Take VCU’s all-alumni survey

VCU has contracted the Southeastern Institute of Research to administer the first rigorous all-alumni survey since 2009. The research project will assess alumni engagement and support for VCU; identify barriers to and opportunities for increasing alumni engagement with VCU; develop a topline alumni engagement strategy; and develop the components of a strategic messaging architecture.

All alumni for whom VCU has a valid email address should receive an email the week of Oct. 23 with a link to access the survey. We want to hear from all alumni — from every major, class, department and experience — even if you haven’t connected with VCU in a while. The survey’s results will be most meaningful with participation by alumni from every generation and each of VCU’s schools.

Your responses to the survey are confidential. SIR will aggregate and analyze survey responses and will provide a summary report of findings. Your name and personally identifying information will not be associated with your responses in any reporting shared with the university.

Please consider contributing to the future of VCU Alumni. Your opinion is important to the development of future alumni programs and communications from both your university and alumni organization. The results will be available on the VCU Alumni website after completion.

VCU Alumni recognizes alumni business owners

VCU Alumni is celebrating alumni entrepreneurs this month and offering them a free decal to show their Ram pride.

“VCU Alumni is proud of all of its alumni entrepreneurs,” said Amy Gray Beck, executive director of alumni outreach and engagement for VCU Alumni. “As successful business owners, our alumni embody the entrepreneurial spirit that lives at VCU, and they make a difference in their communities.”

Alumni who own a business can complete this online form by July 20 to receive the decal (while supplies last). They’ll also receive a digital decal to post on their website or social media. If they take a picture of the decal at their business and post it on Twitter or Instagram with the hashtag “#VCUAlumni,” VCU Alumni will share it with its followers on social media.

What’s your legacy?

Students share the importance of being involved while on campus and staying involved after graduation

The legacies we leave tell the stories of the lives we touch. Through their thoughtful commitment to their alma mater and VCU Alumni, thousands of alumni members are creating a meaningful legacy, making a lasting impression on students’ lives.

VCU Alumni spoke to several students whose VCU experience has been enhanced by alumni involvement. Their stories show how members set an example for future alumni involvement and enable our students to pursue their dreams. Continue reading

Playing for keeps: D.C. United player Andrew Dykstra keeps his eye on the goal

Feb 17, 2016; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; D.C. United goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra (50) during the second half against the Philadelphia Union at Al Lang Stadium. Philadelphia Union and D.C. United ended in a 1-1 tie. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

D.C. United goalkeeper Andrew Dykstra plays during the second half against the Philadelphia Union at Al Lang Stadium. Philadelphia Union and D.C. United ended the Feb. 17, 2016, match in a 1-1 tie. Photo: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

By Anthony Langley

Andrew Dykstra (B.S.’08/H&S; M.S.’10/E) found his passion for sports early on as a 4-year-old constantly running outside to play.

“I started soccer very early, wrestled in middle and high school, swam and even played football,” he says.­­

As Dykstra entered his senior year of high school at Osbourn Park High School in Woodbridge, Virginia, he contemplated playing college football but instead returned to the sport he loved the most, soccer. He strategically weighed his college options based on which school was most in need of his position, goalkeeper, and could provide the most financial support. In the end, his decision to attend Virginia Commonwealth University came down to the opportunities he would have off the field. Continue reading

Sharing a common wealth: The AAAC Mentoring Circle connects students to mentors

Students and alumni mingle during the Mentoring Circle's Mocktail event.

Students and alumni mingle during the Mentoring Circle’s Mocktail event.

By Anthony Langley

A few years ago, Jeffrey Roberts (B.S.’87/E) and Gail Coles-Johnson (B.S.’86/B), members of VCU Alumni’s African-American Alumni Council, were looking for ways to create an intergenerational conversation between alumni and current students. But they weren’t sure of the best way they could go about it.

“When we were in undergrad, we didn’t have the opportunity to seek out mentors,” Roberts says. “So we wanted to create a way we could give back and students could pay it forward as well.” Continue reading

Family ties lead to VCU, and love, for alumni

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Catherine and Edward Cary

By Anthony Langley

A huge snowstorm hit Richmond, Virginia, in November 1987, blanketing the city and causing nearly everything to shut down, including Virginia Commonwealth University. If it weren’t for that snowfall, Catherine (B.S.’89/P; Pharm.D.’95/P) and Edward (B.S.’88/P) Cary might have never met.

“There had to be 20 inches of snow, and everyone who lived in the dorms was outside playing in it,” Edward says. “That was the first time I met her, and here we are today.” Continue reading

An artful upbringing inspires a creative career

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Looking at his portfolio of images, it’s hard to believe that Cade Martin (B.G.S.’89/H&S) snapped his first photograph halfway through his sophomore year at Virginia Commonwealth University just shy of 30 years ago. Martin, who’s based in Washington, D.C., has been hailed as “one of the 200 best advertising photographers in the world,” and his award-winning work has been described as “inspirational,” “magical” and “elegant.” VCU Alumni caught up with Martin recently and learned that his journey actually started long before he stepped onto VCU’s campus. Continue reading

Alumna leads at the bedside and beyond

Henrisa Tosoc-Haskell stands in front of the UNOS National Donor Memorial, which honors all organ, eye and tissue donors. Photo by Andrew Swartz/UNOS

By Anthony Langley (B.S.’16/MC)

When the United Network for Organ Sharing merged two units into a newly created department of member quality, the organization set its sights on finding someone with the right set of skills to help the organization, and its employees, navigate the new course.

“Embarking on a journey from a compliance-focused organization to an organization focused on performance improvement, we were looking for someone who had experience with quality practices and performance improvement,” says Maureen McBride, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’95/M), UNOS’ chief contract operations officer.

They found their match in Henrisa Tosoc-Haskell (M.S.’88/N; M.S.H.A.’02/AHP), who joined the Richmond-based organization last July as director of member quality. Continue reading

Behind the music

Monty (left) and Andrew Kier

Professor and son pen VCU’s first alma mater

By Anthony Langley

A year and a half ago, Lemont “Monty” B. Kier, Ph.D., began reflecting on his time and experiences at Virginia Commonwealth University.

“I’ve been here since 1977,” says Kier, who has taught and held various roles in VCU Life Sciences’ Center for the Study of Biological Complexity, the School of Allied Health Professions Department of Nurse Anesthesia, and the School of Pharmacy departments of Pharmacotherapy and Outcomes Science and Medicinal Chemistry, the latter of which he served as chair for 10 years. “I’m so fond of the diversity and the opportunities that I’ve had here I began to write a little poem about it.” Continue reading