We have a large, dynamic academic body that reaches new highs every year. With a prime location off several major interstates and within the heart of the capital city, VCU has arguably one of the most valuable locations for an academic establishment in the state. The school’s explosion in both the size of its student body and the rapid campus expansion reflect what is on the horizon for our institution: A great advancement in our school’s standing among other colleges and universities. Still, it is not a stretch to say that most students at one time or another have heard derogatory remarks regarding the status of VCU or a comparison of how much “better” other schools are.
To some, maybe VCU is a “nobody.” VCU, however, has made great strides in its prominence and is a leader in many fields, according to annual rankings published by U.S. News & World Report. Many of VCU’s graduate and professional programs lead the pack – sculpture first and graphic design fourth in 2003, the last time the magazine ranked these departments. In the medical field, many of VCU’s programs, such as dentistry (13th in 1993) and pharmacy (21st in 2005), are in the top 100 in the nation. The nurse anesthesia program, which is under the School of Allied Health Professions, is No. 1.
Likewise, the rankings of our other programs are also improving, evidenced by our public affairs (65th in 2004) and clinical psychology (68th in 2004) programs being placed among the top 100 in their fields as well. On top of that, VCU has shown its pioneering nature by offering the first undergraduate degree in homeland security and emergency preparedness by a major research university – which has made many VCU undergraduates attractive candidates for numerous government and private careers.
So, the next time you hear a smug comment about where you go to college, know this: Our university is on the rise and has been for some time. As more and more graduate from this institution, VCU’s influence and prestige only increases in the region, nationwide and in the various fields in which it doesn’t happen to be a leader yet.
Sit tight, fellow students, because one day it will be us, the VCU students, who can make derogatory comments about one’s choices of higher education. I should hope, however, that humility is one of those values that separates us from other schools.