Virginia Commonwealth University

"Virginia Commonwealth" redirects here. For the Commonwealth of Virginia, see Virginia.
"VCU" redirects here. For other uses, see VCU (disambiguation).
Virginia Commonwealth University
Motto Make it real
Type Public
Established 1838
Endowment US$ 1.638 billion[1]
President Michael Rao
Provost Gail Hackett
Rector William M. Ginther[2]
Academic staff
Administrative staff
Students 31,242[3]
Undergraduates 24,051[3]
Postgraduates 7,191[4]
Location Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
37°32′48″N 77°27′12″W / 37.546615°N 77.453255°W / 37.546615; -77.453255Coordinates: 37°32′48″N 77°27′12″W / 37.546615°N 77.453255°W / 37.546615; -77.453255
Campus Urban
144 acres (580,000 m2)[3]
Colors Black and Gold[3]          
Athletics NCAA Division IA-10
Sports 17 varsity teams[3]
Nickname Rams
Mascot Rodney the Ram
Affiliations ORAU
Urban 13/GCU
All enrollment figures are as of Fall 2014

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is a public research university located in Richmond, Virginia. VCU was founded in 1838 as the medical department of Hampden–Sydney College, becoming the Medical College of Virginia in 1854. In 1968, the Virginia General Assembly merged MCV with the Richmond Professional Institute, founded in 1917, to create Virginia Commonwealth University.[5] Today, more than 31,000 students pursue 226 degree and certificate programs through VCU's 13 schools and one college.[3] The VCU Health System supports the university's health care education, research and patient care mission.

With a record $270.3 million in sponsored research funding in the fiscal year 2014-15, VCU is designated as "R1: Doctoral University - Highest Research Activity" by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education.[6][7] A broad array of university-approved centers and institutes of excellence, involving faculty from multiple disciplines in public policy, biotechnology and health care discoveries, supports the university's research mission. Twenty-eight graduate and first-professional programs are ranked by U.S. News & World Report as among the best in the country.[8] VCU's athletic teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the VCU Rams. They are members of the Atlantic 10 Conference. The VCU campus includes historic buildings such as the Ginter House, now used by the school's provost.


Further information: List of presidents of VCU


Egyptian Building of the Medical College of Virginia (1845), Richmond, Virginia

Though officially created with the merger of the Richmond Professional Institute (RPI) and Medical College of Virginia (MCV) in 1968, VCU's history began in 1838 when the Medical Department of Hampden-Sydney College opened in Richmond. In 1844, it moved into its first permanent home, the Egyptian Building. In 1854, the Medical Department of Hampden–Sydney College received an independent charter from the Virginia General Assembly and became the Medical College of Virginia (MCV). A few years later in 1860, MCV conveyed all its property to the Commonwealth of Virginia and becomes a state institution in exchange for $30,000. In 1893, the College of Physicians and Surgeons, later University College of Medicine, was established by Hunter Holmes McGuire just three blocks away from MCV. In 1912, McGuire Hall opened as the new home of the University College of Medicine. The following year, MCV and UCM merged through the efforts of George Ben Johnston and Stuart McGuire. MCV acquired the Memorial Hospital as a result of the merger.

Richmond Professional Institute traces its roots back to 1917, when it began as the Richmond School of Social Work and Public Health. In 1925, it became the Richmond division of The College of William & Mary. In 1939, this division became the Richmond Professional Institute of The College of William & Mary" (RPI). In 1947, the MCV Foundation was incorporated, and in 1962 RPI separated from William & Mary to become an independent state institution. Then in 1968, state legislation (Wayne Commission Report) merged MCV and RPI to become Virginia Commonwealth University. VCU claims 1838 as its founding date on its official seal and on promotional materials.[9]

Recent history

In 2013, VCU was awarded a $62 million federal grant to oversee a national research consortium of universities, hospitals and clinics to study what happens to service members and veterans who suffer mild traumatic brain injuries or concussions.[10][11]

In 2010, VCU received a $20 million National Institutes of Health grant to join a nationwide consortium of research institutions working to turn laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients.[12] The Clinical and Translational Science Award made VCU the only academic health center in Virginia to join the prestigious CTSA network. In 2011, The Carnegie Foundation elevated Virginia Commonwealth University to "Very High Research Activity," with over 255 million in sponsored research.[12]

In 2009, Michael Rao was appointed the fifth president of VCU and continues in his tenure to focus on VCU's growth as a premier public research university.

Expansion at VCU

Main article: VCU expansion

Warren W. Brandt served as the first president of VCU. During his tenure, 32 degree programs were added, and the School of Allied Health Professions and the School of Community Services were established. In addition, more than $20 million of new construction was completed or initiated on both campuses, including the James Branch Cabell Library, Rhoads Hall, the School of Business building, the Larrick Student Center and a large addition to Sanger Hall.[9]

In the 1980s, and under the leadership of VCU President Edmund Ackell, a major overhaul of the university's governance system and administrative structure was initiated. Dr. Ackell lead the administration in instituting a new system for both short-range and long-range university planning; establishing faculty convocation and a new set of faculty tenure and promotion guidelines; and establishing greater access to the community by supporting the use of the university's research and educational resources to meet social needs.[9]

Eugene Trani became the president of VCU in 1990. During his tenure VCU became one of the largest universities in Virginia, growing from an enrollment of 21,764 in 1990, to 32,284 at the time of his retirement. VCU was the state's first university to enroll over 30,000 students.[13] Under Dr. Trani's leadership VCU and the VCU Health System undertook more than $2.2 billion in capital construction and renovation projects.[14] In February 2006, VCU established VCU 2020 Vision for Excellence, a strategic plan to continue to fulfill VCU's mission as a leading urban research institution for the 21st century and develop more than $1 billion in new academic, medical, recreation, student housing, and parking facilities on VCU's Monroe Park and MCV Campuses.[15][16][17]

VCU Quest for Distinction

Quest for Distinction, the university's strategic plan, was launched by Dr. Rao in 2011. It sets priorities of academic excellence, research that enhances the quality of life, human health and well-being, and ongoing contribution to the economic vitality and cultural richness of the community.[18][19] Specific initiatives include the continued recruitment of high-quality faculty and resource development aimed at enhancing the overall student experience. The latest master plan lays out over 3 billion dollars in new construction and renovations that would provide housing for an additional 1,300 students, increase parking for several thousand cars and build 3 million additional square feet of academic and research space.[20]


Virginia Commonwealth University has two main campuses in Richmond, Va.: the Monroe Park Campus, located west of downtown Richmond, and the MCV Campus in the urban center. Additionally, VCU has a branch campus in Education City, Qatar, along with numerous regional facilities.

Monroe Park Campus

Snead Hall, Monroe Park campus

Named after the city park, the 90.6-acre Monroe Park Campus took its name in June 2004, replacing the former name, the Academic Campus of VCU. The Monroe Park Campus houses most of VCU's general education facilities, and is situated on the eastern end of the Fan district, a historic, late 19th-century neighborhood adjacent to downtown Richmond. Prior to the merger of the Richmond Professional Institute and the Medical College of Virginia, the campus was the home to the entire Richmond Professional Institute. Today, the campus has a mixture of modern and vintage buildings, with over 40 structures built before 1900.

MCV Campus

VCU Molecular Medicine Research Building (MMRB), MCV campus

The 52.3-acre MCV Campus is home to the VCU Medical Center. This includes the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Allied Health, Nursing, and the medical center, which is overseen by the VCU Health System Authority. The campus is also home to the Massey Cancer Center (an NCI-designated Cancer Center) and the Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU. The MCV Campus is an integral part of Richmond in the old Court End district. The neighborhood is located adjacent to the city's business and financial district near the state capitol. VCU's Health Sciences schools comprise the School of Allied Health Professions, the School of Dentistry, the School of Medicine, the School of Nursing, and the School of Pharmacy.


VCUQatar (VCUQ) is VCU School of the Arts' branch campus located in State of Qatar.[21]

VCUQ is the Qatar campus of the prestigious Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Richmond, Virginia. It was established in 1998 through a partnership with Qatar Foundation and was the first university to open its doors in Education City.[22] The contract was renewed in July 2012 and goes through July 2022.[23] VCUQ provides students the opportunity to earn a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Graphic Design, Interior Design, Fashion Design or Painting and Printmaking and a Master of Fine Arts degree in Design Studies.[24] As part of the contract, VCU is not allowed to open any other degree-granting arts or design programs in other Middle Eastern countries.[23]

In addition to smart classrooms, the VCUQ campus is primarily composed of studios and workspaces for its art programs, an international gallery and a library. The campus also contains things needed for daily student life such as a café, prayer rooms, a student lounge, and a central hall which can be used for a variety of events.[25] Through its programs, VCUQatar's mission is to "develop the individual capacity to lead innovations in the creative and cultural professions in Qatar and the region."[26]

VCUQ is accredited by National Association of Schools of Art & Design, The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and Council for Interior Design Accreditation.

In 2010, VCUQatar more than doubled its facilities through a major expansion project. The expansion has allowed for the integration of the university's undergraduate and graduate programs under one roof, the connection of the research and entrepreneurship offices with curricular programs, and the expansion of technical spaces to support all forms of visualization and research with a media lab, digital fabrication lab, printmaking studios, photography studio, an expanded library and the first materials library in the region.

The campus is working alongside the Supreme Education Council and Qatar Foundation toward reaching the Qatar National Vision 2030.[27]

In 2015, VCUQatar has 66 Faculty representing for 15 diffrrent nationalities. The number of students is 282 Students representing 40 nationalities which shows its diversity. So far VCUQatar has 450 Alumni representing 33 nationalities.[28] VCU received about $42 million in 2014 to operate the campus.[29] A portion of this is a management fee, which in previous years was $3.4 million, allowing the campus to profit off of the campus.[23] VCU is not the only US campus in Education City, and it, along with the other universities, are the subject of criticism of their implicit acceptance of Qatar's sponsorship of terrorism and egregious human rights violations.[30][31][32]

VCU satellite and research locations




VCU offers Baccalaureate, Master's and Doctoral degrees, as well as Professional and Certificate courses.[58]

Seventy-nine of VCU's programs are unique to Virginia, such as the Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness major in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, as well as the Real Estate and Urban Land Development degree in VCU's School of Business. The university also offers a wide range of study options with 225 certificate, undergraduate, graduate, professional and doctoral degrees in the arts, sciences and humanities.

The university's medical campus provides students with several opportunities for postgraduate study. Under the Guaranteed Admission Program,[59] select incoming undergraduates who maintain a high academic standard are guaranteed a spot in a number of professional health science programs.

VCU Living-Learning programs

VCU's Academic Scholars Program in Real Environments (ASPiRE),[60] combines the living-learning experience with community engagement. Launched in fall 2012, VCU ASPiRE links students with their community and with each other through a coordinated educational and service-learning curriculum and living experience.[61]

The VCU Honors College[62] is available to students meeting specific SAT/ACT and GPA criteria. Through the Honors College eligible students are offered the Guaranteed Admission Program,[59] which offers a variety of options for gaining early admission into the professional health science and graduate programs at VCU. In addition, the Honors College also offers students the ability to enroll in classes open only to honors students, live in honors-only residence halls, apply for scholarships only available to honors students, and participate in The Honors College Mentorship Program and other learning experiences that supplement general classroom study.

VCU Globe prepares undergraduates to live and work in a global environment, expanding students' identities as global citizens through course work, co-curricular activities and the residential experience [63]

VCU LEAD is focused on developing graduates who can successfully lead professional and civic organizations at a local, national, and global level within their respective fields [64]

VCU Innovate is to spur a mindset and cross-disciplinary culture that enables students to pursue innovation and entrepreneurship efforts [65]

Life Sciences

VCU Life Sciences[66] combines elements of teaching, research and public service in the study of biological complexity. The highly interdisciplinary, systems-based program relies on hundreds of faculty members. With activities at the local, regional and national levels, VCU Life Sciences helps increase public literacy in the life sciences and provides an assessment of American public attitudes toward the field.

VCU da Vinci Center

VCU schools of the Arts, Business, and Engineering have collaborated to create the VCU da Vinci Center for Innovation in Product Design and Development. Student teams from these schools take on a product development or design challenge posed by one of the Center's industry partners. Such cross-disciplinary educational opportunities prepare students for management roles in the global, technology-driven workplace of the 21st century.[67] In addition to the current collaboration, the College of Humanities and Sciences[68] joined the Center late in the fall 2012 semester. The VCU da Vinci Center currently offers an Undergraduate Certificate and a master's degree in Product Innovation.[69] The Masters of Product Innovation is the first of its kind in the United States.[70] The center was recognized by a report presented to President Obama as one of the 29 best programs to offer a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) degree.[71] It was the only program in Virginia to be included on the list.[71]

VCU's International Partnership Universities Initiative

VCU's International Partnership Universities Initiative provides faculty and students the opportunity for involvement and collaboration in an international and multicultural arena. Fifteen international Partnership Universities and VCU School in Qatar are strategically located in 11 countries.[72]

The da Vinci Center "Octagon", Monroe Park campus

Rankings and recognitions

University rankings
ARWU[73] 69-89
Forbes[74] 447
U.S. News & World Report[75] 156
Washington Monthly[76] 154[77]
ARWU[78] 151-200
QS[79] 451-500
U.S. News & World Report[80] 329

According to the 2016 U.S. News & World Report, VCU is classified as a Tier 1 University with an overall National University rank of No. 156 and holds a rank of No. 84 among all public colleges and universities in the United States.[81]

The Academic Ranking of World Universities conducted in 2005 by the Institute of Higher Education at Shanghai Jiao Tong University ranks VCU in the top 100 universities in North & Latin America and one of the top 200 universities in the world.[82]

Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts (VCUarts) is ranked the No. 1 public university school of arts and design in the country (#4 among public & private institutions) by U.S. News & World Report in 2015.[Out of Date] VCUarts is the only public university arts and design school in the country to ever be ranked this high in overall ranking. Indeed, the New York Times called it "that rare public research institution that has put the arts front and center".[83] The VCU Brandcenter, the School of Business' graduate program in advertising, has also been ranked first in the nation by Creativity Magazine and as one of the top 60 design schools in the world by BusinessWeek.[84][Out of Date]

The Fine Arts Building, Monroe Park Campus

VCU's Masters of Science in Health Administration program was ranked second by Modern Healthcare. The University's Health System earned national Magnet nursing designation by the American Nurses Credentialing Center, and has twice been named one of the Solucient Top 100 Hospitals in the United States by Solucient Corporation. In research the school has been ranked as a top American university by Lombardi Program on Measuring University Performance and a top 100 university by the National Science Foundation. VCU Engineering, started in 1996 has seen tremendous growth and completely new facilities. William F. Goodwin, Chairman of the VCU School of Engineering Foundation Board of Trustees, has set an ambitious objective for the engineering program. He's aiming for "25 in 25" – a top 25 engineering-school rank within 25 years.[85] As of 2014, U.S News & Report ranks the Biomedical Engineering program 58th, Computer Engineering program 84th, Electrical/Electronic/Communications Engineering 89th in the United States.[86] The School of Business currently ranks as the No. 51 part-time MBA program and No. 97 best undergraduate business program in the United States according to Bloomberg Businessweek and U.S. News & World Report, respectively.

According to the 2012 U.S. News & World Report VCU School of Social Work is ranked 11[87] and the Public Affairs graduate program is currently ranked 53 in the nation.[88][89] The VCU SportsCenter is a graduate program offering a master's degree in Sports Leadership. David Maraghy co-founded and served as Executive Director of the program until 2002. It is currently directed by Nathan Tomasini. One of the program's elite events is known as Villa 7 which began as a forum where athletic directors could share ideas and meet with the country's elite assistant basketball coaches.[90]

VCU is among the top 100 institutions according to the National Science Foundation rankings.[91]


In its history, one faculty member and one alumnus have won a Nobel Prize: Baruj Benacerraf, an alumnus of the Medical College of Virginia, was awarded the 1980 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and John Fenn, a professor in the College of Humanities & Sciences, was awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.

VCU Student Commons, Monroe Park Campus

In the medical field, VCU has had four professors elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences' Institute of Medicine, most recently Steven Woolf in 2001.[92] Historically, notable faculty members include Charles-Édouard Brown-Séquard, M.D., for whom Brown-Séquard syndrome is named. Hunter McGuire, M.D., was the Confederate surgeon for General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson before he founded the "University College of Medicine", which later merged with Medical College of Virginia where he became the Chairman of Surgery. The Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Administration Medical Center is named in his honor.

Jennifer Johnson's (Professor of Sociology) work at the Department of Defense in the area of Social Network Analysis won her the 2006 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award, which is the highest-ranking civilian service award given by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Dr. Johnson was also awarded the 2004 Analyst of the Quarter by the Joint Warfare Analysis Center for her work on the Social Network Analysis Methodology Team. Also Gevork Minaskanian, cofounder of Aderis Pharmaceuticals, developers of Rotigotine, a dopamine agonist for treatment of Parkinson's disease, teaches at VCU.

The VCU Counseling Psychology Graduate Program was ranked 3rd in the nation in the Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index in 2007.[93] The VCU Public Administration program in the L. Douglas Wilder School for Government and Public Affairs was ranked 9th in the nation by the Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index in 2007.[94]


James Branch Cabell Library, Monroe Park Campus, prior to 2015 renovation.

The VCU Libraries is one of the largest research libraries in Virginia. The libraries hold more than 2.58 million volumes (including more than 665,000 electronic books) and extensive journal and database holdings. Collection strengths include the arts, behavioral sciences, business, chemistry, clinical medicine, education, health and life sciences, public affairs, and social work. The VCU Libraries hosts 2.16 million visitors each year.

The James Branch Cabell Library supports the Monroe Park Campus. Its Special Collections and Archives department houses one of the largest book art collections in the Southeast and the fifth largest graphic novel and comic book collections in the United States. It also includes records of local organizations and papers of numerous Virginia writers, artists, and social activists from Virginia's under-documented communities, and is the archives of the Will Eisner Comic Industry Award.

The Tompkins–McCaw Library for the Health Sciences on the MCV Campus has the largest medical collection in the state, with extensive journal collections dating back to the nineteenth century. Special collections maintain the papers of health care practitioners and the history of health care in Virginia. Its Medical Artifacts Collection has more than 6,000 instruments and equipment related to the history of health care in Virginia over the last 150 years.

A 93,000-square-foot expansion of Cabell Library is underway. The new library will be open and operational during the 2015-16 academic year. Ninety percent of the new space will be for student/researcher use rather than for staff offices or book storage.

The VCU Libraries offers electronic access to some of its special collections, including papers, images, and sound files relating to civil rights, Richmond architecture, civil war medicine, comic-book and cartooning arts, medical artifacts, and the history of VCU.

Recent library initiatives include the 2014 Freedom Now Project,[95] which published civil rights protests in 1963 Virginia and invited citizens to come forward to help identify participants and tell these untold stories. In 2015, researchers and others interested in the history and architecture of Richmond can explore using a newly digitized 19th century map overlaid with current geospacial data and Google maps.[96]

Student life

The student body consists of 57% female students and 42% male students.[97] Out-of-state students have increased to 15% as of the fall of 2011, and the remaining 85% of students are from Virginia.[4] Demographically, the student body is 51% white, 15% African American, 12% Asian, 7% Hispanic, 6% International, less than 1% Native American and 8% Unknown.[3]

Virginia Commonwealth University 2014 Admissions Statistics[98]
Applicants 15,126
Acceptance Rate 68.9%
First Year Students 88% in state, 12% out of state
High School GPA 3.59
Average SAT (1600 - as of 2012) 1088
Freshman Class Size 3,586
Undergraduate Student-Faculty Ratio 17:1
Freshman Retention Rate 86.5%

Residential life

Brandt Hall, Monroe Park Campus

More than 79% of VCU freshmen live on campus. VCU's current residential hall capacity is around 5,400 students, but will have a capacity of around 5,800 students by 2013.[99][100] Because of the prominent location within the city of Richmond, many upperclassmen live in student apartments located around the campus, specifically in The Fan, Oregon Hill or the Carver neighborhood, and are still able to walk or bike to their classes.[101]

Shafer Court Dining Center, Monroe Park campus


Dining Services at VCU is contracted to ARAMARK Higher Education.[102] Undergraduate students living in a university residence hall (not students living in university apartments) are required to choose a residential dining plan. VCU Dining Services offers block plans that allow a specific number of meals to be used over an entire semester. All unused block meal swipes and dining credits are forfeited at the end of each semester. These unlimited-serving meals are served in the Shafer Court Dining Center. A wide variety of foods is offered for every type of diet, including vegetarian options, vegan foods and low-fat foods. Fruits and vegetables are fresh daily. Dining Dollars allow students the opportunity to purchase tax-free meals at any VCU retail restaurant. Commuter students and students living off campus have the option of purchasing a nonresidential dining plan.[103]


Student organizations

VCU has more than 500 registered student organizations in which students can be involved.[104] VCU boasts a well-established net of ethnic and cultural, religious, recreational and special interest organizations. There are two student government associations at VCU, one for each campus.

VCU is also an academic partner to the largest French Film Festival in the United States.[105] Founded in 1993, the total participation in 2012 has grown to more than 22,000 entries for the 27 films.[105]

Student media

VCU offers many student-run media outlets that allow students to express themselves without censorship or administrative control. See more at

Recreational sports

Recreational Sports[111] offers facilities on both campuses. Opened in spring 2010, the newly renovated Cary Street Gym[112] includes the 18,000-square-foot fitness center, a rock climbing wall, two pools, racquetball and basketball courts, a track and an aerobics mezzanine.

The MCV Campus Recreation and Aquatic Center provide space for basketball, volleyball, racquetball and other sports. A 25-meter, six-lane pool is available for lap swimming, water basketball and volleyball. Outing Rental Center offers equipment such as backpacks, sleeping bags, tents and canoes as well as books, maps, videos and trail guides at affordable rental rates.

The VCU Outdoor Adventure Program[113] provides a full schedule of day trips and weekend excursions focused on such outdoor activities as camping, kayaking, white-water rafting, canoeing and caving.

Service learning

Service learning at VCU is a course-based, credit-bearing educational experience in which students participate in an organized service activity that meets community-identified needs. More than 3,000 VCU students are enrolled in service learning at VCU.

Greek system

Virginia Commonwealth University hosts 36 international fraternities and sororities across four governing councils with over 1,700 students. Within the student body, a total of 6.3% of women join a sorority and 8% of men join a fraternity.[114][115] VCU's fraternity and sorority community has grown particularly rapidly in the last few years. .[116]

List of VCU's Fraternity and Sorority Chapters[117]

Interfraternity Council[118] College Panhellenic Council[119] Multicultural Greek Council[120] National Pan-Hellenic Council[121]
Alpha Epsilon Pi – Epsilon Pi Chapter Alpha Epsilon Phi – Beta Theta Alpha Kappa Delta Phi – VCU Colony Alpha Phi Alpha – Theta Rho Chapter
Alpha Kappa Lambda – Beta Nu Chapter Alpha Gamma Delta – Theta Nu Delta Phi Omega – Kappa Chapter Alpha Kappa Alpha – Theta Rho Chapter
Delta Chi – Virginia Commonwealth Alpha Omicron Pi – Rho Beta Kappa Phi Gamma – Theta Colony Delta Sigma Theta – Eta Tau Chapter
Kappa Delta Rho - Omega Alpha Provisional Chapter Alpha Sigma Alpha – Epsilon Gamma Lambda Phi Epsilon – VCU Alpha Sigma Chapter Iota Phi Theta – Delta Delta Chapter
Lambda Chi Alpha – VCU Colony Alpha Xi Delta – Iota Sigma Chapter Lambda Theta Alpha – Zeta Alpha Chapter Kappa Alpha Psi – Eta Xi Chapter
Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) – Mu Pi Chapter Phi Sigma Rho – Omega Lambda Theta Phi – Interest Group
Phi Kappa Sigma – Delta Upsilon Sigma Sigma Sigma – Epsilon Sigma Lambda Upsilon Lambda – Alpha Psi Chapter
Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia – Rho Omega Phi Mu – Lambda Gamma Sigma Lambda Upsilon – Alpha Zeta Chapter
Pi Kappa Alpha – Lambda Chi Zeta Tau Alpha – Lambda Eta Chapter Theta Nu Xi – Alpha Kappa Chapter
Pi Lambda Phi – VA Omega Rho
Phi Kappa Psi Virginia Eta Chapter
Sigma Alpha Epsilon – Virginia Chi
Sigma Phi Epsilon – Virginia Beta
Theta Chi – Theta Xi
Triangle Fraternity – VCU Chapter
Pi Kappa Phi- Epsilon Pi


VCU's police force consists of 92 sworn police officers and more than 200 security personnel.[122][123] VCU also provides a free Security Escort service (RAM SAFE) to students and faculty to assist them in reaching their destination and have stationed more than 370 Emergency Reporting Telephone Systems in various areas throughout campus.[124]


Main article: VCU Rams

Having competed at the NCAA Division I level for little more than 30 years, Virginia Commonwealth University has sponsored a broad-based program of intercollegiate athletics. The VCU Rams have won in excess of 30 conference championships, participated in numerous NCAA post-season championship events, including a run to the Final Four in men's basketball in 2011, and had a number of All-Americans—both academic and athletic.[125] VCU currently sponsors sixteen varsity teams in NCAA Division I play through the Atlantic 10 Conference (A10).

VCU Men's tennis is one of the school's most successful programs. The team is coached by Paul Kostin who is one of five Division I coaches to reach the 900-victory mark. The Men's tennis team holds 12 CAA Championships, 18 NCAA tournament appearances, and 17 years of finishing in the top 25 rankings in the country.[126] In 2000, VCU men's tennis had its best season, finishing runner up to Stanford in the NCAA Finals Championship match. The team finished with a No. 9 ranking in the country.[127]

Also under coach Paul Kostin, VCU's women's tennis team has 3 CAA championships, 12 NCAA appearances, and 8 years in the top 25.

VCU Baseball has won a total of 3 CAA Championships and has been to a total of 8 NCAA Regionals. VCU Baseball's head coach is Shawn Stiffler, and games are played at The Diamond (Richmond, Virginia).

Other intercollegiate sports include Men and Women's Basketball, Men and Women's Cross Country, Field Hockey, Golf, Men and Women's Soccer (played at Sports Backers Stadium), Men and Women's Track and Field, Volleyball, and Women's Lacrosse.

VCU also has many student run club teams. These sports not sponsored by the university include coed & allgirl cheerleading, baseball, softball, men's[128] and women's[129] rugby union, ice hockey,[130] ultimate,[131] men's and women's lacrosse, cycling, men's and women's crew[132] and dodgeball. Previous club sports have also included wrestling and tennis.

VCU Rams men's basketball

The interior of the Verizon Wireless Arena within the Siegel Center, home court of the VCU basketball teams

VCU reached the Final Four in the 2011 NCAA tournament. The team has won a total of 9 conference championships with the most recent coming in 2015, the team's first A10 championship win. The VCU Rams currently play at the Stuart C. Siegel Center, where they hold the 11th highest Home Court winning percentage in Division I basketball with a winning percentage of .8579[133]

In the 2011 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, VCU qualified as an at-large bid, having to play in the newly formatted tournament's "First Four" against USC. The decision to allow VCU to participate in the tournament was widely criticized among pundits and the media.[134] VCU defeated USC 59–46 in the "First Four" play-in game. VCU then went on to upset Georgetown 74–56 in the round of 64. The 11th-seeded VCU Rams then upset 3rd-seeded Purdue 94–76 to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history. In the sweet sixteen, VCU defeated 10th-seeded Florida State 72–71 on a last second bucket in overtime to advance to the Elite 8 for the first time in school history. VCU beat the No. 1 seed Kansas in the Southwest Regional final by a score of 71–61. It was the Rams' first trip to the Final Four. Against Butler in the Final Four, VCU lost 70–62. The 2010–11 VCU Rams men's basketball team finished 6th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll at the end of the season.[135] This was the highest ranking in VCU's history and the highest ranking of any team from the CAA.[136]

VCU Rams women's basketball

Former WNBA player and Notre Dame's all-time leading scorer Beth Cunningham coaches the VCU Rams women's team.

The VCU Rams Women's team enjoyed the most successful season in their history in the 2008–2009 season. The team finished the season with a mark of 26–7 overall and a 15–3 conference record. Notably the team was a perfect 16–0 at home. After finishing second in their conference the team headed to their first ever NCAA tournament game as the 10th seed, where the No. 7 seeded Rutgers eliminated them 57–51 on their home court.[137] In the 2009–2010 season Cunningham led the Rams to the NIT Sweet Sixteen where they were eliminated by Syracuse.


Rowdy Rams (far back) spelling out "VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH!"

VCU's main rival is Old Dominion University. The "VCU-ODU basketball rivalry" is often regarded as the best college basketball rivalry in the Commonwealth of Virginia.[138][139] The Rams' intra-city rivalry with University of Richmond ("Black & Blue Classic"),[140] is bound to heat up now that the two schools are playing in the same conference again for the first time since 2001.[141]

Rowdy Rams

The Rowdy Rams is a student-run athletic support organization that focuses on VCU men's basketball, while also attending and supporting the university's 15 other varsity teams. The group began during the 2002–2003 basketball season when a group of VCU Pep Band members and other students began coordinating cheers together and taking road trips to away games. The following year, the Rowdy Rams procured funding from the SGA and sponsorship from VCU's Athletic Department, solidifying themselves as an official organization.[142] The Rowdy Rams offer members priority seating to all VCU men's basketball home games, a discount card for local restaurants and businesses, a free T-shirt, and free bus trips to road games.[143]

In April 2011, The Rowdy Rams followed the men's basketball team to Houston for the Final Four. Despite the team's upset by Butler University, the fan organization never regretted their trip. "Our Rowdy Rams came here in full force; the spirit was on the court; you could feel it all around the arena."[144]

In May 2013, The Rowdy Rams won the annual Naismith Student Section of the Year award, which awards the most passionate student section in college basketball.[145]

Notable alumni

VCU has a total of 159,683 alumni with 60,534 alumni living in the Richmond Metro Area.[146]

See also


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