She said yes! With help from VCU Libraries’ screen, proposal became a really big ask

Osman Malik (B.S.’15/B) and Faria Ahmed (B.S.’15/H&S) celebrate their engagement on VCU’s Compass outside the James Branch Cabell Library. Photo by Jay Paul (B.G.S.’85/H&S; M.F.A.’93/A)

By Julie Young

His stomach was in knots, and he stumbled over the words he had so carefully rehearsed. But at 2:50 p.m. April 21, with an assist from James Branch Cabell Library’s 400-foot digital screen, Osman Malik (B.S.’15/B) pulled off a surprise proposal to his longtime girlfriend, Faria Ahmed (B.S.’15/H&S), on the Virginia Commonwealth University Compass.

The big ask incorporated more than 50 covertly invited friends and relatives, professional and amateur photographers, a shiny new ring — and the screen flashing their photo and the text, “Will you …”

She will, sometime in 2019.

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Giving artists’ voices a place to grow

Ashley Hawkins (B.F.A.’07/A; M.P.A.’13/GPA; Cert.’13/GPA) fell in love with printmaking as a student in the VCU School of the Arts. She wanted Richmond, Virginia, to be a place where an education in art was more accessible and where artists would develop and want to stay. She now runs Studio Two Three, a printmaking and private studio space where over 100 artists work and hundreds more visit and take classes.

VCU Alumni’s RVA GOLD Chapter receives Governor’s Volunteerism and Community Service Award

From left, RVA GOLD Chapter members Joseph Stemmle (B.S.’13/B), Timmy Nguyen (B.S.’11/B) and Khanh Burks (B.S.’13/B); Gov. Ralph Northam; and Allison Toney, associate director of outreach and engagement, Amy Beck, executive director of alumni outreach and engagement, and Josh Hiscock, associate vice president for alumni relations, from the VCU Office of Development and Alumni Relations (Photo courtesy Office of the Governor)

VCU Alumni’s RVA GOLD Chapter has been honored with the 2018 Governor’s Volunteerism and Community Service Award for Outstanding Education Organization.

VCU Alumni’s Richmond alumni chapter received the award April 10 from Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam for making volunteering a key priority in its initiatives, from leading the charge against hunger in Virginia and delivering hot meals to area veterans to taking Richmond students back-to-school shopping and writing cards for overseas military troops. The chapter represents more than 65,000 VCU alumni who live in the Richmond metro area. Continue reading

Changing the next generation of pharmacists

Lauren Caldas, Pharm.D., BCACP (Pharm.D.’11/P), honed her commitment to community service as a student in the VCU School of Pharmacy, when she developed a healthy-living program for diabetics at her church. After residency, she helped patients manage their medications and save money at a Kroger Marketplace pharmacy. She now shares her expertise at VCU as an assistant pharmacy professor and at CrossOver Healthcare Ministry as a clinical pharmacist to Central Virginia’s underserved and uninsured.

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.” Continue reading

Partners in practice: Pharm.D. grads mix skills to script successful careers

Diane and Tony Coniglio

By Julie Young

Diane Coniglio, Pharm.D. (Pharm.D.’87/P), and Tony Coniglio, Pharm.D. (Pharm.D.’86/P), met as undergraduate pharmacy students at the University of Rhode Island. They married in 1983 and moved to Richmond, Virginia, where VCU School of Pharmacy’s graduate program focused their careers, provide a lifelong network of colleagues and friends and cement their union as a married couple and business partners.

Tony entered the Pharm.D. program in 1984 and Diane in 1985. Through what Tony calls “quirky good fortune,” their years in Richmond were idyllic. Continue reading

VCU bids a fond farewell to a true ‘alumni star’

Diane Stout-Brown

Diane Stout-Brown counts the “Tableith” sculpture honoring RPI as a proud accomplishment of her tenure at the university.

By Julie Young

In 1988, Virginia Commonwealth University celebrated the 150th anniversary of its founding with an event known as Founders Day. The VCU Alumni Association subsequently started the Alumni Stars program to honor accomplished graduates during the annual celebration. Since 2008, the Alumni Stars ceremony has been a stand-alone biennial event, recognizing graduates from each VCU school who have a record of professional or humanitarian achievements.

Orchestrating the event throughout the years was an energetic VCU alumna, Diane Stout-Brown (B.S.W.’80/SW). To any colleague or graduate who worked alongside her, attended an event or met her in person, Stout-Brown was the real alumni star. Continue reading

Snap and share: Take Rodney with you

Rodney in ParisHere’s your chance to take Rodney the Ram with you! Snap a picture with Rodney wherever you go … on vacation, at work or at the grocery store. Then share it on Instagram or Twitter with #flatrodney. Don’t forget to wear your black-and-gold gear to show your school spirit.

Download Rodney, print and cut him out and take him with you today. We can’t wait to see all the places Rodney goes!