VCU Ram Mo Alie-Cox

Winning on the field, in the classroom

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VCU Ram Mo Alie-Cox VCU Ram Mo Alie-Cox, photo by VCU Athletics

It has been a great spring so far for VCU’s student-athletes.

Men’s basketball shared the A-10 regular season title — the first in VCU history — and will play in the conference tournament as the No. 2 seed this week in Brooklyn. Women’s basketball enjoyed its most successful season as a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, reaching the semifinals of the league tournament. Fresh off the doorstep of the College World Series last year, our baseball team has been impressive early in 2016, and our newest program, Coach Jen O’Brien’s women’s lacrosse team, has a couple of milestone wins under its belt.

I am proud of the way these remarkable student-athletes represent VCU on the field. But what they accomplished this past fall semester is even more important.

Our 280 student-athletes, in all sports, finished Fall 2015 with a cumulative grade-point average of 3.03 — slightly higher than the student body overall. Sixty percent of our athletes had a GPA above 3.0, and one-third above 3.5. This marked the second consecutive semester — and only the third in VCU Athletics history — that our student-athletes scored a collective 3.0. Taken together, eight teams were above 3.0, led by the men’s (3.6) and women’s (3.5) tennis teams.

I could not be more proud of our student-athletes’ commitment to excellence on the field, court, track and — most importantly — in the classroom. I also thank Director of Athletics Ed McLaughlin, Associate Vice Provost for Learning Excellence and Executive Associate Athletic Director Dr. Sofia Hiort-Wright, our academic advisors and head coaches who help our athletes excel in every arena, including the one that matters most.

As a nationally premier research university, VCU’s emphasis will always be ensuring that all of our students — including our student-athletes — can succeed in every way imaginable and will graduate as leaders poised to change the world.

Athletics is no different: Winning games are important, but excelling in the classroom is essential. I am so proud of our student-athletes, and their coaches, advisors and mentors, who personify excellence in both arenas.