President: Change in the air at VCU

A message from the president of VCU, Eugene P. Trani

I am very pleased to welcome you to a new academic year at Virginia Commonwealth University. Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve had the great pleasure of addressing freshman students and new faculty at convocation events, attending the grand opening of our incredible new dining facility, and meeting many of you as you move into the residence halls. I am happy to report that we are off to a great start. It is an exciting time of year, and for so many reasons, an exciting time to be a student at VCU.

In my 15 years as president, I have witnessed a growing sense of enthusiasm at the university, and this year is no exception. Of course, this is due in large part to the excellence of our student body. You are the largest, brightest and most diverse group of students in VCU’s history. Each one of you brings a unique perspective and a unique contribution to our community, and we are very pleased to have you here.

Also adding to the excitement this fall are several recent changes that I’d like to share with you:

A new campus name: Monroe Park Campus
The VCU Board of Visitors voted in June to change the name of the Academic Campus to the Monroe Park Campus. We long have had another campus with a name rich in history, and of which we are all very proud, and that is the MCV Campus. For many of us in the VCU community, the name Academic Campus has fallen short of providing the same level of pride and tradition as does the MCV Campus name. Now, with the establishment of the Monroe Park Campus name, we celebrate another 19th-century tradition in Richmond, with the first reference to Monroe Park appearing in the minutes of Richmond City Council in 1855.

A facelift for Monroe Park
If you have visited Monroe Park lately, you will have noticed the wonderful changes that are in progress. Along with tree removal and tree trimming, the Round House has been painted, the 1908 Victorian fountain that sits in the center of the park is being restored, and parking in the park is no longer allowed. Additional landscaping and beautification are coming soon, and wireless Internet is being provided for connection to the VCUNet. As we enjoy the end of summer and move into the cool days of fall, I hope you will have an opportunity to spend some time in the park.

A new dining experience: Shafer Court Dining Facility
By now, many of you have experienced the new Shafer Court Dining Facility. Over the years we have changed from a commuter campus to a residential campus, and it was time for our dining hall to reflect that change. The new facility has exceeded all my expectations and I hope yours too. I have been pleased to hear positive reviews from so many of you, including a very big round of applause from students attending freshman convocation.

VCU 2020: an updated Master Site Plan
In my last e-mail correspondence to the entire VCU community, I announced the recent Board of Visitors’ approval of VCU 2020, our updated Master Site Plan. The plan represents a great vision for both our MCV Campus and Monroe Park Campus, and includes concepts for approximately $1 billion in new academic, medical, recreation, student housing and parking facilities. If you haven’t done so already, I hope you will take a moment to visit the VCU Web site and view the Master Site Plan video, in which I discuss many of these changes.

There is so much happening at Virginia Commonwealth University. You have many unique opportunities that come from attending a top urban research university – from real-world academic experiences to interesting cultural events to an incredible variety of student activities. Whether you have just begun your first semester at VCU or are completing your last, I hope you will take full advantage of all we have to offer and enjoy your time here. We are here to support you.

As always, please know that I appreciate hearing from you. Many improvements to our university community have come from students, like you, speaking up. I read all e-mail correspondence and encourage you to communicate your thoughts and suggestions. My e-mail address is [email protected].

Best wishes for a stimulating and engaging academic year.


Eugene P. Trani

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