President Rao and members of the Class of 2020

A new year with infinite opportunity



Dear VCU Community:

A new year affords infinite opportunity, and with it, the responsibility to achieve that which will move the human experience forward.  

Today, as we begin a new year together at VCU, I am especially excited to welcome more than 6,200 new students to VCU this fall, our largest new class ever and a group of young women and men whose futures are boundless and whose contributions to our community will be immeasurable. At every level, our students are the center of our mission and the spirit of our institution. They continue to amaze me with their enthusiasm, determination, proficiency, and continued commitment to creating a better society everywhere.

They are a vital part of our nationally premier research university that is focused on advancing the human condition for all people. In higher education, the ideas and contributions of all people drive the human experience forward. At VCU, we remain committed to ensuring that our community values its members and that we embrace and respect one another. We have been a national model for diversity and inclusion in many ways, but we fully recognize the work we still need to do. This fall, we will release our Diversity and Inclusion Strategic Action Plan and begin working with all of you on how best to put it into operation.

We will continue working toward an environment where all members of our community can succeed to their greatest potential. It is the only way our university—and our society—will thrive. And we will continue the conversations and actions already underway with a President’s Town Hall on Social Justice, scheduled for 11:30 a.m., Oct. 3, in the Student Commons Richmond Salons. Many other events and initiatives to unify our community throughout the coming year are available online.

Together, we will also work to ensure that our people have not only the opportunities to succeed, but also the resources. In a few weeks, we will publicly launch the largest and most comprehensive fundraising campaign in our university’s long history. These resources will fuel our academic mission, including more endowed chair positions and more financial aid for students. We will also begin work in earnest on a capital master facilities plan that will align the physical infrastructure of VCU Health with its internationally premier reputation.

A new year of promise also means we will continue our work to make VCU distinctive among our peers, building a more robust and relevant undergraduate experience and progressing toward a unique budget model that will align our resources with our priorities and human resources system that will better support the people who move us forward.

Finally, because there will be so many important headlines in the new year, please visit my blog to keep in regular communication with the VCU community. You may also follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn for regular updates.

I look forward to the many great things we will accomplish together in 2016-17.


Michael Rao, Ph.D.
President, VCU and VCU Health System