Skip to main content

Full text of "Shafer Court connections"

See other formats








University Student Commons: 2009 


Celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2OO9, the 
162,182-square-foot University Student Commons 
serves as the center for daily activities, meetings and events on the Monroe 
Park Campus at Virginia Commonwealth University. Outside the classroom, 
an ever-growing student population gathers in the facility's indoor and 
atdoor areas to meet friends, study and grab a bite to eat. 


t -vri "^ ■ 



8 > Presidential perspective 

Eugene P. Trani. Ph.D., shares his thoughts on 
Virginia Commonwealth University's growth 
and its impact on the region. 

12 > Family ties 

Families with multiple VCU graduates reveal how 
their unique link strengthens their connection 
to one another. 

22 -^ Scholarly pursuits 

Endowed gifts contribute to student success and 
ensure that VCU's tradition of excellence and 
accessible education continues. 



> Circa 

University Student Commons: 2009. 

5 ^ University news 

Noteworthy news and research at VCU. 

18 > Face to face 

Karen Videtic talks about using fashion 

as a service-learning opportunity for students. 

19 -* My college town 

James River Film Festival caters to Richmond-area 
cinema lovers. 

20 ■* The big picture 

Classroom lessons at the VCU Rice Center expand 
to the water's edge. 

26 ^ Alumni connections 

The latest news from the alumni association. 

31 ^ Class notes 

Updates from alumni, faculty, staff and friends. 

37 "* Then and now 

Barnes & Noble offers a new textbook definition 
of campus bookstores. 

38 > Datebook 

Upcoming university and alumni events. 

39 > Circa 

University Student Commons: 1984- 

Spring 2009 1 i 

Building VCUs legacy through alumni engagement 

With the retirement of President Eugene P. Trani, 
Ph.D., your university is assessing its past, present and 
future, in preparation for writing the next chapter of its 
history. In ig years, Dr. Trani's leadership has brought 
growth and change to campus and the community, and 
his accomphshments and contributions are featured in 
this issue. We wish him the very best and thank him for 
his stellar service. 

Beckoning to all of us is the opportunity to build 
on the legacy of Dr. Trani and other faculty, students, 
alumni and staff who've come before, as we welcome a new 
president and refresh our dedication to and support for 
Virginia Commonwealth University, 

How might we best build on that legacy? 1 believe the 
path requires us to work together to enhance alumni 

WTiat is alumni engagement? It's establishing the 
alumni association as a primary connection for alumni 
with the university, so that you can capitalize on the 
university's role as a lifelong educational and social 

resource. It's also advancing the university by building active support, commitment and involvement 
among alumni, students, faculty and business and community partners. 

How will we build alumni engagement? The first step is to invite you and all alumni to join the alumni 
association and actively engage in setting our goals and objectives. We're creating several opportunities 
to allow alumni to interact with the association and the university. 

We're improving our Web site, www.vcu-mcvalumni,org, and expanding the networking and services 
available for all alumni, particularly active, dues-paying members who provide essential financial resources 
to fund student and alumni outreach and support. 

We're also increasing our presence on social networks such as Facebook and Linkedin, as well as 
expanding our activities and programs, both on- and off-campus, to engage more alumni in the full range 
of intellectual, service, networking and Ram spirit opportunities available. 

Please review the reunion information and other programming featured in this issue and come back 
to campus to renew friendships with fellow alumni and meet and greet the faculty members and students 
who are keeping the Ram spirit alive and well! 

VCU is achieving recognition for its high-quality programs and facilities and has a lot to offer alumni. 
Your continuing involvement with the university is critical to building and maintaining the type of educa- 
tional environment that leads to sustained excellence. 

Your alumni association is your primary connection to a lifetime of learning and engagement. We need 
you to be an active member of the team! 

Yours for VCU, 

Gordon A. McDougall 

Assistant Vice President, University Alumni Relations 


P.S. Help us keep our communications streamlined and green. Register your e-mail address 

On the cover 

Virginia Commonwealth University President 
Eugene P. Trani. Ph.D.. and the Pauley Pavilion, 
home to the da Vinci Center for Innovation 
in Product Design and Development. 

Spring 2009 • Volume 14, Number 2 

Assistant Vice President, 
University Alumni Relations 
Gordon A. McDougall 

Executive Director, 

VCU Alumni Association 

Diane Stout-Brown (B.S.W, '80/SW) 


Kristen Caldwell (B,S, '94/MC) 

Trina Lambert 

Linda George 

Jessica Foster 


Editorial: Kelli Anderson. Jennifer Carmean 
(B,S, '98/H&S), Teri Dunnivant, Erin Egan, 
Polly Roberts, Melanie Irvin Solaimani 
(B,S. 'ge/MC), Kim Witt 

Design: Pamela Arnold (B.F.A. '87/A), Nathan 
Hanger (B.S. 'oi/MC), Haley Hollenbach 
(B,F,A. 'Ol/A), Katie McBride (B,F,A. 'oVA), 
Matthew Phillips (M,F.A. 'Sy/A). Shannon 

Photograph)': VCU Libraries — Special 
Collections and Archives, Allen Jones 
(B,F,A, '82/A; M,F,A, 'g2/A), Tom Kojcsich 

Shafer Court Connections is published 
semiannually by the Office of Alumni Relations 
and VCU Creative Services for Virginia 
Commonwealth University's alumni, faculty, 
staff and friends. Opinions expressed in this 
magazine do not necessarily represent those 
of the university or magazine staff. 

Send address changes to the Office of Alumni 
Relations, Virginia Commonwealth University, 
g24.W. Franklin St., P,0. Box 84304.4, 
Richmond, VA 23284-3044.; telephone 
(804) 828-25861 vcu-alum@vcu,edu 
or www,vcu-mcvalumni,org. 

Letters to the editor should be sent to Shafer 
Court Connections, Virginia Commonwealth 
University, 827 W, Franklin St,. P,0, Box 
842041. Richmond, VA 23284-2041, or 
e-mail shafercourt@vcu,edu. Please include 
your name, address and a daytime phone 
number; anonymous letters will not be 
published. Letters may be edited for clarity 
or space. 

Contributions of articles, photos and 
artwork are welcome, however, Shafer Court 
Connections accepts no responsibility for 
unsolicited items, 

© 2009, Virginia Commonwealth University. 

An equal opportunity, affirmative action univeniity. 080923-02 

4 i VCU Shafer Court Connections 

University news 

Virginia Commonwealth University 
news and research. For the 
latest updates, visit VCU online 

VC "I ^es Central Michigan hea-^ >-^:-i--"i n-.„ „ ;.-. auu „,„.;,!„„i 

The VCU Board of Visitors announced in late Februai'y that Michael Rao. Ph.D., president of 

Central Michigan University, will be VCU's next president and president of the VCU Health System. 

He also will be a tenured professor in the School of Education. 

Rao, 42. comes to VCU with a broad range of educational experience, including sei'ving 

as a president of a large doctoral research university, university chancellor, president of a two-year 

college and a college dean. 

"Michael Rao's accomplishments are remarkable," says VCU Rector Tom Rosenthal. "Members 

of the board, the presidential search committee and others representing university groups who have 

met Mike are excited about the energy, 
enthusiasm and intelligence he will bring to 
VCU as its fifth president." 

The board's unanimous decision came 
alter an extensive process that sought input 
from the entire university community about 
VCU's future and the type of person who 
should be its next president. A 17-niember, 
universitywide committee used that infor- 
mation as it conducted a national search and 
toi-warded recommendations to the VCU 
Board of Visitors. 

"1 am truly honored to be appointed 
VCU's next president. This is the only posi- 
tion I have pursued, and it is because VCU is 
a dynamic and diverse university in a vibrant 
city. " Rao says. "It is very clear that VCU is 
an institution of opportunity with great 
momentum. I am excited to work wdth all its 
stakeholders to carry that momentum forward 
as we fulfill an important mission as a leading 
urban research university, with high-quality, 
well-integrated academic programs and a 
pre-eminent academic medical center. " 

Rao vdll officially take the helm of the 
university on July I when Eugene P. Trani, 

Ph.D., retires from the positions of VCU president and president and chair of the VCU Health 

System. Trani will remain at VCU as university distinguished professor. 

Rao has served as president and professor at Central Michigan University since 2000. 

CMU, located in Mount Pleasant, Mich., is a public doctoral research institution wit 

28.000 students and an operating budget of more than $400 million. 

Acclaimed debut novelist speaks about his literary journey 

In November, Travis Holland accepted the VCU Cabell First Novelist Award 
and participated in a forum discussion about the journey of his critically acclaimed 
debut novel, "The Archivist's Story," published in 2007- 

Inspired by Isaac Babel, one of Russia's greatest short-story writers, who was 
executed by the Stalinist regime, Holland captures the atmosphere of Moscow at 
the end of the 1930s. The novel follows the ethical and moral dilemmas of the main 
character, an archivist at the Lubyanka Prison who is charged with cataloging (and 
ultimately incinerating) the works of writers who have been denounced and arrested. 

The VCU Cabell First Novelist Award celebrates the VCU M.F.A. in Creative 
Writing Program's yearlong novel workshop — the first in the nation and still one 
of the few in existence. 

VCU President-elect Michael ftao, Ph.D., greets Irene Lubker, 
research librarian at the Tompkins-McCaw Library, and her 
colleagues (from left) Shannon Jones, head of Outreach 
Services, and Barbara Wright, reference services librarian, 
at a March 5 campus forum. 

Electric trucks roll across carmous 

As part of a pilot program to test emissions 
and cost-effectiveness, VCU purchased two 
electric trucks that reduce greenhouse gas 
emissions by 99 percent when compared 
with the diesel-powered Bobcat Toolcats 
already in use on campus. 

The trucks — used for collecting trash, 
recycling and maintaining the grounds on 
VCU's campuses — place VCU among the 
66 percent of universities nationwide that 
reported using hybrid or alternative-energy 
vehicles in 2008. according to the College 
Sustainability Report Card. 

The trucks support VCU's sustainability 
initiatives as a signatory of the American 
College and University Presidents Climate 
Commitment. TTie commitment, which VCU 
signed in April 2008, is an effort among 
universities to address global warming by 
conducting a greenhouse gas inventory and 
establishing a timeline for achieving carbon 

"It is my hope that sustainability becomes 
an integral component of the academic, 
administrative, clinical, operational and 
research activity VCU engages in every 
day," says Jacek Ghosh, who joined VCU 
in September 2008 as director of sustain- 
ability. 'I would like to see sustainability 
become ingrained in VCU's DNA as a matter 

of course." 

The Vantage Electric TruckAll 
truck supports VCU's pursuit 
of a sustainable campus. 


Spring 2009 I 5 

[university news] 

Bill Cosbv kick"^ off lecfure series 

Entertainer Bill Cosby spoke to an enthusi- 
astic VCU audience in December at the Alltel 
Pavilion of the Stuart C. Siegel Center. The 
event culminated a series of celebrations this 
past fall recognizing VCU's 40'^ anniversary 
and was the first presentation in the newly estab- 
lished L. Douglas Wilder Lectureship Series. 

Named for the former Richmond mayor 
and former Virginia governor, and made pos* 
sible by a gift from Dominion Resources, the 
Wilder Lecture will be presented every fall 
and spring semester. Wilder, who also is a 
distinguished professor in the VCU Center 
for Public Policy, was instrumental in bring- 
ing Cosby to VCU, and he will continue to help 
identify speakers for future series lectures. 

Hospital fills a critical need in Va. 

Virginia's only hospital devoted solely 
to critical care was dedicated in October 2008 
at the VCU Medical Center. 

_.nticiji '^fjn.: Hospital at the VCU Medical Center 

Designed with input from more than 600 
doctors, nurses, staff members and patients, the 
15-level, 367,000-square-foot Critical Care 
Hospital increases the medical center's capac- 
ity for treating seriously ill and injured patients 
and includes intensive care units for surgical 
trauma, neonatal, cardiac, neuroscience and 
oncology, as well as the Evans-Haynes Burn 
Center. The largest capital construction project 
in the history of the VCU Medical Center, the 
$184 million Critical Care Hospital houses 232 
adult patient beds, increasing the medical cen- 
ter's ratio of private to semiprivate beds from 37 
percent to 70 percent. 

Art alumna receives 'genius grant' 

Sculptor and VCU School of the Arts gradu- 
ate Tara Donovan (M.F.A. '99/A) won the 
prestigious MacArthur Fellowship in 2008, 
becoming the third former VCU student to win 
the award in the past five years. 

Donovan was one of 25 MacArthur Fellows 
named in September. Each grant winner will 
receive $500,000 over the course of five years 
with no obligations on how the money is spent, 
providing honorees with a large measure of 
freedom to advance their work. 

The John D. and Catherine T. MacAi^thur 
Foundation Fellowships are awarded annually to 
individuals from a variety of fields throughout 
the U.S. Fellows are selected for their "creativ- 
ity, originality and potential." The award is 
often referred to as the "genius grant. " 

Donovan was the subject of a solo exhibit at the 
Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City 
last year and recently completed a major exhibit 
at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston. 

In awarding a fellowship to Donovan, the 
MacArthur Foundation noted that she ""is an 
inventive young sculptor whose installations 




?>> 41 

'■% . ^ 

, rom Mylar sheets and glue, "Untitled 
(Mylar), 2008" illustrates what the MacArthur Foundation 
calls Tara Donovan's "dazzling body of work that will enrich 
the fields of contemporary sculpture and installation for 
years to come." 

bring wonder to the most common objects of 
everyday life. Donovan's site-specific, sculptural 
works transform ordinary accumulated materials 
into intriguing visual and physical installations." 

VCU, W&M partner on life sciences 

In January, The College of William &. Mary 
and VCU announced a partnership that pools 
the research and expertise of their environmen- 
tal science programs. 

Under the agreement. William &. Mary's 
Center for Conservation Biology, best known 
for its work with bald eagles and ensuring sus- 
tainability of bird populations, wdll draw on its 
extensive academic programs in biology, bio- 
science and computational modeling, while 
providing a close connection with the consider- 
able expertise within the VCU Inger and Walter 
Rice Center for Environmental Life Sciences. 

The collaboration will be named the College 
of William &. MaryA^irginia Commonwealth 
University Center for Conservation Biology 
at the VCU Rice Center. 

Faculty honors 

M. Njeri Jackson, Ph.D., special assistant for diversity in the Office 
of the Provost and associate professor in the Department of African 
American Studies and the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government 
and Public Affairs, received the 2008 Women of Color Professional 
Achie.ernent Recognition Award from the Women's Caucus for 
Political Science. 

The American Physical Society elected Alenka Luzar, Ph.D., 
professor in the Department of Chemistry, to the status of Fellow. 

The Institute of Medicine of the National Academies elected 
Joseph Ornato, M.D., professor and chair of the Department 
of Emergency Medicine, to its member ranks. 

The American Association for the Advancement of Science named 
two VCU professors as Fellows: Audrey Smedley, Ph.D., profes- 
sor emeritus of anthropology with a joint appointment in African 
American Studies, and Sarah Spiegel, Ph.D., professor and chair 
of the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology. 

June Nicholson, associate director and associate professor in the David Wojahn, director of the creative writing program in the 

School of Mass Communications, received the 2008 Robert P. Knight Department of English, received a 2009 Outstanding Faculty Award 

Multicultural Reci uii.ment Award from the Association for Education from the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia and the 

in Journalism and Mass Communication. Dominion Foundation. 

6 i VCU Shafer Court Connections 

"One of the priorities of my administration 
has been to work collaboratively with The College 
of William & Mary and this agreement brings 
together two very strong areas of expertise," says 
VCU President Eugene P. Trani, Ph.D. 

Last year, VCU and William &. Mary created 
the VCU-William & Mary Health Policy and 
Law Initiative, which draws on faculty from the 
two institutions to conduct research, provide 
public service and offer joint degree programs 
that focus on solving topical problems in health 
policy, law and bioethics. 

Research repor: 

VCU and William & Mary begin a partnership in 
conservation biology. Pictured clockwise from top 
left: Leonard Smock, Ph.D.. director, VCU Rice Center, 
Bryan Watts. Ph.D.. director. William & Mary Center 
for Conservation Biology; Mitchell Byrd, Ph.D., 
chancellor professor emeritus of biology at William 
& Mary; Taylor Reveley, J.D., president, William 
& Mary; and Eugene P. Trani, Ph.D., president, VCU. 

Heart center uses new imaging too 

The VCU Pauley Heart Center is the first 
in the U.S. to use the Vivid i system, a new type 
of intracardiac uhrasound machine that pro- 
duces enhanced imaging of the heart, allowing 
cardiac electrophysiologists to better diagnose 
and treat atrial fibrillation. 

Affecting more than 2 million Americans, 
atrial fibrillation interferes with the heart's 
ability to efficiently pump blood, which can lead 
to clots and possibly a stroke. 

"It gives us spectacular images of the heart, 
our catheters in the heart and the structures 
in the heart and helps us do an even better job 
of ablating atrial fibrillation more safely and 
more effectively." says Kenneth Ellenbogen, 
M.D., professor of cardiology and director 
of the cardiac electrophysiology lab at the 
VCU Medical Center. 



Scientists at Penn State University and VCU have discov- 
ered a way to produce hydrogen by exposing selected clusters 
of aluminum atoms to water. The findings demonstrate that 
it is the geometries of these aluminum clusters, rather than 
solely their electronic properties, that govern the proximity of 
the clusters' exposed active sites. 

Supported by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, 
the team, which includes VCU physics professor Shiv Khanna, 
Ph.D., and postdoctoral associate Arthur Reber, found that the 
aluminum clusters react differently when exposed to water 
depending on their sizes and their unique geometric struc- 
tures. Three of the aluminum clusters produced hydrogen Shiv KInanna, Ph.D. 
from water at room temperature. 

"Traditional techniques for splitting water to produce hydrogen generally require a lot 
of energy at the time the hydrogen is generated. But our method allows us to produce 
hydrogen without supplying heat, connecting to a battery or adding electricity. Once the 
aluminum clusters are synthesized, they can generate hydrogen on demand without the 
need to store it," Khanna says. 

Gene discovery could lead to new cancer therapies 

SARI, a new anti-tumor gene identified by VCU researchers, suppresses the growth 
and survival of tumor cells by interfering with the action of cancer cell molecules that 
drive cell division and promote survival. 

Supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Samuel Waxman Cancer 
Research Foundation and the National Foundation for Cancer Research, the investigators 
delivered SARI to cancer cells using a virus, and the infected cancer cells subsequently 
stopped dividing and died. As 90 percent of all cancer types rely on a similar mechanism 
to proliferate and evade destruction, researchers noted that SARI could be an effective 
anti-cancer treatment for many tumors. 

"We have uncovered a new way by which interferon can induce anti-tumor activity. 
The identification of SARI also provides a new potential reagent for the selective killing 
of tumor cells," says lead investigator Paul B. Fisher, M.Ph., Ph.D., professor and chair 
of the Department of Human and Molecular Genetics and director of the VCU Institute 
of Molecular Medicine in the VCU School of Medicine. Subtraction hybridization, a pow- 
erful technique pioneered in Fisher's laboratory, uncovered SARI. 

Next, the team plans to develop improved approaches to more effectively target the 
delivery of SARI. 

contirms power 

scan as an imaginj 

A nationwide study involving VCU researchers confirmed the effectiveness of positron 
emission tomography (PET) scans in monitoring tumor activity across a range of cancers. Thi 
results could lead to expanded Medicare coverage for PET scans in diagnosing, staging and 
restaging all cancers. 

Researchers reported results by cancer type for two years of data collected from nearly 
41,000 PET studies conducted at more than 1,300 cancer centers nationwide and found 
the impact of PET did not vary significantly among cancers. 

"As a result, we believe that coverage for PET in the staging, restaging and detec- 
tion of recurrence of cancer should be handled the same across the board," says Bruce 
E. Hillner, M.D., professor of medicine at the VCU Massey Cancer Center and lead 
author of the article, published in the December issue of The Journal of Nuclear Medi- 
cine. Hillner serves as chair of the National Oncologic PET Registry, which ensures access 
to Medicare reimbursement for certain types of PET scans. ; 






k -^ " 




Eugene P. Trani 

reflects on his 19-year tenure as 
the university's visionary leader 



and autnor woiiict 

a no 

ted hidti 
he nistori 

or a 6 c no tar 



With the nation's college and university presidents serving on average 
8.5 years, according to the American Education Council, the 
19-year presidency of Eugene P. Irani, Ph.D., represents one 
of the longest tenures of any university system president 
in modern times. Virginia Commonwealth University benefited 
from Dr. Trani's longevity as he led VCU through a strategic 
transformation, building the university into a major urban 
research institution and the largest university in Virginia. 

As he prepares to retire as president of VCU and president 
and chair of the VCU Health System, Dr. Irani shares his 
thoughts on the university's growth and its impact throughout 
the region since he arrived on campus in 1990. 

(First row, from left) Francis L. Macrina, Ph.D., VCU vice president for research, Dr. Irani 
and Sheldon Retchin, M.D., M.S. P.M., VCU Health System CEO and VCU Health Sciences 
vice president • Virginia General Assembly resolution commending Dr. Trani's leadership 
•Hibbs Hall • Campaign for VCU celebration (Second row, from left) VCU School of the 
Arts in Qatar • Monroe Park Campus Addition • VCU Commencement • Robert T. Skunda, 
president and CEO, Virginia BioTechnology Research Park, and Dr. Irani (Third row, from left) 
Dr. Irani on C-SPAN2's Book IV- Novelist loni Morrison and Dr. Irani • Dr. Irani's "retired" jersey 
in the Alltel Pavilion at the Siegel Center • VCU Critical Care Hospital (Fourth row, from left) 
Dr. Irani's inaugural address • Linden Court • VCU Inger and Walter Rice Center for Environmental 
Life Sciences • Dr. Irani and his wife, Lois, with former President Bill Clinton 

Dr. Irani at VCU's 40th Anniversary in fall 2008 (center) celebrates the growth of the university, v^hich includes more than $2.2 
billion in capital construction and renovation projects on the Monroe Park Campus (far left) and MCV Campus since 1990- 


During your presidency, VCU set 
many enrollment records, and VCU 
became Virginia's largest public uni- 
versity. How has a growing student 
population been an asset to VCU, and 
has a larger student body changed 
the VCU experience? 

It clearly has given us a critical mass to do 
different things — for example, a critical mass 
of life science students and a critical mass of 
engineering students. I think it has helped 
our prestige within the commonwealth since 
so many of our students are from Virginia. 
We have almost 600 freshmen from Fairfax 
County this year and, therefore, I can go into 
the office of almost any legislator from Fairfax 
County and they know all about VCU. They 
didn't used to know about VCU. 

If you were advising parents of a 17-year- 
old student weighing college choices, 
what would you tell them about VCU? 

I would tell them it would be a real-world 
experience. It's not isolated physically or 
psychologically. We are in a great metro- 
politan area with a diverse student body 
that reflects what the United States looks 
like — what the world looks like. And we 
prepare our students for the world of work 
— and we're very good at that. This is no 
ivy-covered isolated place. VCU represents 
the real world, and I think our students are 
ready to go out into that world when they 

10 1 VCU Shafer Court Connections 

When I met Dr. Trani in 1999, he ignited my passion to 
become involved with my alma mater. Gene has trans- 
formed VCU ... to the world-class healing, teaching, 
research and residential university that we are today. 
When I think about all the positive change that has taken 
place, I realize that Dr Trani not only has reinvented VCU, 
but he has also had a material impact on changing the face 

of the city of Richmond. - Richard J. "Dick" Robertson (B.S. '67/MC) 9k Wi 

Raising institutional pride has been a pri- 
ority for your administration. What do 
you think it means to be a Ram today? 

I think it's much more meaningful. Certainly, 
the only identification is not athletics, but 

if you were at the VCU-George Mason game, 
which was on ESPN2, you really got a sense 
for what it means to be a Ram. They're proud. 
They're boisterous, but they're respectful. 
There's just a great feeling. Our students 
have clearly rallied around our athletic teams 

and the concept of VCU, and our faculty 
and staff and many of our alumni have really 
become very supportive. So it means some- 
thing special. 

The connection between the city and 
VCU became increasingly important 
during your tenure, with major campus 
construction projects, partnerships 
and revitalization. How do you see that 

I'm sure it will continue. I think it's part of 
who we are. It certainly was not new with 
me — maybe a little more focused than it 
had been in the past. We are an urban insti- 
tution — proud to be an urban institution — 
and our students and faculty benefit all the 
time from close interactions with the city 
in terms of their research, in terms of their 
community service and in terms of their 
teaching opportunities. It is at the core of 
what VCU is. 

What spots on VCU's campuses are 
most special to you? 

I love the Egyptian Medical Sciences 
Courtyard — that's a special place. The 
courtyard in the Life Sciences building is a 
special place, as is the walk from my office 
to the library, passing the dining facility and 
Hibbs Hall. And what I especially like is that 
there is a real sense of the two campuses 
more now than we ever had before. Our 
physical facilities people do a wonderful 



unini conimen 
rUJr. ^ixuii J leadership 

About 200 current and former alumni 
leaders attended a Feb. 19 reception 
at the VCU Scott House honoring 
President Irani. The VCU Alumni 
Association and the MCV Alumni 
Association of VCU commended Dr. 
Trani and his wife, Lois, with a resolu- 
tion in their honor Dan Massey (B.S. 
'92/B), (center) VCUAA president, 
and Mary S. Shall, Ph.D. (Ph.D. '91/M), 
(far left) MCVAA president, presented 
Dr. Trani with a the resolution. 

job in terms of keeping VCU up and clean 
and modernized. It's a great place to walk 

What favorite memories do you have 
of your early years at VCU? 

I think it was the establishment of the 
Virginia BioTechnology Research Park and the 
establishment of the School of Engineering. 
These were certainly early signals as to what 
VCU was going to become. 

What are you most proud of about 
your tenure here at VCU? 

I think VCU has become one university — 
we didn't start as a university. University of 
Virginia and William & Mary started as universi- 
ties and then things grew out from there. We 
didn't have a corpus. We have a corpus now — 
and it's strong, vital and growing. 

When you came to VCU in 1990, did 
you envision leading the university for 
nearly two decades? 

No. I thought eight to 10 years, but it's gone 
quickly. With my physical difficulties of the 
past year, it's time. I'm ready. I'm also 69 years 

What's next for you, President Trani? 

I have three books under way - one coming 
out in May on American-Russian-Chinese 
relations in the 20th century. It's being 
published in English, Russian, Chinese and 
Spanish. And I have one that is due to pub- 
lishers in July on universities and economic 
development. My co-author on foreign 
policy and I have started a biography of 
Harrison Salisbury. And since there are 675 
boxes of papers that we're going through, 
I think it'll be a long process. I'm also 
going to teach modules here in the Honors 

What does the future hold for VCU? 

It's very bright. I think the infrastructure is 
here. I am very pleased with the appoint- 
ment of Michael Rao to be my successor. The 
board and the search committee have found 
the right person to continue VCU's transfor- 
mation as a world-class university and aca- 
demic medical center. 

1990 to present 

• VCU's enrollment has increased from 
21,764 in 1990 to 32,077 in 2008, a 47 
percent increase. VCU now has the 
largest student body of any university 
in Virginia. The growth in VCU's enroll- 
ment has been in full-time students, the 
number of which has increased more 
than 60 percent over the past lO years. 
In addition, the size of the freshman 
class has increased from 1,612 to 3,756, 
more than doubling. 

■ VCU remains a diverse university — 
minority students make up more than 
one-third of our student body. VCU's inter- 
national student enrollments increased 
by 170 percent over the past nine years 
to more than 1,500 students. In addition, 
60 percent of VCU students are female. 

• From 1990 through the present, VCU 
and the medical center have undertaken 
or been authorized to undertake more 
than $2.2 billion in capital construction 
and renovation projects. More than half 
of the total has been funded with private 
gifts, university resources or hospital rev- 
enues. Another $930 million in projects 
are planned. 

• VCU's sponsored research program 
awards increased 218 percent, from $71 
million in awards and contracts in 1990 
to more than $223 million in 2008. 

• Annual private giving to VCU has grown 
from an average of $11 million a year dur- 
ing the 1990s to an average $58 million a 
year during the past seven years. VCU's 
endowment and unrestricted invest- 
ments have risen from $63.8 million in 
1990 to nearly $427 million in the first 
quarter of 2008. 

• VCU continues innovative efforts to inter- 
nationalize its campuses by establishing 
universitywide international partnerships 
with universities from around the world, 
including 10 non-European partners. 
During his presidency. Dr. Trani has estab- 
lished significant linkages in the Middle 
East, Europe, Africa, Central and South 
America and Asia. Currently, VCU has 
developed partnerships with 14 universi- 
ties, most with academic medical centers. 

Spring 2009 1 11 



Legacy families link 

the past, present and future 

of Virginia Commonwealth University 

By Erin Egan 

As members of an exclusive club, Virginia Commonwealth University families 
with multiple graduates share a special bond. These family members 
appreciate the educational excellence of a VCU degree as they 
reminisce about their days as students, continue campus rituals 
and nurture Ram pride. 

The number of legacy families at VCU continues to grow, 
as students with alumni parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, 
cousins, brothers or sisters carry on a family tradition. 

Shafer Court Connections recently spoke to four 
legacy families who reveal how their unique VCU 
link strengthens their connection to one another. 

-r Court Connections 

e : ■■,.fl^: ■'- 

Building a 

The Chesterfield-based Robinson 
family, from left: Maurice Robinson, 
Catharine Robinson Anderson, Ellen 
Robinson Sheehy, Spencer Robinson, 
Norman Robinson and Joan Lemieux 

The Robinson clan boasts nine members who attended VCU — and its 
predecessors — through the years. The eldest member of the Chesterfield 
County-based family, Everett Robinson, attended the university when 
it was the Richmond Division of The College of William & Mary. Another 
brother, Maurice Robinson (B.S. '65/B), worked his way through the 
Richmond Professional Institute. Younger siblings Ellen Robinson Sheehy 
(B.S. '72/SW) and Norman Robinson (B.S. '72/B) followed their older broth- 
ers to VCU several years later. 

"I think I influenced them to go," says Maurice, a retired accountant for CSX Railroad. 
"I really did like VCU and thought I got a good education. My siblings enjoyed the school 
and it had what they wanted." 

Norman, president of the nonprofit EastPay, earned his degree and met his future wife, Joan Lemieux Robinson (B.S. '73/E), 
at VCU. The two married in 1974. Twenty years later, the next generation of Robinsons, Maurice's children Catharine Robinson 
Anderson (B.S. '94/E) and Maurice "Joey" Robinson Jr. (B.S. '98/I-I&S), and, then later, Norman's son Spencer Robinson 
(B.S. 'Ol/B) and son-in-law Walter C. Crenshaw V (B.S. '04/B; M.A. ■07/B) continued the family's VCU tradition. 

"It was a great fit," says Joey of VCU. He started at the university after high school but put his education 
on hold to get married and start a family. He now works as a project manager with the New York engineering 
firm Clough Harbour and Associates. 

"I actually went back and got my degree after I had three kids and while I was working 
full time," he says. "I did it the hard way. I can tell you I appreciated it a lot more. It was quite 
an accomplishment." 

Talk at Robinson family gatherings often gravitates toward VCU and the latest 
campus news. "I wear my class ring religiously and that seems to always spark 
conversation about VCU and how it's changed," Joey says. 

The family knows their household of VCU diplomas makes them unique. "It's 

really kind of interesting that we all went there," Norman says. "We have a neat 

common bond among us. It's just an awesome school. We're all very proud of it." 

The third generation of Robinsons might soon be headed to VCU, thus 

turning this family's legacy into a dynasty. VCU ranks high on the list of possible 

schools for two of Joey's kids. "We'll get one down there eventually," he says. 

"We're going to get that third generation." 



Celebrating a 

Kathleen Barrett with daughter Catie 
Besenfelder McConnell in 1971 at 
Barrett's VCU graduation (top) and 
20 years later at McConnell's VCU 

Catie Besenfelder McConnell (B.S. 91/B) and Elizabeth White Baker (Ph.D. b6/B) 
practically bleed black and gold. Their mother, Kathleen Barrett (B.S. '71/B; M.S. '73/B), 
gave birth to the two sisters while she attended the university. As one of just four 
women in the business school at the time, Kathleen received flowers from her dean 
with a note saying he'd never had a graduate student give birth before. "That's how rare 
it was for a woman to be in the business school," she says. 

When it came time for her daughter to go to college, Kathleen was thrilled with 
Catie's choice. "It really meant a lot when she decided to come to VCU," Kathleen 
says. "And then when her little boys were born, we started bringing them." 

Kathleen passes down her excitement for VCU to her grandsons. They attended 

the opening of the Stuart C. Siegel Center and frequently accompany their 

grandmother to Rams basketball games. Kathleen, who can walk to games from 

her Fan District home, is a fixture in the stands. "Taking mom to games is like taking 

the belle of the ball," Elizabeth says. "She knows everyone!" 

In October 2008, mother and daughter also attended the outdoor Monroe 
Park Festival, one of several community events that celebrated VCU's 40th 
anniversary. "We came down in the pouring rain," Kathleen says, "but those 
traditions mean a lot." 

When Elizabeth, now an assistant dean at the Virginia Military Institute, 
moved from Arizona to Richmond to pursue her doctorate at VCU, her mother 
couldn't have been happier. "For her to be in the business school where I had 
gone, I just thought that was so much fun," Kathleen says. 
i Elizabeth endured some good-natured ribbing from her Ram family 

/ members. "My mom and sister were like, 'We knew it would get you in the 

end,' " she jokes about her enrollment in VCU. Her family also made sure 
to outfit her in appropriate VCU gear and teased her by saying she was not 
a real VCU student until she could parallel park. 
Kathleen, CEO of St. Joseph's Villa, keeps up with VCU happenings as 
a member of the business school alumni organization and as former president 
of both the VCU Alumni Association and Friends of the Library boards. Because 
her two daughters know how much VCU and the School of Business mean to their 
mother, they made a donation to the school, which named a faculty office for her 
in Snead Hall. 
"It seemed like the natural thing to do," says Catie, a nurse at the VCU Medical 
Center. "Our mother is well-deserving. She spent a huge chunk of her life there." 
The gift not only touched their mother, but it also reaffirmed the family's 
continuous VCU connection. "We felt like we were part of the business building, 
that we had a stake in it," Elizabeth says. 

Kathleen beams at the thought of the lasting reminder of her VCU experience and 
appreciates her daughters' thoughtfulness. 
"That will go on forever, I hope," she says of the office. "It was just a beautiful thing 
for them to do." 

■ I VCU Shafer Court Connections 



Daughter and father duo Becky Gregory 
and Jim Gregory 

Comparing a similar 

Becky Gregory (B.F.A. '04/A) totes around a couple of 
souvenirs that remind her of VCU. The owner and creative 
director at Protege Design, Becky keeps her VCU ID and that 
of her father, Jim Gregory (B.F.A. '71/A), with her at all times. 
"He looks like a hippie," she says of her dad's picture. "It's funny 
because he doesn't look like that anymore. He looks like a clean- 
cut businessman." 

Today, Jim serves as CEO of CoreBrand, a global brand 
consulting firm. His and his daughter's similar career paths 
included a first stop at VCU. Jim's high school guidance 
counselor recommended VCU as a school that nurtured its 
art students. 

"I came down for a visit and totally fell in love with VCU 
right from the beginning," he says. "The Art Foundation 
Program was just outstanding and allowed me to find what 
I really wanted to do." 

When his daughter, a budding artist, began her college 
search, Jim threw out a suggestion. "I just knew she had 
to experience VCU," he says. "When we came down from 
Connecticut for a visit, we actually met some of my old profes- 
sors who were still here. The vibe was just fantastic. We had 
a great time." 

Becky headed south to VCU and whenever she called 
home her dad understood completely about her experiences 
with classes, professors and workload. "I think that my dad 
really connected with that," she says. "He just thought it was 
the coolest thing." 

As one of the most recognized experts in corporate brand- 
ing, who speaks widely to business and academic audiences, 
Jim occasionally returns to VCU to lecture art students. "It 
is just so gratifying to see how the spirit of the school has 
remained the same over these many years," he says. "I gradu- 
ated in 1971. Becky graduated in 2004. But that same energy 
and excitement about art and design and the spirit of the 
school hasn't changed one bit. That's just really cool." 

The Gregorys work together on many projects but live on 
separate coasts — Becky in California and Jim in Connecticut. 
The two communicate constantly on everything from art to 
advertising. Not even a distance of 3,000 miles can belie their 

"We have a real bond because of our background, what we've 
done, our interest in art, having gone to the same school with the 
same major and developing our same business plan," Jim says. 
"It's really very unusual. It's very rewarding and a lot of fun." 

I just knew she had to experience VCU. r ■ ■ • 

The vibe was just TdflldSHC* 

- Jim Gregory (B.F.A. '7l/A) 

Felix Sarfo-Kantanka and 
Felix Sarfo-Kantanka Jr. at 
VCU's Gary Street Field 


owing a 



As a 3-year-old, Felix Sarfo-Kantanka Jr. (M.P.A. 'oi/H&S) 
watched his father, Felix Sarfo-Kantanka (B.S. '77/B; M.P.A. 
'80/I-I&S), receive his master's diploma at VCU's commence- 
ment. It was the first of many father-son VCU experiences. 

Originally from Ghana in West Africa, Felix lived in New York 
where he worked for the Institute of Public Administration. 
Wanting to continue his education, he applied to three Virginia 
schools: VCU, the University of Richmond and the University 
of Virginia. VCU accepted Felix first, and he scheduled a visit. 
"I wastreated very well when I cameto VCU,"hesays. "I decided 
after the visit that I wouldn't wait for the two other schools." 

In quick succession, Felix earned his bachelor's and master's 
degrees and joined the Virginia Department of Social Services, 
where he still works today. 

When Felix Jr. began looking at schools for his master's 
studies, he applied to Virginia Tech and VCU. "A lot of the 
choice had to do with my father graduating from VCU's M.P.A. 
program," he says. "I thought it would be a unique experience 
to follow him." 

His son's decision to enroll at VCU pleased the elder 
Sarfo-Kantanka. "It meant a lot to me in terms of family tradi- 
tion," he says. "Back home, most parents want their kids to go 
to the high school or college that they went to. It was a great 
joy for the entire family when he was accepted into the same 

At Felix Jr.'s graduation, his father proudly watched his 
son at the Richmond Coliseum commencement ceremony. 
The uniqueness of the event hit home. "Just the fact that 
I was doing the same thing my father had done was really, really 
neat," Felix Jr. says. 

They both keep close VCU ties through soccer. Felix often 
took his son to VCU games when he was growing up. In fact, 
Felix Jr. served as the ball boy when the team played at Cary 
Street Field. Felix, a referee who calls games up to the college 
level, assists VCU men's soccer coach Tim O'Sullivan by acting 
as a surrogate father to soccer players recruited from Ghana. 

"VCU is very much a part of our lives," Felix Jr. says. 

The Sarfo-Kantankas became the first father and son to 
graduate from the Master of Public Administration program at 
VCU, an accomplishment they both consider "a great honor" 
and one that primed them for the workplace. 

"VCU prepared my son well to meet his future challenges, 
and he has answered the call very well," Felix says. "He is highly 
motivated, hard working, very focused and, above all, a very 
caring individual." 

Felix Jr., an assistant vice president with McGuireWoods 
Consulting, says his father set a high standard. "My dad 
was working full time and going to school full time when he 
graduated," he says. "He showed me that hard work goes 
a long way. I just try to follow in his footsteps." 

Erin Egan is a contributing writer for Shafer Court Connections. 

'C V.Z 

Legacy scholarships benefit freshman family members of alumni 

In 2006, the VCU Alumni Association and the MCV 
Alumni Association of VCU created a Legacy Scholarship 
to recognize the importance of multi-generation families 
to the university. Legacy scholarships are awarded to 
freshman children or grandchildren of dues-paying 
members of the alumni association. 

VCU Alumni Association President Dan Massey 
(B.S. '92/B) sees the Legacy Scholarship program as a 
vital component to the future success of the association. 
"Awarding Legacy Scholarships helps the VCUAA meet 
a core objective by creating lifelong connections with 

students as they become alumni," he says. "This schol- 
arship program supports students financially, supports 
the university in attracting and retaining top students 
and helps to grow the influence and impact of the VCU 
alumni community." 

The scholarship awards of $1,000 each are made 
possible through the generosity of donors and dues- 
paying members of the association. For an application, 
additional information about the Legacy Scholarship 

program or to support it, visit ^ , ■ 

.p or sieniftcant other 
Please contact us at shat 




Just the fact that I was doing 

the same thing my father had done 

was really, really neat. 

■ Fe/ix Sarfo-Kantanka Jr. (M.P.A. WH&S) 

[face to face] 

Dress it up: .Z 


Karen Videtic knows how to put on a fashion show. So it was a natural fit for Videtic, chair of the Department of Fashion Design 
and Merchandising at Virginia Commonwealth University, to help organize a fashion show fundraiser for the Association for 
the Support of Children with Cancer, known as ASK. Videtic liked the idea of using fashion to raise funds for ASK, an orga- 
nization that supports the VCU Children's Medical Center hematology/oncology unit, but proposed taking it a step further. 
"How about if we come up with something else," she suggested, "something that would benefit the kids and raise money?" 

She enlisted students and faculty to design youthful fabrics and a line of loungewear for children and young adults with 
cancer being treated at VCU Medical Center and then invited patients to model the apparel in a fashion show during 
ASK's Kourageous Kids Week last fall. "They wanted to be fun and in fashion," Videtic says of the patients they worked 
with. The ASK for Comfort garments feature port-friendly access for chemotherapy treatment in stylish designs, including 
capri pants, board shorts, hoodies, T-shirts and swing and wrap tops. 

Videtic recently sat down to talk about the unique apparel. 

What was the design process like? In this 
kind of project, you have to understand your 
customer and what their needs are, so the 
design process began with researching the 
needs of kids with cancer. From there, we 
started to look at silhouettes and functional- 
ity, where the accessible seams are going to be 
and how are they going to get to their ports. 

Then the garment is fit to a real body so 
you can see how it moves and fits. And there's 
a really important reason why; Dress forms 
are not totally anatomically correct and every 
body's slightly different. There's probably 
nothing funnier to see than a garment that's 
been made poorly put on a child, because kids 
will wiggle, squirm and pull on them to tell 
you right off that it's not comfortable. 

How do the garments differ from standard 
loungewear? They look pretty much like 
pajamas or loungewear, but all of them have 
an easy-access opening to the typical port 
areas. Most of the port areas are on either side 
of the chest. So the seams would either be a 
shoulder seam or a seam that came across the 

front of the chest that is held together by 
small, plastic snaps that are easily opened and 
re-closed. We can custom make other things, 
like breakaway pants for a child who needs to 
remove their pants. 

What was the response to the loungewear? 

We held a fashion show in September, and we 
had about a hundred people at the Children's 
Museum of Richmond — people who were 
supporters of ASK and friends and family 
of kids who are cancer survivors. The models 
were kids who were in treatment, as well as 
their siblings — we tried to make all of them 
feel special. One of the best parts was to see 
how e.xcited the kids were. I think that was a 
really good feeling for me and the faculty and 
students who had participated, to know how 
much they were appreciated and how special 
they were to the kids receiving treatment. 

What's in store for the program's future? 
We're going to initially meet the needs of the 
kids right here, but people can also order the 
garments from our Web site — 

— and they will be custom-made. What we 
hope is that we can copyright the textiles and 
sell them to a fabric company and they sell that 
fabric during Pediatric Cancer Month with 
a percentage going to ASK. Maybe if we 
got really lucky, someone would actually buy 
the production and make these accessible 
garments, and they could sell them and give a 
percentage, again, to ASK. We would also like 
our team to design once a year both the textiles 
and the garments. 

How has the program benefited VCU fash- 
ion students? Our key goal all along has been 
that students get to understand that fashion 
isn't all 7th Avenue and 5th Avenue and 
runway and exotic, crazy garments. It's very 
functional — it helps people and it's some- 
times function over form. We really want 
them to understand fashion — that there are 
lots of things you can do with fashion that 
serve the community. 

Interview conducted by Kim Witt, a contributing 
writer for Sbafer Court Connections. 

18 I VCU Shafer Court Connections 

[my college town] 



Richmond-area cinema lovers need 
look no further than the annual 
James River Film Festival for an 
impressive lineup of independent film, video 
and animation. Since April 1994- the festival 
has welcomed nationally and internationally 
knovvn filmmakers to town to screen and 
discuss their works. 

The brainchild of Mike Jones (B.S. 'y^/MC; 
M.F.A. '86/A), an adjunct instructor 
in the Virginia Commonwealth University 
Department of yVrt History, the festival began 
to fill a community void after the demise 
of the Biograph Theater, a popular repertory 
cinema located a block from campus on Grace 
Street. Jones and other community members 
lamented newly released films with nowhere 
to go. "We started talking to see if we could 
pull off a festival that VCU would host," 
he remembers. 

Support from Bruce Koplin (B.F.A. 
'61/A), then chair of VCU's art history 
department, and numerous other VCU 
alumni, including Harrison Trent Nicholas 

(B.F.A. '74 /A), an adjunct instructor 
in the department, and Ashley Kistler 
(M.A. '85/A), the current director of the 
Anderson Gallery, got the inaugural festival 
off the ground. The initial program featured 
William Wegman, the New York-based 
artist famous for his videos and photographs 
of WeiiTiaraners. After Jones and his troupe 
of unpaid volunteers pulled off the event 
successfully, "we thought we'd keep on keeping 
on for years," he says. 

The festival did just that, and since then 
luminaries of the independent film world 
have descended upon Richmond. Among 
them were prolific filmmaker Stan Brakhage, 
Albert Maysles, director of "Gimme Shelter, " 
and Scott MacDonald, a well-known avant-garde 
film critic. 

Various venues throughout the city, 
including many VCU building auditoriums 
and theaters, the Byrd Theatre and local 
art galleries, host screenings. Festival orga- 
nizers take great pains to pick the right venue 
for each film. "We look for spaces that are 

appropriate for the artist," says James Parrish, 
director of development at the VCU School 
of Nursing, who joined the festival organizing 
committee in 199^- 

One perfect match of artist and location 
featured guitarist Gary Lucas at the Virginia 
Holocaust Museum in 2003, when he accom- 
panied "The Golem," a 1920s silent-era film 
about the Jewish myth. 

The festival relies heavily on dedicated 
volunteers to plan and e.xecute the week- 
long event, as well as attend the programs. 
"Richmond is the kind oi creative community 
that comes out and supports this kind 
of thing," Parrish says. "Lots of artists, 
photographers, musicians and painters 
come to be inspired in what they do by this 

In 1999. Jones and Parrish set up 
a nonprofit for the growing festival, and 
the Richmond Moving Image Co-op will 
turn 10 this year. Today, the co-op runs the 
festival, which includes a juried competition 
with $2,000 in prize money, and supports 
independent media artists with screenings, 
classes and workshops. 

Jones and Parrish delight in the unique 
festival that brings together established and 
emerging artists and feel satisfied that the fun- 
damental purpose remains. 

"Our original mission was to use local 
talent to put on programs and get these guest 
artists face to face with potential young film- 
makers," says Jones proudly. "I'm just hoping 
for another 15 years." 

For more information about the James 
River Film Festival, visit 

Erin Egan is a contributing writer for 
Shafer Court Connections. 



LIVING LABORATORY > On Virginia Commonwealth University's Monroe 
Park Campus, students study, learn and conduct research in state-of-the-art 
facilities with Richmond's bustling Fan District as their backdrop. But 
only 23 miles east of the city in Charles City County sits the VCU Inger 
and Walter Rice Center for Environmental Life Sciences, a 342 -acre field 
station, including a 70-acre wetland restoration site, that promotes 
Y '1 hands-on learning along the banks of the James River. Here, classroom 

lessons expand to the water's edge and beyond, providing faculty with a bevy of 
natural resources and wildlife at their fingertips and the opportunity to share 
their research and teaching with students and the community. The center's 
5,100-square-foot Raymond Lee Gordon Jr. Research Pier accommodates 
boats and offers space for easy loading of research equipment, while the new 
Walter L. Rice Education Building — a $2.6 million, 4.900-square-foot 
facility designed with a goal of the highest national certification level for sus- 
tainability — houses classrooms overlooking a bluff on the James River, an 
uncommon setting for the most comprehensive urban university in the state. 



Gifts support, contribute to student success 

B\ Melanie Irvin Solaimani 

To freshman engineering student Afton Trent, ig. earning a 
scholarship drastically altered her college experience. 

She was accepted to several schools, including one with a nationally 
ranked engineering program. 

"The interdisciplinai-y nature of VCU's program really appealed 
to me. At other schools. 1 would have had to piece together my own 
interdisciplinary program. " she says. "Also, having this scholarship is 
the only way 1 was able to live on campus." 

Living in Gladding Residence Center puts her in close pro.ximity 
to the School oi Engineering, allowing her the convenience of ineeting 
with students in the computer lab to work on projects and giving her 
easy access to visit professors for extra help. Trent says. 

Trent is one of lO Trani Scholars, who were selected by a blue-ribbon 
committee to be awarded the universitys highest student honor. The 
Trani Scholars program was created in 2006 by an initial $1 million gift 
from longtime benefactors Dianne and C. Kenneth Wright. 

The Wrights wanted to honor the vision, leadership and accomplisliments 
of VCU President Eugene P. Trani, Ph.D., as he neared retirement. 

'"Dr. Trani is the most confident and professional person I have ever 
known in the academic field, " Ken Wright says. 

Funding scholarships, the couple decided, provided the perfect 
source of recognition for Dr. Trani as a symbol of his devotion to mak- 
ing a college education accessible to everyone. 

The scholarships given to the Trani Scholars represent just some of 
the more than 250 scholarships that donors have endowed. 

""Over 70 percent of our students require some form of finan- 
cial assistance in order to continue their education," says Reuban 
Rodriguez, Ed.D., associate vice provost and dean of student affairs. 
'Scholarships provide an excellent source of support for our stu- 
dents as well as an important con- 
nection to our generous VCU 
community. " 

Scholarships make it pos- 
sible for many deserving students 
to attend VCU, as well as help 
attract the brightest, most meri- 
torious students to the university. 
Endowed scholarships are created 
with a minimum $I0,000 gift (see 
"Starting an endowed scholar- 
ship"). The principal is invested 
and the interest of 5 percent is 

Starting an endowed scholarship 

Fund minimum 
Partial scholarship $10,000 

Tuition and fees scholarship $100,000 

Full scholarship* $200,000 

Graduate fellowship $200,000 

Full out-of-state scholarship** $400,000 

* Covers In-state tuition, fees, room and board and provides funding for books. 
** Covers out-of-state tuition, fees, room and board and provides funding for books. 

used each year for student support. These named, endowed scholarships 
last in perpetuity. 

For Yusufu Bampia Kamara, a sophomore chemistry major, win- 
ning the Trani Scholars award kept him in school and on the path 
to becoming a doctor. 

But his journey began long before he enrolled at VCU. Kamara fled 
his native Sierra Leone, a tiny nation along the west coast of Africa, 
during a bloody civil war in the countiy, which claimed the life of his 
father. He spent several years as a refugee in the Republic of Guinea 
while waiting for permission to move to the U.S. 

Ai'riving in Northern Virginia in 20o6, he adjusted to living with- 
out his father as well as learning a new culture and language. He allowed 
himself to imagine life on a college campus. 

"A Western-style education is the dream of most undei'privileged and 
disenfranchised soitls around the world. Sierra Leone is an underpopu- 
lated nation rich in mineral resources. But the biggest irony about that 
African nation is that it is still one of the poorest nations on Earth, v^dth 
an average individual income of less than a $1 per day. '" he says. "Given 
these facts, the chances that 1 could have afforded a college education in 
Sierra Leone are almost zero. Attending college in the U.S. is the greatest 
thing that ever happened to me. Hard work pays off here. '" 

But once at VCU, his bdls started to mount and he considered drop- 
ping out. Thats when he learned he had been chosen as a Trani Scholar. 
"Growing up in a family whose only flag bearer (my mom) is 
disabled, there is no way 1 could have afforded to stay in college if it 
wasnt for the Trani Scholarship."" Kamara says. "Though 1 sometimes 
see myself as a deserving recipient of the Trani Scholarship, 1 must 
confess that the news of being awarded the Trani Scholarship was a 
miracle to me since 1 was almost on the verge of dropping out of col- 
lege due to lack of finance. I shall 
be ever grateful! 

Dr. Trani is a leader in the 
push for creating more schol- 
arships for VCU students and 
recognizes that aid truly makes a 
difference in many lives. As VCU 
and other state institutions cope 
with dramatic budget downturns, 
he sees a bright future. 

"As difficult as these condi- 
tions are for VCU and for other 
institutions of hio^her education. 

Spring 2009 

Legacy fund honors presidential leadership 

Scholarship support allows Sierra Leone native 
Yusufu Bampia Kamara, a sophomore chemistry 
major, to pursue his dream of becoming a doctor. 

I remain confident that we are well positioned to 
survive and prosper in this uncertain time . VCU 
remains affordable, with tuition and required 
fees which remain below those charged at all 
Virginia doctoral institutions and James 
Madison University," Dr. Trani says. "This 
has been the case for at least the last lO years, 
and we remain sensitive to our standing as 
Virginia's university of opportunity. 

"Our devoted donors who have established 
generous student scholarships have helped 
position our university to continue to provide 
an outstanding education to all deserving stu- 
dents. Establishing a scholarship is one of the 
most meaningful ways of ensuring that VCU's 
tradition of excellence and accessible education 
will continue to be available to the most talented 
students, whatever their family circumstances." 

Melame Irvin Solaimam (B.S. 'g6/MC) is a contributing 
writer for Shafer Court Connections. 

Donors C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright with the 2008- 
09 class of Trani Scholars: (front row, second from left) 
Yusufu Bampia Kamara, Katharina Rienks, Ranya 
Abi-Falah, (back row, from left) Parth Patel, 
and Jonathan Hundley 

A $1 million gift from Dianne and C. 
Kenneth Wright to the VCU Rector and 
Visitors Presidential Legacy Fund made the 
Trani Scholars program possible. 

The VCU Board ofVisitors established this 
new fund as a way to honor President Eugene 
P. Trani, Ph.D., and all future presidents 
by providing a source of funding to support 
the university's mission of research, teaching 
and service. To accomplish this goal, the 
board designated four areas of need that the 
money from this fund would support : student 
scholarships, faculty achievement, community 
outreach and university initiatives. 

"We are extremely grateful to Dianne 
and Ken Wright for making the initial gift 
to the VCU Rector and Visitors Presidential 
Legacy Fund, " says Anne D. Jacobson, asso- 
ciate vice president for advancement. "I am 
certain many donors will wish to honor Dr. 
Trani upon his retirement and this fund is 
the perfect vehicle to do so. We hope to cre- 
ate a means for his successors to carry on his 
legacy of great leadership." 

To make a gift to the VCU Rector and Visitors 
Presidential Legacy Fund, contact Anne D. Jacobson, 
associate vice president for advancement, at (804,) 
828-1223 or 

VCU office aids alumni in scholarship search 

Interested in exploring postgraduate 
educational opportunities abroad? The 
Fulbright Student Scholarship Program — 
the largest U.S. international exchange 
program — offers grants for graduate study, 
advanced research or English teaching assis- 
tantships in more than 140 countries. In the 
past three years, four VCU alumni received 
Fulbright awards, with the help of VCU's 
National Scholarship Office. 

Created in 2005, the NSO assists VCU 
students and alumni in competing for 
a number of national and international 
scholarships, such as the Fulbright. 

"We work with alumni just like we work 
with students on campus," says Jeff Wing, 
national scholarship coordinator in the 
VCU Honors College. At no cost, the NSO 
provides support and resources throughout 
the application process, including helping 
alumni develop their project, make connec- 
tions in their country of choice and secure 
recommendation letters. The office also 
prepares candidates for interviews by orga- 
nizing faculty panel reviews. 

"1 would not have received the Fulbright 
Scholarship to Dubai for the 2007-08 year 
without Jeff Wing's support and patience," 
says Hanan A. Abed (B.S. •04/H&S; 
M.S.W. '07/SW). "The NSO assisted me at 
every step of the application process, from 
narrowing down a research topic to mailing 
in my application. " 

Abed spent 10 months at Zayed University 
studying the perspectives university-aged 

women have of their roles in the United Arab 
Emirates. Other VCU Fulbright scholars have 
studied Alzheimer's disease and water-pipe 
smoking injordan and pursued artistic inter- 
ests in Iceland. 

The Fulbright program annually awards 
approximately 1,500 grants. Wing says. 
His goal is to submit 25 to 35 applications 
from VCU each year. He's already halfway 
there, with 15 applications submitted for the 
2009-10 grant cycle. 

"I don't think students and alumni real- 
ize how many grants and scholarships are 
available for all different kinds of work and 
in all types of disciplines, " Abed says. "The 
NSO helps find funding to study topics of 
the student's or alumnus's own interest and 
in places all over the world. It's a wonderful 
resource that is not available at all universi- 
ties, and more alumni and students should 
take advantage of it." 



The application process for 20I0-II 
Fulbright scholarships begins in May. To 
get started, call (804) 828-1803 or visit 
the NSO Web site 

24 I VCU Shafer Court Connections 

lumni Association 

The VCU Alumni Association, AHI Travel and 
Gohagan and Co. have teamed up to develop an 
extensive program of adventures abroad for 
2009. Whether observing unique wildlife while 
cruising down the Amazon, experiencing the 
stunning coastal scenery of Italian villages or 
exploring the Gothic cathedrals and medieval 
castles of Europe, the VCU Alumni Association 
offers a multitude of adventures for the avid 
traveler. For more information on these exciting 
opportunities, visit 

The Great Journey Through Europe 

Swiss Alps and the Italian Lakes 

Budapest, Vienna and Prague Discovery 

Best of the Mediterranean and Greek Isles 

Italian Riviera 

Austrian Holiday Markets Discovery 

"Everyone should have the oppor- 
tunity to visit Tuscany in the fall. The 
highlight of our trip was our visit to 
Florence. It was filled with incredible 
art galleries, Gothic cathedrals, great 
restaurants, fountains and wonderful 
shops. Our guide and bus driver were 
extremely knowledgeable, spoke 
English and planned little surprises 
for us throughout the trip. It was par- 
ticularly nice to spend time in this 
incredible setting with other members 
of the VCU family" 

- Jo Lynne DeMary (M.Ed. '72/E), 
reminiscing about her 2006 trip to Italy 





C Alumni i • 

News, highlights and event photos from the 
Virginia Commonwealth University Alumni Association 
and the African-American Alumni Council. 

VCU Business Society elects new board members 

The VCU School of Business alumni organization adopted a new 
moniker, the VCU Business Society, and welcomed five new board 

Rhonda L. Bishop (B.S. '02/B; M.B.A. '06/B), 

university compliance officer. VCU 

Vernon M. Danielsen (M.B.A. '07/B), 
consultant. Prism Innovative Solutions 

Michael Malinsky (B.S. '89/B; M.B.A. '96/B), 

vice president, funds manager, Genworth Financial 

Regina Nguyen (B.S. '03/B), 

marketing and research coordinator, GVAAdvantis 

David J. Stirrup (M.B.A. '99/B), 

Principal Financial Group 

The society's board consists of 33 members, up from 14 last 
year. The society s goal is to help further the educational and 
career goals of School of Business students and graduates. Anyone 
holding a degree or postgraduate certificate from the VCU School 
of Business is a member. Online networking sites for the VCU 
Business Society have been initiated on Linkedin and Facebook. 

Benefit spotlight 

Long-term care insurance 

Your alumni association membership provides access to a variety 
of essential services. One important option available to all alumni is 
long-term care insurance, which provides help to those who are no 
longer able to function independently, such as during an extended ill- 
ness or disability. 

According to the Administration on Aging, roughly 70 percent of 
people older than 65 will need some type of long-term care service. 
For more information about this issue, visit 

To find out more about the insurance option offered by the VCU 
Alumni Association, please visit This insur- 
ance program is offered by one of the industry's leading carriers. VCU 
alumni receive a special group discount. 

Reunion Weekend salutes classes of 1984 and 1959 

VCU welcomes alumni back to campus for the annual Reunion 
Weekend, AprO 24~26. This year, the association honors the Class 
of 1984. celebrating its 25th anniversary. Alumni from classes 1982- 
86 also are invited to come back to campus to relive fond memories 
and see the many changes that have occurred since graduation. 

For Richmond Professional Institute alumni returning to 
campus, the annual RPl Alumni Reunion will honor the Class 
of 1959 with an induction into the 50 Year Golden Circle 
Alumni Club. 

Weekend events include campus tours, a concert on Shafer 
Court and a casino night. For a complete schedule of events, visit 
www.vcu-mcvalumni .org. 

New membership director joins Alumni Relations 

Rob Brodsky has joined the VCU 
Office of Alumni Relations as the director 
of membership and marketing. Brodsky, 
former president of Sabre Marketing 
in Houston, led the Houston Area Yale 
Club for his alma mater before moving 
to Richmond. He will work with the 
VCU Alumni Association and the MCV 
Alumni Association of VCU to increase 
awareness and membership. 

Contact Brodsky at 

26 I VCU Shafer Court Connections 

[AL.UMNI connections] 

Commencement breakfast recognizes newest alumni 

More than 2,400 students received professional, graduate and 
undergraduate degrees during VCU's December 2008 Commencement 

The VCU Alumni Association and the MCV Alumni Association 
of VCU welcomed these new graduates into the alumni fold at the 
associations' annual Commencement Breakfast. 

About 130 graduates and their families enjoyed breakfast at the 
Sports Medicine Building before the Commencement program at the 
Stuart C. Siege! Center. 

■''V^^i^^&fi^rAffWMstiS 'fi^y^^Aa^ 

New graduates celebrate at the annual Commencement Breakfast, sponsoreis 
by the VCU Alumni Association and the MCV Alumni Association of VCU. 

Online resume database aids job-seeking alumni 

In response to the recent upturn in unemployment, the VCU 
Business and Engineering Career Center has launched an online 
resume database, which allows VCU business and engineering alumni 
to post their resumes for employers to view. 

Available online at, the 
resume database gives employers a convenient way of searching for 
job seekers. The VCU Alumni Association sponsored the database, 
which could be expanded to all VCU alumni. 

Likewise, the University Career Center, which serves all VCU 
students, can share resources with alumni related to resume writing, 
interviewing skills and professional networking. 

For more information, contact the VCU University Career 
Center, (804) 828-1645 or vnvw. students., or the 
VCU Business and Engineering Career Center, (804) 827-1801 

Homecoming 2009 events draw alumni, students 

Homecoming 2009 at VCU kicked off Jan. 28, offering current 
students and returning alumni a variety of festive events to attend, 
including concerts, tailgate parties, service projects, dances, pep ral- 
lies and the crowning of the homecoming king and queen. 

An eight-member student organizing committee developed this 
year's theme "Go Gold." Alana Johnson, a senior fashion merchan- 
dising major and the committee's co-director, said the theme plays 
off "Go Green," a popular topic in the news. 

"Everyone is into saving the environment," she says. "We came 
up with a spin on that with 'Go Gold' to continue to build spirit 
at VCU." 

During the weeklong event, the VCU Alumni Association spon- 
sored Hoops, a basketball game social at the Siegel Center. In its 
second year, the event features a pre-game pep rally, best-dressed fan 
contest, and fun and food for alumni families. 

The association also partnered with VCU Residential Life and 
Housing to sponsor an RA reunion, held at and co-sponsored by the 
new Chili's restaurant on the Monroe Park Campus Addition. Past 
and current RAs mingled before touring the new Gary and Belvidere 
Residential College atop the restaurant. 

Above: Alumni and friends joined 
the VCU Greater Richmond 
Alumni Chapter at the second 
annual VCUAA Hoops event Feb. 
7. before watching the Rams defeat 
in-state rival Williams & Mary, 
76-54. The event marks the con- 
clusion of the Homecoming week 
at VCU. Right; Past and current 
resident assistants mingle at the RA 
reumon. held at the VCU Chili's. 

Spring 2009 I 27 

[alumni connections] 

Atlanta alumni cheer on Rams, organize chapter 

Alumni and their guests turned out to cheer on the men's 
basketball team at a VCU Alumni Association-sponsored social 
held Jan. 21 in Atlanta. The event at Georgia State drew about 
20 alumni who enjoyed refreshments and fellowship before the 
Rams' win. 

Dalentina Robertson (B.S. '87/H&S) is spearheading an 
effort to organize an Atlanta chapter of the association. About 

1,100 VCU alumni live in the area. 
If you are interested in learning 
^^^ ^ S X 7 W^^H^ more or joining the chap- 

L^ \^^^^^^^^ ^-^^^^^ '^''' ^"rnad 'he association 


Dalentina Robertson (left) chats with Carla Shands and Lee Shands in Atlanta. 

RPI Report 

New RPI Alui 

.hcil forms and sets next project 

The VCU Alumni Association is looking for alunnni of Richmond 
Professional Institute interested in joining a new affiliated organization, 
the RPI Alumni Council of the VCU Alumni Association. The council is 
organizing a Book of Honor, v^hich will represent memories from RPI 
alumni who contributed to the RPI sculpture project. 

You can help carry the RPI heritage in other ways, such as purchas- 
ing tickets to be entered into a drawing to win one of two free rounds 
of golf at Birkdale Country Club and Stonehenge Country Club. Funds 
raised will help support initiatives to keep the history of RPI alive at 
VCU. Tickets are $5 each or five for $20. 

After a successful fundraising effort to erect the RPI commemora- 
tive sculpture "Tableith," the council now plans to raise funds for a 
cobblestone terrace to complete landscaping around the sculpture. 

If you are an RPI graduate and would like to serve on the council 
or would like to purchase tickets for the drawing, contact Diane 
Stout-Brown, executive director of the VCU Alumni Association, at 
(804) 828-7020 or 


RPI alumna recounts her travels to New York paper 

A two-page feature in the December 2008 Chatham Press, a monthly 
newspaper reporting on the village of Chatham, N.Y., and surrounding 
towns, focused on the worldly travels of RPI alumna Molly Harding 
(B.S. 'A^/^)■ In the article, Harding, a Chatham native, talked about her 
love for travel and how it took her to Japan after World War II. 

The article notes, "Harding girdled the globe on a trip from 1946-1948 
that was, for a young woman of 27 years, alone in that post-war era, 
quite an accomplishment. She did it on cargo ships and ocean liners. 
She walked the gaunt streets of post-apocalyptic Hiroshima. And she 
ushered in a new era of commerce in Japan in the textile industry." 

Harding sailed home from Japan on a three-month tour that took her 
to exotic ports around the Arabian Peninsula, Tangiers and Ireland. 

"This trip, overall, gave me an appreciation of and insight into 
the habits, customs and way of life of different nationalities. It was 
a great education," Harding told the paper 

Back in the States, she became a successful educator, including 
serving as a college dean before retiring. 

■« i 

.-J*' ■• 


- - with the alumni association - — ■■ 

The VCU Alumni Association is your lifelong connection to 
Virginia Commonwealth University. Your continuing involvement 
with the university is critical to its sustained excellence. 

When you become a member, you're not only supporting the 
alumni program but also your school and student scholarships. 


As an ACTIVE MEMBER, you receive special association 

benefits including: 

■ Access to a new online alumni directory where you 
can connect with classmates 

■ Discounts on international travel programs 

■ Discounts on Internet access and computer repairs 

■ Discounts on athletic events and invitations to exclusive 
watch parties 

■ Discounts on VCU merchandise online and from 
the campus bookstores 

■ Discounts on Recreational Sports memberships 

■ Invitations to members-only events 

■ Scholarship opportunities for your children and grandchildren 

■ Hotel and car rental discounts 

Register on our recharged Web site,, 
to learn more and to CONNECT to the new online directory 
and other exciting members-only features. 

To JOIN or RENEW your membership, visit, 
e-mail or call (804) 828-2586. ^^ 





updates , 



Save time! Visit the VCUAA Web site to update your contact, employment and personal information. 

3 Name Maiden name (if applicable) 

Class year 


(Q Street address 


City State 

Home phone Cell phone 

Home e-mail address 


H Job title 


i Company 

^ Street address 


W City 

Start date 


Work phone 

Work e-mail address 

Retirement date (if applicable) 


UJ Spouse's name 

If VCU alumnus/alumna, class year 


2 Wedding date Spouses employer . 

>] □ Boy □ Girl 

■< Name Date of birth/arrival 


Spouse/partner's name 

If VCU alumnus/alumna, class year 

To report a death, please also provide a news clipping of the death notice. 

Name of deceased Class year 

Date of death Relationship to deceased 

Please note: News for publication must be no more than one year old because of space constraints. 
If you do not wish to publish this information, please check the box at right. 

Mail your update to: Office of Alumni Relations, Virginia Commonwealth University, 924 W. Franklin St., 
P.O. Box 845044, Richmond, VA 25284-3044: or fax (804) 828-8197: or e-mail; or visit 

I am submitting information 
on the following: 

Q Promotion 

□ New job 

Q Address change 

□ Wedding 

□ Family addition 
Q Death notice 

□ Other (Please attach 
separate sheet to report 
awards, etc.) 

Ql Do not publish this 

information, t am submitting 
for record purposes only. 

Class notes 

Send information about your professional and personal 
accomplisfiments to Or, mail your news 
to Shiafer Court Connections, Virginia Commonwealtfn University, 
924 W. Franklin St., P.O. Box 843044, Richimond, VA 23284-3044. 


Malcolm D. Farmer (B.S, 'se/M&S: M.S. bO/AHP) provides 
counseling and case management services to disabled 
veterans on campus at Marshall University. 


David EddJeman's (MM, 64^) new song cycle to texts 
of Hal Sirowitz's "My Therapist Said" premiered at 
Symphony Space in New York City. 

Patricia Morris* (B F.A. '69/A; M.P.A. ■02/H&S) was promoted 
to vice president of philanthropy for Feed More, 
a nonprofit organization that brings together the 
Central Virginia Foodbank and Meals on Wheels. 

David Norris* (B S 63/B) is a contributing writer for 
USA Deep South online, which features stories of spe- 
cial interest to Southerners. Visit 

Ernest Clayton Wright {B.M, WA- MM. 'iilt\) has 
released several jazz piano trio albums, including 
"Serenade in Blue," "Jazz Escapades' and "Jazz Voyages." 

Willie Anne Wright (MP A m/A}*, Anne Savedge 
(M.A.E. '78/A), Marsha Polier Grossman (B F.A. yz/A) 

and Barbara Ames (M.A '69/A: M.F.A, '91/A) were part 
of a "Wondrous Women from VCU" exhibit at Avenue 
Arts Studio Gallei-y in Lynchburg, Va. 


H. Cary Adams* (B.S. '79/MC. M.S. 87/6; Cert, "99/B) is a 
senior automation analyst with Chesterfield County's 
Department of Utilities. 

Nancy Burks* (B M ^s/A) is the organist and choir direc- 
tor at Lakeside Presbyterian Church in Richmond, Va. 

Robert Davis* (B S. '76/B) received a Doctor of Management 
degree from the University of Maryland University 
College in May 2008. 

Peter S. Eckert, ORE, MAI (B S, ^s/MC) was elected 
president of the Hampton Roads Association for 
Commercial Real Estate. 

Ellen Flint (B.M Ve/A) has been promoted to director 
for undergraduate education at Wilkes University 
in Wilkes-Barre. Pa. 

Margaret "Kathy" Hite Hollar (B S '71/H&S) retired 
after 33 years at the University of Virginia Health 
System and four years at the VCU Medical Center. 

John M. Krolak. Ph.D. (B.S ^b/H&S; M S, WM&S) earned 
his Ph.D. and i-s a supemsory health scientist at the Centers 
for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. 

Stanly B. Mitchell Jr. (B.S. ^a/B) is a buyer with Univar USA. 

Patricia Rowell (B.S. ■70/H&S; B.S, 'yVN: Ph.D. Po/AHP) 
is employed as a scientific program manager at the 
Department of Veterans Affairs. 

Jackie Taylor Thornton (B S '77/B; M.S. '78/B) serves 
as director of human resources for Kelly Aerospace 
in Montgomery, Ala. 


Rhonda L. Bishop (A S sa/AMP; B.I.S ra/H&S; M.B.A. 

06/B) IS university compliance officer for VCU. She 
recently joined the board of the School of Business 
alumni organization. VCU Business Society. 

Keven LaVerdad Casey (B S '89/MC) is an anchor and 
reporter for Clear Channel Houston's NewsRadio 74^ 
KTRH in Texas. 

Clelia Amari Fry (B.M.E, '83/A) received her license to 
practice law in North Carolina and joined Kincaid 
and Associates, a general practice law firm. 


Former Commonwealth Singers reunite for VCU Music benefit concert 

When a group of former Commonwealth Singers first met in July 
2008 to discuss the idea of a reunion concert, they wanted it to be 
more than an opportunity for them to perform together again. 

They also wanted to make a difference in the education of current 
Virginia Commonwealth University Department of Music students. 

"We really had two goals," says B.J. Barlow (B.A. '05/A), reunion 
concert committee member and minister of music at St. Matthew's 
Episcopal Church in Richmond, Va. "One, just to get together and 
sing again, remember the old days, and experience wonderful music 
as a group. Second, we wanted to give back to VCU Music." 

After weeks of rehearsal, both goals came to fruition. About 30 
of the choral group's alumni — including one member who traveled 
from New York - performed in a Feb. 8 concert at the W.E. Singleton 
Center for the Performing Arts. The 400-member audience helped 
raise nearly $3,000 for the Friends of VCU Music Scholarship Fund. 

"It was a very emotional, wonderful evening," says Kimberly Shepherd 
Hassmer (B.M. '06/A), reunion concert committee member and music 
specialist at Salem Church Elementary School in Chesterfield County, Va. 
She joined the stage with her husband, David Hassmer (B.A. '06/A). 

"The Commonwealth Singers is where we met, so it was nice to 
go back and sing on the stage with him and remember that part of 
us being together," she says. 

Another familiar face on stage was John Guthmiller, Ph.D., Department 
of Music chair and director of choral activities. Guthmiller says he 


found the alumni's commitrhent to 
the performance and the music 
department inspiring. 

"That's the kind of thing you hope 
for when you're teaching them at 
age 18, 19 — to see that growth and 
development for them," he says. 

Guthmiller helped the committee 
select 11 songs for the concert, which 
also included three pieces by the 
current Commonwealth Singers 
and a powerful performance of 
"Virginia" presented by both groups. ^^^^^^ ^.^^^ ^^^ .^^^^^ ^^^^^ ^^^ 

The concert reminded the alumni ^^^^^^ ^^^^j^ (g.M. W/A) sing with 
of what they loved most about their alumni at the February performance. 
time at VCU. 

"Dr. Guthmiller's way of directing, pulling the group together, rehearsing 
— he drew out more than notes on a page but created a family," 
Barlow says. 

For Hassmer, the performance reinforced her desire to stay involved 
with her alma mater. She recently became a member of the VCU Music 
Alumni Board and hopes the first-time concert event becomes a tradition. 

"I love VCU and I'm very proud to be a Ram," she says. "After the 
concert, we all said 'When can we do this again?'" 

Spring 2009 ! 

Recently published alumni and faculty members 


LiliingOur \'oKf. 




Sample Size 

Carl F. Ameringer, Ph.D.. professor of health policy and politics at the L. Douglas 
Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, is the author of a new book. 
"The Health Care Revolution! From Medical Monopoly to Market Competition." 

Joyce O. Beckett, Ph.D., published a new book, "Lifting Our Voices: TTie Journeys 
Into Family Caregiving of Professional Social Workers." in August. 

Mary Boyes, an instructor in Focused Inquiry in the VCU University College, devel- 
oped a literary anthology focused on work experiences with co-editor Peter Scheckner, 
a literature professor at Ramapo College. "The Way We Work: Contemporary Writings 
from the American Workplace" features a number of contributors that have a VCU 
connection, including Larry Levis, late VCU English professor and poet. Nathan 
Long (M.F.A. WH&S). Paula Champa (M.F.A. w/H&S), Clay Blancett (B.F.A. '97^) 
and Darren Morris (M.FA. pa/M&S). 

Christopher Brooks, professor of anthropology and African-American studies, 
collaborated with Joe Evans, an alto saxophonist, on a book about Evans' life and 
30-year career in the music industry. "FollowYour Heart: Moving With the Giants 
of Jazz, Swing, and Rhythm and Blues." 

Doug Burford* (B.S. 65/I^C) recently published the book "Agency Reveals All" about 
the advertising industry. 

Susann Cokal, assistant professor in the Department of English, published "Breath 
and Bones," a novel about an elusive 19th-century artist and the young woman who 
follows him from Europe to the American Southwest. 

Patrick Dattalo (M.S.W. 'so/SW; PkD. WM&S), associate professor in the School of 
Social Work, wrote a book about sample-size determination in research, "Determining 
Sample Size - Balancing Power, Precision, and Practicality." 

Brian J. Daugherity, M.A., instructor and assistant to the chair in the Department 
of History, is lead editor of a new book examining and evaluating the implementation 
of the Brown v. Board of Education U.S. Supreme Coxirt decision in 1954 ^^^^ ended 
school segregation, "With All Deliberate Speed: Implementing Brown v. Board of 

George Davis (B.S. '71/B) published his first novel, "Arizona Son Rise," that tells the 
story of a young Native American boy who uses the game of baseball to find his destiny. 

Robert Deigh* (B.S. '77/MC) is the owner of RDC Communications/PR in Fairfax, Va. 
He recently published the book "How Come No One Knows About Us?" 

Clint McCown, associate professor of English, recently published his third collection 
of poetry, "Dead Languages," including 25 poems previously published in journals 
such as the Sewanee Review, the Southern Review, the Southern Poetry Review and 
the North American Review. 

Maike I. Philipsen, Ph.D., professor in the School of Education's Department of 
Foundations of Education, published "Challenges of the Faculty Career for Women: 
Success and Sacrifice." The book offers recommendations for reform and advice for 
female faculty members coping with issues such as balancing work and famdy and 
working in a historically male-dominated field. 

Maurice Robinson (B.S. '65/B) wrote "PonteVedra Beach, Florida: A History," published 
by the History Press in Charleston, S.C. 

Paul Steucke* (B.F.A. '62/A) has been an author, graphic designer and fine artist for 
more than 35 years. He recently published his memoir, "Burbia Boy," about growing 
up in the early suburbia days of Northern Virginia, as well as his time as a student at 
Richmond Professional Institute. 

Charles West, coordinator of winds and percussion in the Department of Music, 
was the lead author and compiler for "The Woodwind Player's Cookbook: Creative 
Recipes for a Successful Performance," published by Meredith Music Publication. 
The book includes articles by VCU faculty members, including West, Bruce Hammel 
and Albert Regni, as well as alumnus Victor Goines (M.M. 'PO/A). 

Nelson Wikstrom, Ph.D., professor of political science and public administration, is 
a contributing vo-iter for "Urban and Regional Policies for Metropolitan Livability," 
a new book that examines the importance of a regional approach in solving issues 
such as transportation, the environment, affordable housing, crime, employment, 
poverty and education. 

Kevin L. Goodwyn (B.S. 86/6) is a database administrator 

with Chesterfield County Public Schools. 
Andy Hulcher* (B.S. 'S-i/B), owner of Richmond-based 

Partnership Staffing, ran the coat-check operations at 

six of the 10 inaugural balls in Washington celebrating 

President Barack Obama'sjan. 20 swearing-in. 
Lora J. Katz (B F A. so/A) is director of architecture 

at the Roanoke, Va.. office of Clark Nexsen. 
Kristina "Tina" Kendall (B.S '84/B) is a Sarbanes-Oxley 

manager for Hilb, Rogal and Hobbs. 
Cynthia McMullen (MA. SP/H&S) is director of 

public relations and communications for the VCU 

School of Pharmacy. 
Rosetta Rolan (B.S. '89/MC) is the director of diversity 

at KIN Television Corp. 
Charles H. Smith Jr. (MP.A, ^&^/^&S) completed his first 

tour with the U.S. Navy's Military Sealift Command on 

the USNS Rainier. 
Patricia I. Wright* (M.Ed. WE) was appointed to the 

Education Commission of the States by Virginia Gov. 

Timothy M. Kaine. She also has been named to a task 

force of the Council of Chief State School Officers 

that will advise the Obama administration. 


Paul Lancaster Adams (B.S. '90/I-I&S) joined Microsoft 

Corp. as associate general counsel to head its labor and 

employment litigation. 
Tom Bailey (B.M.'9l/A) moved to Long Island. N.Y., 

and serves as organist and choirmaster at St. Peter's 

by-the-Sea Episcopal Church. 

Lisa L. Brock (B S '97/B) is a director with McGladrey 

and Pullen, 
Kelly Hundley Brooks (BA ■97/H&S; Ceri. '06/H&S: 

M PA, 'O6/GPA) is the director of operations of the 

Mid-Atlantic Renal Coalition. 
Hudson "Rusty" Byrd* (B.S. '9l/B) is deputy budget 

officer for the Bureau of Consular Affairs and serves 

on the board of directors for the Foreign Affairs 

Recreation Association at the U.S. Department of State. 
Kelly Conner (BA. '99/I-I&S) is employed at the University 

of Virginia's Darden School of Business as a client 

services manager. 
Gabe Corbett (B.S. '95/B) is a Realtor with Keller Williams 

in Richmond, Va. 
Heather Eades* (B S. '97/B) is an emissions specialist 

for Dominion Resources. 
Terry G. Ferguson (B.S, '98/B) is employed by Charles Schwab. 
Clarence A. Forman Jr. (B.S. ^O/H&S) is an investigator 

and attorney at the commonwealth of Massachusetts 

Department of Mental Health's Office of Investigations. 
Kilian James Garvey, Ph.D. (B A, '91/H&S) was named 

to the editorial boards of the Journal of Social. 

Evolutionary, and Cultural Psychology and the 

Journal of Evolutionary Studies. Garvey is an assistant 

professor of psychology at the University of New 

England in Biddeford. Maine. 
Matthew W. Greene (B.S. '95/MC) is employed by JetBlue 

Airways as a pilot. 
Mary Heller (B.S '99/l-i&S) recently graduated from 

George Mason University with an M.A. in Teaching 

Literature and Writing. 

Shawn Henry (M.S. '97/H&S) was named assistant director 

of the FBI's Cyber Division. 
Ronette Jacobs* (BA, po/I-I&S) is the CEO of Tools 

for Life. 
Charlotte Jensen* (B.A, WH&S: M.T ^VE) serves 

as president of Cole James Associates. 
Kanishka Kapil* (B.S. '91/B) is employed as an executive 

marketing specialist at \TLUX America. 
Marty Kline* (MP.A, ■97/I-I&S) is the assistant director 

of Eastern State Hospital in Williamsburg. Va. , and 

a practicing licensed nursing home administrator. 
Diamond H. Lassiter (B.S. '97/B) is a systems engineer 

for Verizon Communications. 
Nancy McAtee (M.S. 96/H&S) is a fire and explosion 

investigator with the National Transportation Safety 

Melanie C. Morgan (BA. '90/H&S) is a freelance busi- 
ness writer. 
Elizabeth (Karle) Pierce (B.S. 93/6) earned a 

degree in biology and a doctorate in immunology. 

She is a research associate at Case Western Reserve 

University, where she is researching bone marrow 

Svetlana C. Ross (B.S. '97/E) was recognized by Guiness 

World Records for having the longest legs of any 

woman in the world. Standing at 6 feet and 5 inches, 

Ross' legs measure almost 4 feet and 4 inches. 
Alika Rosser (M.S. '99/MC) is a reporter and photographer 

for the [ones County News. 
Rhonda Scott (B.S. '93/B) is a real estate coordinator 

for the city of Norfolk, Va. 

32 I VCU Shafer Court Connections 

[class notes] 

Nealiette "Terri" Murphy Simpson (B M w/A) was 
recognized in the vocalist category of the 2008 Theresa 
Pollak Prizes for Excellence in the Arts. 

Dwityo Akoro Soeranto (M U R,P. py/M&S) Uves in 
Jakarta, Indonesia, and works as the subdireclor of data 
and information at the Ministry of PubUc Works. 

Robb Spewak {B.S. PJ/MC) is co-host and in-studio pro- 
ducer for the nationally syndicated "Mike O'Meara Show." 

Matthew Sullivan (BS Vo/H&S). an attorney with White 
& Allen, P.A. , has been elected to the Lenoir Committee 
of lOO's board of directors, which provides funding for 
economic development projects in Lenoir County, N.C. 

Wendy Vick-Wjilis (B.A, 'ps/H&S) was appointed organ 
donation awareness spokesperson in conjunction with 
Methodist Hospital and Multi-Organ Transplant Center. 

Denise Walters* (8 S ss/H&S; PhD pi/P) is a principal 
research scientist in nutritional product development 
at Wyeth and has won two Global Pride Awards. 

Jacquelyn White {B.S. WH&S; M.S.W. ■02/SW) is a 
prevention specialist at Henrico Area Mental Health. 


Taylor Barnelt (B.M. oi/A; MM. oVA) and Bryan Hooten 
(M.M. 'O6/A) are members of the No BS Brass Band. 

which was honored in the ensemble category of the 
2008 Theresa PoUak Prizes for Excellence in the Arts. 

Mary Bergman (B M Ol/A). a member of the Virginia 
Ai-my National Guard, was accepted into the Interservice 
Physician Assistant Program, where she will earn a 
master's degi-ee from the University of Nebraska. 

Kitty J. Boitnott (Ph.D. ot/E) was appointed to the P-l6 
Education Council by Virginia's governor. 

John Comstock (B S '04/B) is a senior account executive 
with UPS. 

Ryan Corbitt (B.M '04*) and Trey Pollard (BM 'os/A) 

composed the score for "Border Town," directed by 

Chris Williams of Studio 108 in Richmond, Va. 
Aftab Datta (MS '02/H&S) worked as a synthetic chemist 

at the Naval Lab before earning his M.B.A. He currently 

works as a management consultant. 
Ryan Davis (BS '01/B) is a network software engineer 

for the Federal Reserve Bank of Richmond. 
Darin A. Duehl (B.A. 'O6/MC) is an account manager 

at Benedict Advertising in South Daytona. Fla. 
Jaroa A. Favilla* (B S, 'oa/H&S: MT 'os/E) is employed as 

a Spanish teacher for Henrico County Public Schools. 
Erin Fitzpalrick (B S, '07/B) is employed by Saatchi and 

Saatchi in New York. 

Katherine Lynn Gallagher* (BS '07/MC) works in oper- 
ations al the Barber Martin Agency in Richmond. Va. 

Jesus A. Garcia (B.A 'os/H&S) completed U.S. Navy 
basic training with honors at Recruit Training 
Command in Great Lakes, lU. 

Rebecca E. Haase (B.S. 'oe/B) is a human resources stu- 
dent program manager with the Defense Commissary 
Agency at Fort Lee, Va. 

Robert C. Hedman (B S, '04/B) is a police officer with 
the city of Richmond, Va. 

Gayland Hethcoat* (BS, '07/MC) is a student at the 
University of Miami School of Law. 

Ji Kim* (B.S. bs/B) is the controller for Lutheran Family 
Services in the Carolinas. a social services agency oper- 
ating in North Carolina and South Carolina. 

Angela Kirk (MB A OO/B) is one of 31 residents in the 
Broad Residency in Urban Education program with the 
Broad Center for the Management of School Systems. 

Greg Loewer (B M os/A) performed with CaL\rts 
Percussion Ensemble at the Percussive Arts Society 
International Convention in November. 

Angela Mack (B.S '04/MC) moved back to Virginia to 
become an elementary school teacher after spending 
three years as a print journalist in Wilmington, N.C. 

Biology alumnus concocts 'Cirrusly' great vodka 

Virginia Commonwealth University alumnus Paul McCann (B.S. 
'92/H&S) always imagined running his own business but never 
expected that dream would stem from a night out. 

In 2004, McCann was out with a friend in Richmond and noticed 
all the available vodkas were imported. He started doing some 
research and testing on his own and found he could make a good 
natural, additive-free, potato-based vodka. The majority of vodkas 
are made from grains, but McCann says, to him, potatoes make the 
best and smoothest vodka. 

From there, McCann grew Parched Group Distillery, best known 
: for its Cirrus brand vodka - a spirit that's received numerous acco- 
lades and awards in the past four years, including earning in 2007 the 
"Virginia's Finest" seal from the Virginia Department of Agriculture 
and Consumer Services. 

"A lot of folks tend to think that to have a quality product you have 
to have something imported," McCann says. "I think that the 'Virginia's 
^ Finest' designation helps give added recognition to products that are 
' made here in Virginia." 

Confident that Cirrus vodka could stand up against the imported 
brands, McCann started entering it into national competitions in 
2005. The label earned its first silver medal at the San Francisco World 
Spirits Competition just six months after the distillery opened. A year 
later. Cirrus vodka took home the gold at the same competition. That's 
when McCann decided to distribute the product commercially, begin- 
ning in his home state. 

"We really wanted to enter a couple competitions and see how 
competitive Cirrus is with other top brands that are well-established," 
McCann says. "We got it to where we really wanted it, and once we 
received the gold, we decided to get it out on the market." 

Paul McCann creates Cirrus vodka at his dov^ntown distillery - Parched Group Distillery 

More than 170 Virginia ABC stores carry Cirrus vodka With an equal 
number of bars, restaurants and hotels serving the brand. McCann 
has already expanded into the Washington, D.C., and Tennessee mar- 
kets and is looking to capture additional market share in Maryland, 
South Carolina and Georgia this year. 

"When you are working for yourself, you are constantly growing the 
brand," McCann says. "You get a lot of satisfaction out of being able 
to start, build and achieve your goals." 

Spring 2009 

Alumni Association 

Did you know? 

VCUAA officers 

C. Dandridge Massey (B.S. '92/B), president 
Donna M. Dalton (M.Ed. bo/E), president-elect 
Patricia E. Green (M.S.W. '74/SW), secretary 
Kenneth "Ken" A. Thomas (B.S. '91/B), treasurer 
Thomas H. Beatty (B.A. WH&S), officer-at-large 

Since 1990, VCU's international student population has increased nearly fivefold, 
ing to the diverse nnakeup of the university's student body A record 1,612 internat 
students, representing 111 countries, enrolled in VCU this year. Students from India (293) 
constitute the highest number of international students on campus, followed by Sau^ 
Arabia (211), China (182) and South Korea (l57). j 

Board of directors 

Term expiring 2009 

Peter A. Bial<e (B.A. 'So/H&S; M.S. 'aS/MC) 

Suzette R Denslow (B.S. '79/H&S) 

Irvin "Jack" Farmer (B.S. '69/B), presidential 

William R. O'Connell Jr (B.M.E. ss/A) 
Thomas A. Silvestri (M.B.A. 'Sb/B) 
Patricia I. Wright (M.Ed. WE) 

Term expiring 2010 

Rejena G. Carreras (B.F.A. 'yo/A; M.A.E. '80/A) 
William L. Davis (B.S. '74/H&S; M.S. ■79/H&S) 
David R. Dennier (B.S. WB) 
Gary M. Inman (M.A. '93/A) 
Stephen H. Jones (B.S. '75/B) 
Shirley R. McDaniel (B.G.S. WH&S) 
Mary E. Perkinson (B.F.A. '91/Ai B.S. 'os/En) 
John J. Schwartz (B.S. '69/8) 
Vickie M. Snead (B.S. '76/8) 

Term expiring 20n 

Leah L.E. Bush (M.S. ■79/I-I&S; M.D •84/M) 
Gregory B. Fairchild (B.S. 'SS/MC) 
Aaron R. Gilchrist Jr. (B.S. '03/MC) 
Christopher R. Jones (B.S. bl/En) 
Paul D. McWhinney (B.S. ■74/SW; M.S.W. '79/SW) 
Elizabeth J. Moran (M.RA. '92/H&S) 
Jacqueline Tunstall-Bynum (B.S. 'Sz/H&S) 
John S. Phillips (M.S. ^S/B), presidential 

Alumni group representatives 

School alumni board chairs 

Steven B. Brincefield, C.RM., (M.S. '74/8), 

School of Business 
Stephanie L. Holt (B.S. WH&S), School 

of Education 
Julia M. Cain (B.S. 'Ol/En), School of Engineering 

African-American Alumni Council 

Faith Wilkerson (B.S. 'os/MC; M.Ed. bs/E), 

Young Alumni Council 

Gaurav "G" Shrestha (B.S. bs/B), president 

Mark Steven Miles Jr. (B.A. te/H&S) recently published. 

along with his colleague Emily Kate Snyder, a featured 

article in The Spire, the theological magazine of 

Vanderbilt Divinity School. "Strangers No Longer: 

Faithful Voices for Solidarity" portrays their experiences 

founding a nonprofit organization. 
Yuqi Shi* (B.S. 'OS/B} is an analyst for the Federal Resei-ve 

Bank of Richmond. 
Nathan Smith {B.A. OS/M&S) is enrolled in the Librai-y 

and Information Sciences master's progi-am at the 

Catholic University of America. 
Garry Spriggs (B S. ■03/H&S) works in the Department 

of Prosthetics of Loma Linda Healthcare System in 

Loma Linda, Calif. 
Dale Stuart (B.S, 'OS/H&S) is working toward a Ph.D. 

in chemistry at VCU under Everett Carpenter, Ph.D. 
Stephanie R. Summers (M.S. Ob/MC) lives in Chicago 

and works as the art director of Energy BBDO. 
Amanda Burton Winger {M.M, '04/A) is the executive 

director of the Conductors Guild, an international 

nonprofit organization for music conductors. She's 

also a board member of the National Music Council. 
Sara Zavik (B A. '08/H&S) works in Spain as a language 

and conversation assistant at an elementai-y school. 

Faculty and staff 

Darryl Harper, assistant professor in the Department 
of Music, toured the Western Caribbean with the 
Reffina Carter Quintet and led his own Onus Trio 
on a tour to Madison, Wis., in November. 

Kris Keeton, assistant professor in the Department 
of Music, was awarded a Dean's Exploratoiy Research 
Grant to study ragtime xylophone music with Bob 
Becker, the foremost practitioner in the field. 

Rex Richardson, associate professor in the Department 
of Music, gave a solo performance in Chicago's 
Millennium Park and a master class at the Manhattan 
School of Music. 

Michael Schutz, percussion instructor, presented 
a clinic at the Percussive Arts Society International 
Convention in Austin, Texas. 

Sonia Vlahcevic. professor in the Department of 
Music, will give a lecture recital at the International 
Conference of the College Music Society in Zagreb, 
Croatia, in June 2OO9. She will present on the solo 
piano music of Andrzej Dutliewicz. composer and 
director of contemporaiy music at the Chopin 
Institute in Warsaw. Poland. 

In memoriam 

Dorothy T Efta (B.S '38/H&S), of Punta Gorda, Fla., 
Sept. 26, 2008. 


Anne E. Harris (B.S, ^s/H&S; M.EJ. 'ti/E), of Richmond, 

Va., Dec. 30, 2008, at age 87. 
Douglas C. Houchens (B.F.A, ■40/A: M. FA. '52^), 

of Davidson, N.C.. Aug. ig, 2008. at age 92. 

Sara M. Jessee ('44/SW), of Richmond, Va., Oct. 23, 

2008, at age 85. 
Roberta T. Luce (B.S. ■44/H&S). of Richmond. Va., Jan. 

I, 2009, at age 86. 
Mary C. Rowan (48/A), of Banks. Ore., Aug. 10, 2008, 

at age 81. 
Hannah B. Tucker (B.S.'47/B), of Tallahassee, Fla., Nov. 

3. 2008. at age 82. 
Charlotte Williams (^s/SW), of Greenville. Va., Sept. 

3. 2008. at age 82. 


Mary M. Barker (B.S 'so/E), of Midlothian, Va., Oct. 

17, 2008, at age 79. 
Robert L. Bov/ers (B.M.E. '54/A). of Richmond, Va., 

Sept. 24, 2008. 
Grace Dorey Gallagher* (B.S. '52), of "Virginia Beach. 

Va., Sept. 5, 2008. 
Frances W. Johns (M.S.W. 'ss/SW), of Hampton. Va., 

Sept, 13, 2008. 
Suzanne R. Levet Csp/B), of Glen Allen, Va.. Dec. 6, 

2008, at age 67. 
John R. Melia (B.S. 'SP/B). of Richmond, Va.. July 30. 

2008. at age 76. 
Charles P. Nash III (B.FA ss/A). of Charlottesville. Va.. 

Oct. 21. 2008. 
Rev. Morgan Shelton Smart (B.M.E '52^), of 

Mechanicsville, Va., Sept. 15, 2008, at age 70. 
William Allen Steinbach Cso/B), of Midlothian, Va., 

Sept. 30, 2008. 
Barrington E. Wash (B.S. 'ss/E), of Mechanicsville, Va., 

July 8, 2008. at age 76. 


Edith Abbot (B.S 'ds/E), of Salem. Mass.. Sept. 25, 

2008, at age 85. 
Carolyn A. Hammond Ball (B.S bS/E). ofTappahannock, 

Va., July I, 2008. 
Mary Jennie Bates (B.S. 'by/E), of Chester, Va., July 17, 

2008, at age 65, 
Katherine T. Branner (MEd. 'bP/E). of Hanover. Va.. 

Sept. 27, 2008. 
Betty O. Brov^n (B.S, ■69/E). of Midlothian, Va., Oct. 

14, 2008. 

Jean G. Comess (B.S. '65/SW), of Virginia Beach, Va., 

Dec. 15, 2008, at age 66. 
Charlotte M. Crayton (B.S, 'dO/H&S; M.Ed. m/E). 

of Kenbridge, Va., Sept. 5, 2008. at age 82. 
Bernard L. Harlov/ (B.S. '67/B), of Mechanicsville, Va.. 

Oct I, 2008, at age 77. 
E.Fred Kahwajy (B.S 62/H&S), of Richmond, Va., July 

27. 2008. 
Byron J. Kirkman" (B.S. 'bO/B). of Richmond, Va.,July 

19, 2008, at age 92. 
Joseph J. Markow Jr. (B.S. '67/8). of Hanover, Va,. 

Sept. 12. 2008, at age 66. 
Joel C. McGurk (MS bT/E). of Richmond. Va.. Aug. 

25, 2008. 
Jack S. Mettee (AS 'bO/En), of Sandston, Va., Jan. 30. 2008. 

34 I VCU Shafer Court Connections 

[class notes] 




ime memDers 


John R. Abram 

Sara E. Anderson 

Fran Avery 

William C. Baber 

Connie A. Beard 

Robert A. Beard 

Joseph E. Becht Jr. 

Michael A. Bell 

Melissa V. Berent 

Paul R. Bethel 

Marie T. Bliss 

Jan Bolger 

Nancy C. Boutchyard 

Jefferson L. Buruss 

Henryetta C. Callahan, L.C.S.W. 

Shirley E. Carney 

Elizabeth Anne Carter, Ph.D. 

Daniel E. Clark 

Gianna C. Clark 

Joice E. Conyers, Ph.D. 

Jessica S. Cope 

Lynn A. Cowles 

Carol A. Cox, Ph.D. 

Edward W. Dadez, Ph.D. 

Kristen N. Davis 

Holly S. Delano 

Michael R. Dickinson 

Lana I. Digges 

Philip G. Disharoon 

James H. Dudley 

Carol V. Dunlap 

Letitia M. Edv/ards 

Alan J. Enjetti 

John E. Farrell 

Rebekah A. Felty 

Anita H. Garland 

Randolph D. Glasscock 

Martha Lou Green, Ed.D. 

Robert J. Grey Jr. 

Gwendolyn J. Gunderson 

Felicia Anderson Hatch 

Jane A. Hatcher 

Linda S. Heath 

Laura Q. Heinle 

Joseph M. Heppert 

Judy Heppert 

Sharon Stark Hooper 

Jennifer A. Huffman 

Michael C. Huffman 

Malinda H. Johnson 

Kanishka Kapil 

Nancy S. Kesler 

JohnG. Klokell 

Bruce E. Lasswell 
TrangT. Le, D.D.S. 
Dean L. Lewis 
Heather Kyle Lewis 
Christopher G. Loftin 
Matilda Bradshaw Loftin 
Robert P. Malyska 
James J. McDonough, Ph.D. 
Elizabeth W. Meggs 
Thomas P. Michelli 
Gwen E. Miller 
Keith H. Miller 
Joanne K. Mudd 
Channing M. Nuckols 
Carol Olson 
Catherine L. Porter 
Laura D. Rexroad, Pharm.D. 
John D. Roberts 
Marcia Ann Robertson 
Merle E. Robertson III 
Susan B. Robertson 
Carrie P. Rose 
Rodney L. Rose 
Gregory E. Salyers 
Michael A. Scruggs 
Cassandra A. Sermons 
Nikki A. Sheridan 
Amar Shrivastava 
Cathaleen B. Skinner 
JoAnn R. Spiegel, Ph.D. 
John J. Stenger 
Katrina H. Stephens 
Michael J. Stephens 
Andrea M. Stewart 
Sarah Werner Swope 
Shing Yue Tang 
Marvin R. Tart Sr. 
Alice Gaskill Taylor 
Jessica M. Thies 
Jeffrey R. Thompson 
Lisa K. Thompson 
Thomas R. Thompson 
James D. Thurman Jr. 
F.H. Wakefield 
Paul D. Ward 
Ruth H. Watkins 
Byron L. Whitted 
Cristy Whitted 
Sandra Bell Wilkins 
Grace L. Williams 
Timothy O. Williams 
James P. Zook 

List includes individuals who joined the VCU Alumni Association as lifetime members 
between July 1, 2008, and Dec. 31 2008. 

Louis A. Michaux(B.S.<59/MC). of Ford City. Pa.. Oct. 

21, 2008, at age 74. 

Preston E. Morris* (BS. '69/B), of Charlottesville, Va., 

July 14, 2008, at age 63. 
James E. Prof f itt (BS '62/6), of Powhatan. Va.. Aug. 

8. 2008. 

Martha C. Puree!! (MS M/H&S). of Richmond, Va., 

July 5. 2008. at age 91. 
Neida B. Roehm (BS ■60/H&S;M,S.6i/AHP). of Hot 

Springs National Park. Ariz.. Dec. 28, 20o8. 
Judith T. Rotella (B S /di/B. M Ed 85/E). of Richmond, 

Va.. July 8. 2008. at age 69. 
John M. Syria (M.SW67/SW). of Raleigh, N.CJuly 

20, 2008, at age 71. 
Sophia P. Teel (MS /bS/H&S). of Bluffton. S.C.June 

10, 2008. 


William G. Bell III (BFA WA). of Roanoke. Va., May 

27, 2008, at age 54. 
William R. Bowers (B.F.A. 72/A), of Americus. Ga., 

Oct. 12. 2008, at age 59. 
Joseph M. Browning Jr. (MBA 77/B), of Richmond, 

Va., Aug. 31, 2008, at age 83. 
Claudine G. Bryant (MEd .^VE). of Richmond, Va., 

July 8, 2008, at age 82. 
Carolyn H. Cromwell (BS '79/8). of Midlothian. Va., 

Dec. 12. 2008. at age 61. 
William F. Cumbo Jr. (M.Ed .^VE). of Richmond. Va., 

Jan. I, 2009, at age 72. 
John O. Dolan(B.S.>i/E;MS-82/E). of Powhatan. Va., 

July 4. 2008, at age 60. 
Rebecca H. Duncan (BS 72/E; M Ed Ty/E), of .Atlanta. Ga. 
Ricky A. Griffith* (BS 79/B), of Richmond, Va..July 

16, 2008, at age 52. 
Linda A. Heacock (B.S.'75/I-I&S; M.Ed. 77/E). of Ashland, 

Va.. Sept. 12. 2008, at age 64. 

Kenneth J. Herndon* (BS 70/B), of Palm Harbor. 

Fla.. Dec. 7. 2008. 
Alfred B. Houghton (M.S. ^s/H&S), of Richmond. Va.. 

Dec. 4. 2008. at age 65. 
Mildred W. Jenkins (MEd, '7e/E). ofTempe, Ariz., July 

22. 2008, at age 86. 

Michael H. Kostinsky (B S ■77/E). of EUicott City. Md.. 

Aug. 28. 2008. 
Denny R. Lambert (B.S.'78/H&S), of Abmgdon. Va., 

July 15. 2008, at age 53. 
Julian C. Morris (BS. '73/8). of Richmond. Va., July 26, 

2008. at age 61. 
Steven H. Mott (BE A-'7i/A), of Middletown Springs. 

Vt.. June 17. 2008. 
Carl W. Murdock Jr. (BS. 74/H&S). of Glen.Mlen. Va.. 

Dec. 28, 2008. at age 68. 
Russell E. Naumann III (AS 'yo/En), of MoUusk. Va.. 

Aug. 3, 2008. 
C.A. Rhudy Sr. (B.S.72/B), of Lynchburg. Va.. .Aug. 4. 


Kirk Ring (B.S.74/B; MBA. 75/6). of Richmond. Va.. 

Nov. I, 2008, at age 64. 
Aubrey L. Sawyer (M.M.E. '77/A). ofVirginia Beach. Va.. 

Aug. 7. 2008. at age 73. 
Tom Skinner* (B.A, '77/I-I&S), of Kannapolis. N.CJuly 

9, 2008. 

John J. Vavala (MB A. ■79/B). of Rockledge. Ra.. May 

27. 2008. at age 55. 
Cortez Howard Williams (B.A 72/H&S). of Richmond. 

Va.. July 12. 2008. 
Linda Stoner Winslett (MEd, '71/E). of Georgetown, 

S.C. Sept. 3. 2008. at age 71. 
Frances P. Wright (B.S, ^s/E). of Kinsale. Va.. Oct. 16. 

2008. at age 90. 

Spring 2009 [ j5 

n memoriam 

Martha Elisabeth Riis Moore, oldest alumna, passes at 94 

Alumna Martha Elisabeth Riis Moore (iiSsfi^i , 
'37/H&S) died Dec. 6, 2008, in Richmond,^ 
She attended Westhampton College and in 
1937 graduated from The Richmond Division of 
the College of William & Mary, a predecessor 
to Virginia Commonwealth University. Moore 
worked for more than 30 years as a social worker 
in Hanover, Henrico and Richmond before 
retiring in 1978. She also worked in the 1950s !' " 
as a part-time newspaper correspondent for / 

the city's evening paper, The Richmond News 
Leader, and the Hanover-Herald Progress, / 

which published her articles and photographs / , , 

documenting black schools in the county. 

To read more about Moore's storied life and her professional and civic contributions, 
visit the Richmond Times-Dispatch online at and search the 
site for "Martha Riis Moore." 

James N. Yerby (B.S Ts/E), of Richmond, Va.. July 23. 
2008. at age 55. 


MiloS. Bidou(BA,'85/H&S). ofGlenAllen, Va..Aug. 7. 

2008, at age 4.6. 
Franklin D. Collins (B,G.S.'88/H&S). of Richmond. Va., 

Dec. II. 2008. at age 74. 
Elaine M. Fauth (B.S,'82/B), of Chesterfield, Va., Aug. 

18, 2008, at age 49. 
Jonathan S. Gilbert (B.S. ^o/M&S), of Rooseveh, N.Y., 

Nov. 20, 2008. at age 49. 
Scott J. Grow (BS, '86/6). of Richmond, Va.. Dec. 24, 

2008. at age 46. 
Dianne N. Hoppes (BA. '87/H&S), of Manakin-Sabot, 

Va., July 18, 2008, at age 62. 
Marshall Knox* (BS, Bi/B), of Richmond, Va., Oct. 4, 

2008, at age 52. 
Karen V. Laf ley (B.S.W 'st/SW, M.S.W 'se/SW), of 

Philadelphia, Pa., July 8, 2008, at age 65. 
Patricia T. Moore (B.FA.'ao/A), of Richmond, Va., Oct. 

14. 2008, at age 66. 
A. Carl Shelton III (BA/80/H&S), of Chesterfield, Va., 

Aug. 7, 2008, at age 51, 
Jennifer K. Sweeney (B S so/E), of Midlothian, Va., 

July 2. 2008, at age 58. 
Edward O. Tate (B,S, eo/H&S), of Rents Store, Va., 

Sept. 5, 2008, at age 69. 
William G. Trout (Bf.A.'bi/A). of Richmond, Va. 
John C. Turner (M.B.A, ■52/8), of Richmond, Va.. Oct. 

17, 2008, at age 73. 


The fall 2008 issue of Shafer Court Connections 
listed incorrect degree information for Leah 
Bush, a member of the VCU Alumni Association 
board of directors. She earned an M.S. in biology 
in 1979 and an M.D. in 1984. Shafer Court 
Connections regrets the error 

Cindy Woods (B FA, as/A), ofRichmond, Va., Nov, 21, 

2008, at age 52. 
Thomas L, Wright (BS. 84/8; M J w/E, Ced. os/E), 

of Richmond. Va., Oct, 6, 2008, at age 48. 


Carl B. Atkins (BS. Va/En). ofRichmond, Va., Dec. 9. 

2008, at age 57. 
Aloma L. Harris (B.S, WH&S), of State College, Pa., 

Sept, 9, 2008, at age 36. 
Mendy A. Malhena (B.A.'96/H&S: MI WE). ofEasley. 

S.C., Sept, 20, 2008, at age 35, 
William C. Seay (BA, WH&S: MX WE), ofRichmond, 

Va.. Jan. I., 2009, at age 36. 
Robert R. Stutzman (MEd. WE), of Fredericksburg, 

Va., June 30, 2008, at age 46. 


Jeffrey C. Andrick (B FA, b3/A), ofRichmond, Va., 

Sept. 13. 2008, at age 27. 
Josephine A. Artis (M Ed. os/E). ofRichmond, Va., 

July 15, 2008, at age 37. 
Shandi S. Sutton (B A.08/H&S), ofRichmond, Va., 

Dec, 9, 2008, at age 27, 

Faculty and staff 

David French Sauer (B.F.A. so/A), a professor in 
the VCU School of the Arts, died Jan. 12. 2009. 
Sauer received the distinction of being the youngest 
exhibitor to be admitted to a national art exhibit 
— at the age of 16 — with his painting "Still Life 
Number 14.,'" which was included in the Fifth 
Biennial of Contemporary American Painting at 
the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. During his 60 
years as a painter, he exhibited in numerous cities 
including New York, Atlanta and San Francisco, 
and a number of his works were included in the 
Duncan Phillips collection in Washington. D.C. 

John Sutherland, Ph.D., a professor of information 
systems who taught at VCU for 28 years, died Dec. 26, 
2008. Sutherland came to VCU in 1980 and served 
as the department's lead Ph.D. adviser for several years 
in the 1980s and 1990s. 

Abbreviation key 

Alumni are identified by degree, year and 

college or school. An asterisk (*) identifies 
members of the VCU Alumni Association. 

College and schools 

H&S College of Humanities and Sciences 

A School of the Arts 

AHP School of Allied Health Professions 

B School of Business 

D School of Dentistry 

E School of Education 

En School of Engineering 

GPA L. Douglas Wilder School 

of Government and Public Affairs 

GS Graduate School 

LS VCU Life Sciences 

M School of Medicine 

MC School of Mass Communications 

N School of Nursing 

P School of Pharmacy 

SW School of Social Work 

WS School of World Studies 


A.S. Associate Degree 

Cert. Certificate 

B.F.A, Bachelor of Fine Arts 

B.G.S. Bachelor of Genera! Studies 

B.I.S. Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies 

B.M. Bachelor of Music 

B.M,E. Bachelor of Music Education 

B.S. Bachelor of Science 

B.S.W. Bachelor of Social Work 

D.D.S. Doctor of Dental Surgery 

D.N. A. P. Doctor of Nurse Anesthesia Practice 

D.P.A. Doctor of Public Administration 

D.P.T. Doctor of Physical Therapy 

M.A. Master of Arts 

M.Acc. Master of Accountancy 

M.A.E. Master of Art Education 

M.B.A. Master of Business Administration 

M.Bin. Master of Bioinformatics 

M.D. Doctor of Medicine 

M.Ed. Master of Education 

M.Env. Master of Environmental Studies 

M.F.A. Master of Fine Arts 

M.H.A. Master of Health Administration 

M.I.S. Master of Interdisciplinary Studies 

M.M, Master of Music 

M,M.E. Master of Music Education 

M.P.A. Master of Public Administration 

M.RH. Master of Public Health 

M.P.S. Master of Pharmaceutical Sciences 

M.S. Master of Science 

M.S.A.T. Master of Science in Athletic Training 

M.S.D. Master of Science in Dentistry 

M.S.H.A, Master of Science in Health 


M,S.N.A. Master of Science in Nurse Anesthesia 

M.S.O.T. Master of Science in Occupational Therapy 

M.S.W. Master of Social Work 

M.T. Master of Teaching 

M.Tax. Master of Taxation 

M.U.R.P. Master of Urban and Regional Planning 

O.T.D. Post-professional Occupational 

Therapy Doctorate 

Pharm.D. Doctor of Pharmacy 

Ph.D. Doctor of Philosophy 

36 I VCU Shafer Court Connections 



redefines the college shopping experience 

By Kelli Anderson 

Large, gold-and-black banners line West Broad Street drawing the attention of 
passers-by to Virginia Commonwealth University's newly renovated Monroe Park Campus 
bookstore. Opened in spring 2008. Barnes &. Noble @ VCU serves students as well as 
community members living and working near campus with textbooks and an array of 
traditional Barnes & Noble products. In addition, the store carries an expanded selection 
of Rams apparel — another eye-catching draw. 

"One of the first things we wanted to do was bring all our 
general and VCU merchandise to the windows so students 
and Richmonders could see it from the street front, " says 
Amy Randolph, Barnes & Noble @ VCU general manager. 

Once inside the 30.000-square-foot store, customers 
can browse the best-sellers, pick up school and art supplies 
or settle into one of several seating areas to chat with friends 
or to study. 

In the mid-1980s, space was much more limited in the 
6,000-square-foot Hibbs Hall bookstore, then operated by 
the university, as stacks of books lined the interior. 

The bookstore gained more breathing room 10 years later, 
in 1998, when VCU opened e" Bookstore on the ground floor 
of the West Broad Street Parking Deck. The store's technol- 
ogy- and energy-oriented design reflected the e-commerce 
trend popular at the time. 

"The store had a harder and edgier feel," says Dan 
McDonald, VCU Business Services assistant director. 

In contrast, Barnes & Noble @ VCU offers a more com- 
fortable atmosphere, with a mix of dark hardwood floors 
and carpeting, warmer colors, and comfy seating. Students 
now visit the store to hang out with friends, grab lunch at 
Quiznos or attend one of the many book signings, with 
appearances by alumni authors such as David Baldacci (B. A. 
'83/HS:S) and Doug Burford (B.S. 65/MC). 

'"My favorite thing about the store is seeing students sitting at the study tables reading 
or talking with friends, " Randolph says. "1 think it s a place where students feel very welcome. 

Campus and student snapshots appear throughout the store on posters and murals, promot- 
ing VCU pride in the community. Alongside VCU gear, customers can easily find all the things 
they've come to expect from Barnes & Noble. 

"They made a real commitment to sell books you would find in a regular Barnes & Noble.' 
McDonald says. "They've been more aggressive in reaching out as a neighborhood resource, 
adding community activities on the weekends to encourage people to coiue in and shop. " 

The bookseller worked closely with the university to marry VCU's unique character with 
the larger brand, creating an opportunity to cater to students as well as to the community. 

"We had a vision of this bookstore being part of the downtown Richmond community 
as well as serving as the VCU bookstore, " Randolph says. 

Kelli Anderson is a contributing writer for Shafer Court Connections. 

[then and now] 

The VCU bookstore evolves in sync 
v/ith the growing student population and 
societal trends, while integrating the down- 
town Richmond community. 

[then] In the 1960s through the mid- 
1980s, the VCU bookstore - located in 
Hibbs Hall — supplied students with uni- 
versity materials, such as used textbooks 
and art supplies. 

[now] Barnes & Noble @ VCU on the 
Monroe Park Campus welcomes students 
and shoppers into a comfortable environ- 
ment to read a best-selling novel, study 
for a test, or meet friends over coffee. 

Spring 2009 I ; 


Mark your calendars for these Virginia Commonwealth University 
and VCU Alumni Association events. For more alumni activities, 
go to, or visit for campus happenings. 


April 9-2l 

Theatre VCU - "Chicago" 

W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts 
(804,) 828-6026 


Juried Student Fine Art Exhibition 

Anderson Gallery 

Outdoor Adventure Program: Canoeing 
Under the Stars 


Reunion Weekend* 

Various events/locations 


Outdoor Adventure Program 


Outdoor Adventure Program: New River 
Rafting Trip 


M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition, Round I 

Anderson Gallery 


Opera Theatre VCU — "Suor Angelica" 
and "Gianni Schicchi" 

W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts 


May 8-17 

M.F.A. Thesis Exhibition, Round 2 

Anderson Gallery 
(804) 828-1522 

Spring Commencement 

May 13 

Graduates Reception Gala* 

"Your Passport to the World!" 

Science Museum of Virginia 

May IJ 

Graduating Student Scholars Reception* 

VCU Scott House 

May 16 

Spring Commencement 

Richmond Coliseum 

May 17-26 

Outdoor Adventure Program: Costa Rica 



May 21 

VCUAA Board of Directors Meeting* 

University Student Commons 



Maggie Sansone's Celtic Trio 

W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts 

^cpiiun Bennett 

Stephen Bennett 

W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts 

July 24 

Quatro na Bossa 

W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts 
(804) 828-1166 

July 26 

VCU Community Guitar Ensemble 

W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts 



Chestnut Brass Company 

W.E. Singleton Center for the Performing Arts 

Oct. 19-23 

Friends of the Library Annual Book Sale 

James Branch Cabell Library 

* VCUAA event 

38 I VCU Shafer Court Connections 




University Student Commons: 1984 

Catering to a student population nearing 17.OOO 
in 1977, the Virginia Commonwealth University 
Office of Student Activities, desperately needs more room. A proposal for a 
new student commons building gains approval, and after years of planning 
and lobbying by students, faculty and administrators, the University Student 
Commons opens its doors Jan. 17, 1984. Offering indoor and outdoor 
spaces where students congregate and relax, the 69,135-square-foot facility 
features a large staircase, glass atrium and 35'-'-seat theater. 


Virginia Commonwealtin University 

Office of Alumni Relations 

924 West Franklin Street 

PO, Box 843044 

Richmond, Virginia 23284-3044 

Non-profit Organization 

U.S. Postage Paid 

Permit No. 869 



Connect online 

The updated VCU Alumni Association Web site 
offers new features to keep you plugged in. 

NEW Personal Web pages and social networking 

NEW Searchable alumni directory 

NCW Career center 

NEW Calendar of events and online event and membership registration ' 

NEW Easy access to association partners 

Easy access to VCU links 

Alumni magazines — current and previous issues 

University and alumni association news and information 

Visit the site today for a test drive! 

For more information and to join your VCU Alumni Association, please visit the Web site and select "Become a Member."