A Stronger Community Together


VCU is proudly one of America’s most diverse universities, located in a vibrant and diverse city. This includes international students, visiting scholars and immigrants from more than 100 nations who chose VCU and Richmond as their home.

I have heard often in recent weeks about how much immigrants add to our university, city and nation. Indeed, we continue to be strengthened by the experiences and talents of all of our people, including those who enhance the educational experience at VCU with perspectives from around the world.

More than 2 million immigrants and children of immigrants are now enrolled in U.S. universities, representing about 20 percent of U.S. college students. Foreign-born adults in the United States earn bachelor’s degrees at the same rate as native-born adults and are 50 percent more likely to earn a doctorate or professional degree, even if they come from low-educated households. Educational attainment has now passed citizenship as the strongest predictor of civic participation among immigrants, according to the Latino Civic Health Index.

Immigrants have always been a critical part to the American dream and our national progress. Many of us, including me, are children of immigrants. I am now pleased to be president of a university that was built, in part, by an immigrant to Richmond named John Cullen, an Irish-born physician who in 1837 helped create the Medical College of Virginia.

Now 180 years later, Virginia Commonwealth University still proudly welcomes and includes diverse people from Richmond and far beyond. I recently reaffirmed our support of students who are protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, continue to bolster our efforts related to Title IX and continue to remind everyone that VCU will embrace all people and help all people succeed.

Where someone comes from matters far less than where they’re going.

It’s who we are at VCU. And who we will always be.