Celebrating our graduates

The weekend approaches quickly as the Virginia Commonwealth University spring class of 2014 — with more than 4,100 members — finishes final exams and culminating projects. It is a year these soon-to-be alumni and their families will mark forever: the year they earned their degree from one of the nation’s premier research universities.

The VCU educational experience is about more than completing courses and receiving a grade. It is about using knowledge to solve real problems that will make a real difference in the real world. It is about becoming leaders in your academic disciplines and in your communities. This is evident by the 1 million hours of service our students achieved just this spring. And by this month’s announcement of the RVA Creativity Awards, a new award highlighting Richmond-area businesses, governments and nonprofit organizations making a difference through innovation and imagination — awards that went to several VCU students, alumni and faculty.

Our university’s successes are most clearly defined in our remarkable people, including my faculty colleagues who mentor our students, the advisers and counselors who provide them support and the 174,000 VCU alumni who have blazed a trail for each class.

I am looking forward to Saturday and to hearing the inspirational remarks of our speaker, Tim Reid, an Emmy-nominated actor, director and producer.

Help me congratulate these new graduates — read about their experiences on our home page and then watch the live stream of Commencement on Saturday.