FAQ: Membership program change

VCU Alumni has discontinued its membership model as of Dec. 31, 2017, and now welcomes all graduates. Our goal is to be more inclusive by offering programs and services for all alumni of Virginia Commonwealth University, the Medical College of Virginia and Richmond Professional Institute.

Why is VCU Alumni eliminating its membership dues program?
In the past year, the VCU Alumni Board of Governors and the MCV Alumni Association Board of Trustees have been at a crossroads. The boards, along with alumni, staff and VCU leadership, spent a great deal of time discussing the organizations’ direction. In November 2017, the boards voted to eliminate paid dues as a requirement of membership. This decision follows national trends and best practices among universities. We believe a new association model that welcomes ALL graduates as members helps to create and sustain lifelong relationships for all alumni and, ultimately, strengthen our organizations. Every graduate of Virginia Commonwealth University, the Medical College of Virginia and Richmond Professional Institute is part of VCU Alumni, regardless of dues or gifts. Alumni can engage and give back how they want, when they want and at what level they want.

When does this change take place?
The change is effective Jan. 1, 2018.

How does this change benefit alumni?
The new model enhances engagement by removing the barriers to participation that come along with the member/nonmember distinction. This transition allows VCU Alumni to open all programs and events to all alumni. Staff will work to deepen graduates’ relationships with their alma mater by providing increased engagement opportunities. For example, new chapters can be formed without a minimum percentage of dues-paying members.

Will alumni have to “opt in” when their current membership expires?
No, current members do not have to take any action. To receive the most up-to-date information on news and programs from VCU Alumni, please update your contact information.

How does this change affect Life members?
A new society will recognize Life members’ steadfast commitment to their alma mater. You’ll hear more about the society in coming months, but rest assured, the benefits and access Life members enjoyed will remain.

How does this change affect annual members?
First, you won’t ever need to make a dues payment again! Second, your benefits remain intact for the remainder of your membership. Moving forward, benefits and services provided by your alumni organization will be open to all graduates.

When will benefits be open to all alumni?
At this time, current Annual members and Life members have access to member-only benefits. In the coming months, we will open benefits to the greater VCU Alumni community. In the meantime, please check out benefits available to all alumni.

How will VCU Alumni fund programming without membership fees?
We will supplement with support from the university and will acquire sponsorships for events and programs.

Who should I contact with questions about the change?
Please call (804) 828-2586 or or email alumni@vcu.edu for more information.

President’s message: An education Leonardo Da Vinci would have loved

Class of 2021

The fall semester at VCU has brought more than 8,000 new students into our Ram Family, one of our largest incoming classes. I expect it will also be one of our most engaged.

Beginning this fall, every student at VCU will complete an experiential learning requirement as part of their undergraduate curriculum, moving what they learn in the classroom and discover in their labs and clinics into the community to heighten their learning and to help those who need them. The REAL experience, short for Relevant Experiential and Applied Learning, will become a trademark for student life and education at VCU and further boosts our commitment to the city of which we are a part.

VCU’s founding mission, as chartered by the Wayne Commission, states specifically that the university should address the needs of our urban community through education, research, service and clinical care. Indeed, in the 50 years since our founding, our urban region has become our focus, and we have strived to be a resource that helps move Greater Richmond forward more equally for all. In fact, our distinctiveness as a university lies in our historic link of professional education and medical practice with the liberal arts and sciences, all seamlessly integrated into the fabric of our community. And so we commit to educational excellence and access through innovative, engaging and real-world learning experiences that positively affect communities in Virginia and beyond.

My vision is that, as a leading national urban public research university, VCU and its academic health science center will be distinguished by the integrated strength of our innovative and engaged learning, collaborative research and exceptional patient care, guided by our commitment to making a difference in the community.

In fulfilling this mission, some of the most important things we can do are to ensure that we have the resources to succeed and to be certain that those resources align with our priorities. To that end, I am pleased that our Make It Real Campaign for VCU is on track to meet or exceed its $750 million goal by June 30, 2020. We have already crossed the $500 million mark, and last year we received more than 30,000 gifts for the first time. That included a record 11,705 gifts from alumni, thanks to the continuing efforts of our annual giving program.

While, thanks to donors like you, we are ahead of the trend line for our campaign, we recognize that there is still a long way to go. I am pleased we have a new leader who will help us complete that work. Later this month, Jay Davenport will begin as vice president for Development and Alumni Relations, joining VCU from Wake Forest University. His appointment follows a national search in which he stood out as an experienced development professional with the vision and drive to elevate further the success of our development and alumni relations efforts. I am excited to work with him to deepen our connections with our alumni and friends like you.

Of course, all we do is possible only because we have friends like you, who care deeply and support us fully. Thank you for your continuing commitment to VCU. Thank you for helping us make it real.

Sincerely,

Michael Rao
President
Virginia Commonwealth University and VCU Health

James Curtis Hall, VCU School of Business’ first dean, passes away at 91

James Curtis Hall spent 26 years as the founding dean of the VCU School of Business, growing enrollment at the school from 400 to more than 4,500 students.

For those who knew him, the most enduring professional legacy of James Curtis Hall, who passed away this week at age 91, is the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Business.

In 1967, Hall became the school’s first-ever dean when the Medical College of Virginia and the Richmond Professional Institute merged to form VCU. He spent 26 years in the role, before retiring to return to teaching. During his tenure, the school’s enrollment grew from 400 to more than 4,500.

“Dr. Curtis Hall made a major impact on VCU and Richmond by serving as founding dean of the VCU School of Business, leading the school for 26 years, and establishing the comprehensive, doctoral-granting, accredited institution that we are today,” said Kenneth B. Kahn, Ph.D., interim dean of the School of Business. “His record of scholarship, teaching and leadership is exemplary. We mourn his loss and strive to carry on his legacy.”

Read more.

Warren Brandt, VCU’s president in a time of transition and turmoil, dies at 93

Warren Brandt. Image courtesy of Special Collections and Archives, VCU Libraries.

Warren Brandt, the first president of Virginia Commonwealth University, died this week at the age of 93. Brandt served as university president from June 1969 through October 1974 after Richmond Professional Institute and the Medical College of Virginia merged to form VCU. He presided over a period of rapid growth and steep operational challenges associated with the charge to unite two distinct institutions with their own administrations, facilities, processes and traditions.

Eugene Trani, Ph.D., who served as president of VCU from 1990 to 2009, said at the 2005 dedication of Brandt Hall, a 17-story dormitory named to honor Brandt’s critical role in the history of the university, that Brandt deftly managed the difficult transition.

“As with any change of that magnitude, there were many pressing issues to handle, from setting up a new governance system to addressing budgetary issues to dealing with faculty concerns — including considerable resistance to the merger on the part of some faculty,” said Trani, now a president emeritus and university distinguished professor. “Dr. Brandt skillfully combined his knowledge and abilities as a researcher, professor and administrator to successfully lead Virginia Commonwealth University as its first president from 1969 to 1974. He set the stage and created a strong foundation for the tremendous growth that we have experienced since his time here.”

Read more.

Wilder: class notes

7348f7ba-c93a-471d-b061-29eed6c19fa5

  • Monique Johnson (Ph.D.’14/GPA), vice president and senior loan officer at Virginia Community Capital, has been selected for a prestigious Marshall Memorial Fellowship by the German Marshall Memorial Fund. The program educates emerging American and European leaders on the importance of transatlantic relations and encourages them to collaborate on a wide range of international and domestic policy challenges. Fellows engage in six months of preparation designed to enhance their understanding of transatlantic relations before embarking on 24 days of policy immersion across the Atlantic. Johnson, who completed her dissertation on the impact of low-income tax credits on concentrations of poverty last spring, will examine the role of social finance in supporting housing and community and economic development in Western Europe.
  • Seven alumni — Alex Beatty (M.U.R.P.’14/GPA; Cert.’14/GPA), Kaila McClead (M.U.R.P.’14/GPA), Ken Shannon (M.U.R.P.’14/GPA; Cert.’14/GPA), Naomi Siodmok (M.U.R.P.’14/GPA; Cert.’14/GPA), Josh Son (M.U.R.P.’14/GPA), Geoff Urda (B.S.’12/GPA; M.U.R.P.’14/GPA) and Shawn Winter (M.U.R.P.’14/GPA; Cert.’14/GPA) — each 2014 graduates of the Wilder School’s master in urban and regional planning program presented at the 2014 Governor’s Transportation Conference held in Roanoke, Virginia, on Nov. 14. The recent grads each presented a condensed version of a professional plan designed to solve a real-world planning, public policy or management problem. The plans were developed as part of a capstone project course led by planning instructor Jim Smither, PLA, ASLA. The presentations covered a range of solutions for communities located primarily within Central Virginia — from rapid transit to mixed-use design and historic redevelopment — and were viewed by more than 800 transportation leaders from around the commonwealth and the U.S.

Charting a healthy course for bikers, spectators

The wheels are racing in Robin Manke’s mind, making sleep difficult. With 1,000 cyclists headed to Richmond next week for the UCI Road World Championships, Manke, director of emergency management and telecommunications at VCU Health, is charged with coordinating everything from first-aid tents to patient transport to medical provisions.

“I wake up drawing incident command structures in my mind,” she says. “But I feel very comfortable. I think we have it.”

Those complicated logistics are designed to ensure that racers and an estimated 450,000 spectators have immediate access to medical treatment. The matrix includes a mass casualty plan and traffic flow diagrams that designate the quickest routes to the medical center. It addresses parking issues and the feeding of health care workers. No area of operations is untouched.

Robin Manke speaks at the May 2015 Rao R. Ivatury Trauma Symposium.

The medical team was lucky to have had a dress rehearsal in May 2014: the CapTech USA Cycling Collegiate Road National Championship. The dry run featured 400 athletes, about 50 of whom were treated for various bumps and bruises. The event convinced the staff to downgrade their catastrophic thinking for the Worlds and focus more on road rash and shoulder separations. It also pinpointed where services might be needed most along the route — high-crash areas such as the Libby Hill cobblestone climb.

“It showed us how important little things are, things you don’t really think about,” Manke says.

About 167 staff members from VCU Health, the exclusive medical sponsor for the event, will be working in tents, fan zones, congested spectator areas, anti-doping sites and vehicles that ride alongside the bikers at a brisk 50-mph clip. There also will be medical staff at the Greater Richmond Convention Center and at the starting lines at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, Kings Dominion and the University of Richmond.

The exposure will be invaluable for VCU Health. The experience should be enjoyable for the staff.

“I’m encouraging people to go out on their lunch break and watch,” Manke says. “People will get to see it who don’t even know what a peloton is.”

Want to learn more about VCU’s involvement in the bike race? Watch to see how the university geared up to welcome the world.

 

Red Eye Cookie Co. delivers late-night sugar rush

Brayden Pleasants (B.S.’13/B) craved sweets during his late-night study sessions as an undergraduate at Virginia Commonwealth University. But unless he had a candy bar or stash of cookies tucked away, he couldn’t get his sugar fix. Pleasants, a business major, recognized a potential market and, in March 2014, opened the late-night cookie delivery service Red Eye Cookie Co. to satisfy the sweet-tooth cravings of other night owls in Richmond.

Red Eye shares space with Sally Bell’s kitchen, just north of VCU’s campus. To create a buzz and future fan base before opening, Pleasants and his team handed out cookie samples at VCU’s James Cabell Branch Library, passed out business cards on campus and in bars, and cultivated a strong social media presence. Red Eye quickly garnered 4,000 likes on Facebook before it even sold its first cookie. That online following doubled within a few months.

“From the beginning, the concept had a lot of excitement about it. We said ‘late-night cookie delivery’ and people’s ears kind of perked up,” Pleasants says.

Red Eye continues to find innovative ways to market its made-from-scratch cookies, including cross-promotions with local restaurants through giveaways on Facebook. The tactics are working as the company has catered all kinds of events from weddings to corporate outings (including a donation of several hundred cookies baked for VCU’s resident assistants as they moved back onto campus this month), and their goodies can be found in local grocers such as Union Market, Urban Farmhouse and Harvest Grocery & Supply.

Continue reading

Pharmacy alumni, friends invited to play golf for scholarships

Pharm GolfThe Third Annual Yanchick Invitational Golf Tournament will begin with a 9:30 a.m. tee time Oct. 22 at The Club at Viniterra, 8400 Old Church Road in New Kent. Sponsored by VCU School of Pharmacy’s Inter-Fraternity Council, the tournament is a special fundraiser to provide scholarship support for pharmacy students.

The fee – which includes 18 holes of golf, carts, snacks, beverages, an awards lunch and door prizes — is $95 for alumni and friends and $55 for students. The opportunity to win bragging rights in competition with old friends and classmates? Priceless!

Register now or direct questions to Jasmine Davis (M.S.’10/H&S), development specialist, at (804) 828-4247.

Pharmacy’s Marcia Buck named president-elect of ACCP

Pharm BuckVCU School of Pharmacy affiliate clinical professor Marcia L. Buck has been named president-elect of the American College of Clinical Pharmacy. She will assume the office during the 2015 ACCP Global Conference on Clinical Pharmacy in October. Buck is clinical coordinator for the Pediatric Pharmacy Service at University of Virginia as well as program director for the PGY2 Pediatric Pharmacy Residency Program. She has been named an outstanding preceptor by VCU School of Pharmacy and the U.Va. Pharmacy Residency Program.