, glimmering and striking their lyrical, luminous pitch. Resch George’s characters are searchers, feeling through the darkness of their suburban lives to the edges that shape a deeper truth by which to reckon their experiences and their desires — always conscious of the pulse beneath the surface.”

Resch George answered questions from VCU News about her book and her experiences as a student at VCU.

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Thank a Donor Day gives students a chance to learn about the impact of private philanthropy at VCU

VCU will host two “thank a donor” events this fall — Sept. 27 on the Monroe Park Campus and Oct. 10 on the MCV Campus.

Two events this fall will give Virginia Commonwealth University students, faculty and staff the opportunity to show their gratitude for those who give their money, time, expertise or connections to improve the college experience.

Thank a Donor Day will be held Sept. 27, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., on the Monroe Park Campus Compass outside James Branch Cabell Library and Oct. 10, from 10:30 a.m. to 2 p.m., on the MCV Campus Compass outside the Larrick Student Center.

Participants who write notes, pose for a photo or record a video message expressing their thanks for donors’ contributions to the university will be offered free Starbucks coffee and Red Eye cookies. Rodney the Ram and the Ramifications, a VCU a capella group, will make appearances at the events.

Private donations at VCU from individuals and organizations fund student scholarships, faculty professorships, facilities improvements and provide program support.

Thank a Donor Day is organized by the VCU Office of Development and Alumni Relations to bring attention to, and educate students on, the impact of private philanthropy and to show donors how much their generosity means to students, faculty and staff.

“With Thank a Donor Day, we offer students an opportunity to say ‘thank you’ to those who have given so generously, so that donors hear from those whose lives they have affected with their generosity,” said Anne Hoffler, senior director of donor relations at VCU. “But while we celebrate donors, we also educate students about philanthropy. Many students have no idea that their beautiful new library renovation was supported by donors and their scholarships were created by people who want to make a difference in the lives of people they don’t even know.”

Notes, videos and photographs created at the events will be shared with donors personally and on social media at facebook.com/vcualumni and @vcualumni.

VCU Alumni’s 2017 Alumni Stars!

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Throughout the worlds of art, business, education, service and health care, VCU alumni reflect the brilliance of the university. Their knowledge and experience shine in all areas of human endeavor, illuminating problems, creating solutions and strengthening the quality of our lives.

VCU Alumni invites you to join us Nov. 3 at the Science Museum of Virginia for an inspirational program, cocktails and a seated three-course dinner as we honor the 2017 Alumni Stars.

VCU Alumni members can purchase individual tickets for $75 or a 10-seat table sponsorship for $750. Nonmember tickets are $100 or $1,000 per table. Sponsors are recognized in the printed program. RSVP by Oct. 25.

 

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Alumni chapters collect food for FeedMore at annual charity challenge

Alumni chapters from all universities in Virginia, as well as several out-of-state institutions, will collect canned goods Wednesday to support FeedMore, the Central Virginia Food Bank.

Virginia Commonwealth University alumni will bring their canned goods and school spirit to the fifth annual Alumni Charity Challenge Wednesday, Sept. 20, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., at Hardywood Park Craft Brewery.

Established in 2013 by VCU Alumni’s RVA GOLD Chapter, the Alumni Charity Challenge engages alumni chapters from all universities in Virginia, as well as several out-of-state institutions, to support FeedMore, the Central Virginia Food Bank, by collecting canned goods. The challenge, part of the annual Day to Serve, brings awareness to Hunger Action Month.

Thirty participating schools aim to collect 20,000 pounds of food, as alumni compete to donate the most canned goods and get their school’s name on a challenge trophy. VCU earned the trophy for the second consecutive year in 2016. The family-friendly event, sponsored by Nationwide and Virginia Credit Union, includes food trucks, giveaways and music from 103.7 Play.

“It is a great opportunity for alumni groups to come together to fight food insecurity in central Virginia,” said Joseph R. Stemmle, a School of Business alumnus, co-chair of the challenge and a member of the RVA GOLD Chapter’s executive board. “Each alumni chapter tries to collect as many cans as possible in three hours, which are then delivered to FeedMore the following day.”

During the past four years, the Alumni Charity Challenge has collected more than 16 tons of food that has benefited 200,000 children, families and seniors in 34 cities and counties across central Virginia.

“One in seven of our neighbors is struggling to put food on the table, and one in six children in our region aren’t receiving necessary nutrition,” said VCU alumnus Tim McDermott, chief development officer at FeedMore. “Events like this help raise awareness and allow us to reach folks who may not be familiar with FeedMore, our mission, our programs and our impact.”

In addition to donating canned foods, alumni can make make a monetary donation online to FeedMore. For every $1 donated, FeedMore can distribute five pounds of food. Online donations are accepted until 11:59 p.m. EST Sept. 20.

Learn more about the Alumni Charity Challenge at www.alumnicharity.org.