Monroe Park Campus Service Awards

Oct. 18, 2012
University Student Commons, Richmond Salons

Thank you, Katherine and David for your leadership of our staff and faculty. My colleagues on the faculty and staff are a real strength of Virginia Commonwealth University. Thank you all for your dedication to VCU.

Congratulations to those who are celebrating your service anniversary at VCU today.

We have a great reputation nationally, and that reputation comes from the people who work here. You have a reputation for excellence. Because of you, we at VCU are on our way to realizing our bold vision to be the nation’s premier public, urban research university and academic medical center. You have built a strong foundation, and then advanced VCU in unprecedented ways.

VCU is a very different place than it was when you began here.

Twenty years ago, in 1992, our enrollment was 21,857 students — at the time, the largest enrollment in our history, although it’s about 10,000 students less than we have today. That same year, in 1992, we became a founding partner of the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park, in which we continue to be a primary partner.

Fifteen years ago, in 1997, we began construction on the School of the Arts Building. And we graduated about 4,000 students — about half of what we graduated this year.

Ten years ago, in 2002, VCU held its first homecoming events — now one of the largest traditions on campus. That same year, in 2002, John Fenn, a professor in the College of Humanities and Sciences, was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. I know that someone else on our faculty will win another Nobel Prize soon.

Five years ago, in 2007, our sponsored research stood at about $215 million. It’s up 21 percent today to almost $260 million. And, you might remember in 2007, when VCU’s basketball team scored its first of many famous NCAA tournament upsets, beating Duke in the final seconds of a first-round game. It was VCU’s first tournament victory since 1985, and Duke’s first opening-round loss in more than a decade.

In other words, there has been lots of change at VCU. But the constant has been all of you, and I’m very grateful to you.

What we’ve talked about today is only the beginning of our Quest for Distinction, and I’m looking forward to the next five, 10, 15 and 20 years with all of you.

I know I can count on you to continue to do the great work that you are doing, to continue to focus on excellence in everything you do, so that our students continue to excel and so that VCU remains a force in the world for saving and improving lives.

The awards we’re giving today honor VCU’s greatest asset, and that is you. And it’s really a ringing endorsement that so many of you have been with us for so many years.

Congratulations to all of you, and thank you again for your dedicated and enthusiastic service to VCU and the VCU Health System.