Advancing the human condition


Dear VCU and VCU Health community,


Welcome back. I hope the winter break and promise of a new year bring you a sense of energy and enthusiasm.

We ended the fall semester by celebrating the graduation of more than 2,000 truly remarkable students, and an ever-rising graduation rate that now exceeds the national average by 10 percent. We are also now a top 100 university nationally in conferring degrees to underrepresented minority students, a proud outcome of our ongoing commitments to diversity, inclusion, and student success at every level.

We continue to work together in our classrooms, studios, labs, hospitals, and clinics to advance the human experience in remarkable ways. And—in this new year—we are driven to do even more. In 2020 and beyond, we will accelerate our focus on the quality experience and enduring success of every person we serve. Together we will work to be the best-quality, most-efficient research university and academic health center in the nation. We will be the archetype of a modern research university—not following a centuries-old model but setting a new standard that helps people achieve their American Dream today. All the people we serve will benefit from all parts of VCU.

We have accomplished much together already, but our work is only beginning. Please join me for my annual State of the University address on Jan. 30 in Cabell Library 303, where I will update you on our shared progress and our next chapter as a great American university. If you are not able to join in person, the address will be livestreamed on VCU’s main Facebook page.

I look forward to seeing you in the new year and continuing our work as the exemplar 21st century research university working together to advance the human experience. In the meantime, may this new semester bring you great success.



Michael Rao, Ph.D.


VCU and VCU Health System