Virginia Commonwealth University
Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) is a public research university in Richmond, Virginia. VCU was founded in 1838 as the medical department of Hampden–Sydney College, becoming the Medical College of Virginia in 1854. In 1968, the Virginia General Assembly merged MCV with the Richmond Professional Institute, founded in 1917, to create Virginia Commonwealth University. In 2018, more than 31,000 students pursue 217 degree and certificate programs through VCU's 11 schools and three colleges. The VCU Health System supports the university's health care education, research, and patient care mission.
|Latin: Virginia rei Publicae Universitates|
|Motto||Make it Real|
|Type||Public research university|
|Established||October 20, 1838|
|Endowment||$1.99 billion (2020)|
|Rector||H. Benson Dendy III|
150 acres (610,000 m2)
|Newspaper||The Commonwealth Times|
|Colors||Black and Gold|
|Athletics||NCAA Division I – A-10|
|Sports||17 varsity teams|
|Mascot||Rodney the Ram|
VCU had a record $310 million in sponsored research funding in the fiscal year 2019 and is classified among "R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity". A broad array of university-approved centers and institutes of excellence, involving faculty from multiple disciplines in the humanities, public policy, biotechnology and health care discoveries, supports the university's research mission. Twenty-eight graduate and first-professional programs are ranked by U.S. News & World Report as among the best in the country. VCU's athletic teams compete in Division I of the NCAA and are collectively known as the VCU Rams. They are members of the Atlantic 10 Conference. The VCU campus includes historic buildings such as the Ginter House, now used by the school's provost.
VCU's history began in 1838 when the Medical Department of Hampden-Sydney College opened in Richmond. In 1844, it moved into its first permanent home, the Egyptian Building. In 1854, the Medical Department of Hampden–Sydney College received an independent charter from the Virginia General Assembly and became the Medical College of Virginia (MCV). A few years later in 1860, MCV conveyed all its property to the Commonwealth of Virginia and becomes a state institution in exchange for $30,000.
MCV survived the American Civil War war, and moved to the forefront of clinical treatment with the introduction of the syringe, thermometer, vaginal speculum, cystoscope and local anesthesia in 1874. Prior to anesthesia, surgery was performed in patient rooms with chloroform, and surgery could only be performed in the winter months because cholera, typhoid and diphtheria made the population too weak to sustain an operation during the summer months. Also in 1874, through the binocular microscope, doctors saw for the first time that inflammation and blood cells were required for healing — so they at last abandoned the centuries-old practice of blood-letting.
The most significant event of the following 25 years was the initiation of surgical antisepsis. Spraying operating rooms with carbolic acid had been introduced 14 years earlier by Lister in England, but its adoption was delayed in Virginia, under the notion that the pure country air of Virginia was in itself an antiseptic. In 1893, the College of Physicians and Surgeons, later University College of Medicine, was established by Hunter Holmes McGuire just three blocks away from MCV. In 1912, McGuire Hall opened as the new home of the University College of Medicine. The following year, MCV and UCM merged through the efforts of George Ben Johnston and Stuart McGuire. MCV acquired the Memorial Hospital as a result of the merger.
Richmond Professional Institute traces its roots back to 1917, when it began as the Richmond School of Social Work and Public Health. In 1925, it became the Richmond division of The College of William & Mary. In 1939, this division became the Richmond Professional Institute of The College of William & Mary" (RPI). In 1947, the MCV Foundation was incorporated, and in 1962 RPI separated from William & Mary to become an independent state institution. Then in 1968, state legislation (Wayne Commission Report) merged MCV and RPI to become Virginia Commonwealth University.
Warren W. Brandt served as the first president of VCU. During his tenure, 32 degree programs were added, and the School of Allied Health Professions and the School of Community Services were established. In addition, more than $20 million of new construction was completed or initiated on both campuses, including the James Branch Cabell Library, Rhoads Hall, the School of Business building, the Larrick Student Center and a large addition to Sanger Hall.
In the 1980s, and under the leadership of VCU President Edmund Ackell, a major overhaul of the university's governance system and administrative structure was initiated. Dr. Ackell lead the administration in instituting a new system for both short-range and long-range university planning; establishing faculty convocation and a new set of faculty tenure and promotion guidelines; and establishing greater access to the community by supporting the use of the university's research and educational resources to meet social needs.Eugene Trani became the president of VCU in 1990. During his tenure VCU became one of the largest universities in Virginia, growing from an enrollment of 21,764 in 1990, to 32,284 at the time of his retirement. VCU was the state's first university to enroll over 30,000 students. Under Dr. Trani's leadership VCU and the VCU Health System undertook more than $2.2 billion in capital construction and renovation projects.
In 2013, VCU was awarded a $62 million federal grant to oversee a national research consortium of universities, hospitals and clinics to study what happens to service members and veterans who suffer mild traumatic brain injuries or concussions.
In 2010, VCU received a $20 million National Institutes of Health grant to join a nationwide consortium of research institutions working to turn laboratory discoveries into treatments for patients. The Clinical and Translational Science Award made VCU the only academic health center in Virginia to join the prestigious CTSA network. In 2011, The Carnegie Foundation elevated Virginia Commonwealth University to "Very High Research Activity," with over 255 million in sponsored research.
In 2009, Michael Rao was appointed the fifth president of VCU.
In 2018, a series of protests by adjunct faculty were held at VCU, over low pay and no benefits. Ahead of the 2018-19 budget, $4.2 million was allocated to increase adjunct faculty funding from $800 to $1,000 per credit hour, about $1,000 less than what the coalition was demanding.
Virginia Commonwealth University has two main campuses in Richmond, Va.: the Monroe Park Campus, located west of downtown Richmond, and the MCV Campus in the urban center. Additionally, VCU has a branch campus in Education City, Doha, Qatar, along with numerous regional facilities.
Monroe Park CampusEdit
Named after the city park (see Monroe Park), the 90.6-acre Monroe Park Campus took its name in June 2004, replacing the former name, the Academic Campus of VCU. The Monroe Park Campus houses most of VCU's general education facilities, and is situated on the eastern end of the Fan district, a historic, late 19th-century neighborhood adjacent to downtown Richmond. Prior to the merger of the Richmond Professional Institute and the Medical College of Virginia, the campus was the home to the entire Richmond Professional Institute. Today, the campus has a mixture of modern and vintage buildings, with over 40 structures built before 1900.
The 52.3-acre MCV Campus is home to the VCU Medical Center. This includes the Schools of Medicine, Dentistry, Pharmacy, Allied Health, Nursing, and the medical center, which is overseen by the VCU Health System Authority. The campus is also home to the Massey Cancer Center (an NCI-designated Cancer Center) and the Children's Hospital of Richmond at VCU. The MCV Campus is an integral part of Richmond in the old Court End district. The neighborhood is located adjacent to the city's business and financial district near the state capitol. VCU's Health Sciences schools comprise the School of Allied Health Professions, the School of Dentistry, the School of Medicine, the School of Nursing, and the School of Pharmacy.
VCU satellite and research locationsEdit
- Virginia Bio-Technology Research Park was incorporated in May 1992 as a joint initiative of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU), the City of Richmond and the Commonwealth of Virginia. The research park is home to more than 60 life science companies, research institutes and state/federal labs, employing more than 2,200 scientists, engineers and researchers.
- Inger and Walter Rice Center for Environmental Life Sciences is located on 494 acres along the James River. The center has a primary focus of research on the science and policy of large rivers and their fringing riparian and wetland landscapes.
- VCU Medical Center at Stony Point, in southwestern Richmond
- VCU School of Medicine Inova Campus
- VCU School of Pharmacy Inova Campus
- VCU School of Pharmacy University of Virginia Division
VCUarts Qatar is VCU School of the Arts' branch campus located in State of Qatar. It was established in 1998 through a partnership with Qatar Foundation and was the first university to open its doors in Education City. The contract was renewed in July 2012 and goes through July 2022. VCUarts Qatar offers the Bachelor of Fine Arts and Master of Fine Arts degrees. As part of the contract, VCU is not allowed to open any other degree-granting arts or design programs in other Middle Eastern countries. VCUarts Qatar is accredited by National Association of Schools of Art & Design, The Southern Association of Colleges and Schools and Council for Interior Design Accreditation.
VCU is not the only US campus in Education City, and it, along with the other universities, are the subject of criticism of their implicit acceptance of Qatar's sponsorship of terrorism and egregious human rights violations.
- College of Humanities & Sciences
- Robertson School of Media and Culture 
- School of World Studies
- L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs
- School of Allied Health Professions
- School of the Arts
- School of Business
- School of Dentistry
- School of Education
- College of Engineering
- School of Medicine
- School of Nursing
- School of Pharmacy
- School of Social Work
- University College
- VCU Graduate School
- VCU Honors College
- VCU Life Sciences
Seventy-nine of VCU's programs are unique to Virginia, such as the Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness major in the L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, as well as the Real Estate and Urban Land Development degree in VCU's School of Business. The university also offers a wide range of study options with 225 certificate, undergraduate, graduate, professional and doctoral degrees in the arts, sciences and humanities.
The university's medical campus provides students with several opportunities for postgraduate study. Under the Guaranteed Admission Program, select incoming undergraduates who maintain a high academic standard are guaranteed a spot in a number of professional health science programs.
VCU Life Sciences comprises three units: the Center for the Study of Biological Complexity (CSBC), the Center for Environmental Studies (CES), and the Rice Center for Environmental Life Sciences. VCU Life Sciences offers an undergraduate and graduate programs as well as a PhD program in Integrated Life Sciences (ILS). Note that the Department of Biology is a separate unit independent of Life Sciences although there are numerous active interactions between the two. The highly interdisciplinary, systems-based program relies on hundreds of faculty members. With activities at the local, regional and national levels, VCU Life Sciences helps increase public literacy in the life sciences and provides an assessment of American public attitudes toward the field.
VCU da Vinci CenterEdit
VCU schools of the Arts, Business, and Engineering have collaborated to create the VCU da Vinci Center for Innovation in Product Design and Development. Student teams from these schools take on a product development or design challenge posed by one of the center's industry partners. In addition to the current collaboration, the College of Humanities and Sciences joined the Center late in the Fall 2012 semester. The VCU da Vinci Center currently offers an Undergraduate Certificate and a master's degree in Product Innovation. The Masters of Product Innovation is the first of its kind in the United States. The center was recognized by a report presented to President Obama as one of the 29 best programs to offer a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) degree. It was the only program in Virginia to be included on the list.
International Partnership UniversitiesEdit
Fifteen international Partnership Universities and VCU School in Qatar are located in 11 countries.
- Bauhaus University, Weimar (Germany)
- Beijing Foreign Studies University (China)
- Curtin University of Technology (Australia)
- Fudan University (China)
- Hadassah Medical Center (Israel)
- Harris Manchester College (United Kingdom)
- Indian Institute of Technology (India)
- Oxford University (United Kingdom)
- Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (India)
- Moscow State University (Russia)
- St. Petersburg State University (Russia)
- University of Córdoba (Spain)
- University of Guadalajara (Mexico)
- University of KwaZulu–Natal (South Africa)
- University of Messina (Italy)
- University of São Paulo (Brazil)
- University of the West of England (United Kingdom)
Rankings and recognitionsEdit
|U.S. News & World Report||172|
|U.S. News & World Report||402|
According to the 2016 U.S. News & World Report, VCU is classified as a Tier 1 University with an overall National University rank of No. 156 and holds a rank of No. 84 among all public colleges and universities in the United States.
The Academic Ranking of World Universities conducted in 2005 by the Institute of Higher Education at Shanghai Jiao Tong University ranks VCU in the top 100 universities in North & Latin America and one of the top 200 universities in the world.
Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts (VCUarts) is ranked the No. 1 public university school of arts and design in the country (#4 among public & private institutions) by U.S. News & World Report in 2015.[Out of Date] VCUarts is the only public university arts and design school in the country to ever be ranked this high in overall ranking. Indeed, the New York Times called it "that rare public research institution that has put the arts front and center". The VCU Brandcenter, the School of Business' graduate program in advertising, has also been ranked first in the nation by Creativity Magazine and as one of the top 60 design schools in the world by BusinessWeek.[Out of Date]
VCU Engineering, started in 1996 has seen tremendous growth and completely new facilities. William F. Goodwin, Chairman of the VCU School of Engineering Foundation Board of Trustees, has set an ambitious objective for the engineering program. He's aiming for "25 in 25" – a top 25 engineering-school rank within 25 years. As of 2014[update], U.S News & Report ranks the Biomedical Engineering program 58th, Computer Engineering program 84th, Electrical/Electronic/Communications Engineering 89th in the United States. The School of Business currently ranks as the No. 51 part-time MBA program and No. 97 best undergraduate business program in the United States according to Bloomberg Businessweek and U.S. News & World Report, respectively.
In 2016 U.S. News & World Report ranked VCU School of Pharmacy 17th among pharmacy schools in the United States. According to the 2012 U.S. News & World Report VCU School of Social Work was ranked 11 and the Public Affairs graduate program was ranked 53 in the nation.
In its history, one faculty member and one alumnus have won a Nobel Prize: Baruj Benacerraf, an alumnus of the Medical College of Virginia, was awarded the 1980 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, and John Fenn, a professor in the College of Humanities & Sciences, was awarded the 2002 Nobel Prize in Chemistry.
In the medical field, VCU has had four professors elected to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences' Institute of Medicine, most recently Steven Woolf in 2001. Historically, notable faculty members include Charles-Édouard Brown-Séquard, M.D., for whom Brown-Séquard syndrome is named. Hunter McGuire, M.D., was the Confederate surgeon for General Thomas J. "Stonewall" Jackson before he founded the "University College of Medicine", which later merged with Medical College of Virginia where he became the Chairman of Surgery. The Hunter Holmes McGuire Veterans Administration Medical Center is named in his honor.
Jennifer Johnson's (Professor of Sociology) work at the Department of Defense in the area of Social Network Analysis won her the 2006 Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Joint Distinguished Civilian Service Award, which is the highest-ranking civilian service award given by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Dr. Johnson was also awarded the 2004 Analyst of the Quarter by the Joint Warfare Analysis Center for her work on the Social Network Analysis Methodology Team. Also Gevork Minaskanian, cofounder of Aderis Pharmaceuticals, developers of Rotigotine, a dopamine agonist for treatment of Parkinson's disease, teaches at VCU.
The theatre department includes two-time Tony Award nominee, costume designer Toni-Leslie James, James's work on Broadway, film, and television is known internationally. Tony Award nominated scenic designer Scott Bradley recently joined the faculty. The department's new chair Sharon Ott received the 1997 Regional Theatre Tony Award on behalf of Berkeley Repertory Theatre . Broadway veterans Keith Byron Kirk, David Emerson Toney, David Leong, Neno Russell, and Bonnie McCoy are also teaching faculty for the department; film actor Bostin Christopher is also on the faculty.
Several faculty at VCUarts are Guggenheim Fellows including Stephen Vitiello in Kinetic Imaging, Sonali Gulati in Photography & Film, Corin Hewitt in Sculpture, Michael Jones McKean in Sculpture, and Guadalupe Maravilla in Sculpture.
The VCU Counseling Psychology Graduate Program was ranked 3rd in the nation in the Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index in 2007. The VCU Public Administration program in the L. Douglas Wilder School for Government and Public Affairs was ranked 9th in the nation by the Faculty Scholarly Productivity Index in 2007.
The VCU Libraries is one of the largest research libraries in Virginia. In 2018, VCU Libraries became the 125th member of the august Association of Research Libraries.
The libraries hold more than 3 million volumes (including more than 665,000 electronic books) and extensive journal and database holdings. Collection strengths include the arts, behavioral sciences, business, chemistry, clinical medicine, education, health and life sciences, public affairs, and social work. The VCU Libraries hosts 2.5 million visitors each year.
The James Branch Cabell Library supports the Monroe Park Campus. Its Special Collections and Archives department houses one of the largest book art collections in the Southeast and the fifth largest graphic novel and comic book collection in the United States. It also includes records of local organizations and papers of numerous Virginia writers, artists and social activists from Virginia's under-documented communities, and is the repository of the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards. In early 2016, VCU Libraries acquired a rare copy of All-Negro Comics No. 1.
The Health Sciences Library on the MCV Campus has the largest medical collection in the state, with extensive journal collections dating back to the 19th century. Special Collections and Archives maintain the papers of health care practitioners and the history of health care in Virginia. Its Medical Artifacts Collection has more than 6,000 instruments and equipment related to the history of health care in Virginia over the last 150 years.
In March 2016, a 93,000-square-foot expansion of Cabell Library was dedicated. The new space has allowed for the addition of 25 new study rooms, a graduate and faculty reading room, a silent reading room and "The Workshop," a multimedia production suite, a gaming suite, and a makerspace. Ninety percent of the new space is dedicated to student and researcher use rather than staff offices or book storage.
The VCU Libraries offers electronic access to some of its special collections, including papers, images, and sound files relating to civil rights, Richmond architecture, civil war medicine, comic-book and cartooning arts, medical artifacts, and the history of VCU.
Library initiatives have included the 2014 Freedom Now Project, which published civil rights protests in 1963 Prince Edward County, Virginia and invited citizens to come forward to help identify participants and tell these untold stories. In 2015, a 19th-century map overlaid with current geospacial data and Google maps allowed researchers and the public to explore the history and architecture of Richmond. VCU Libraries maintains The Social Welfare History Project, an online resource documenting the history of social reform movements and social welfare. The Social Welfare History Image Portal, a companion site hosting primary source materials contributed by an eclectic group of partner institutions, supports research and promotes the use of archival materials related to social welfare history and reform movements.
Blackbird Journal founded in 2002 by the Creative Writing Program of the Department of English at Virginia Commonwealth University in partnership with New Virginia Review, Inc., a nonprofit literary arts organization based in Richmond, Virginia. Blackbird published poems by many poets, including: Seyed Morteza Hamidzadeh, Julia B. Levine, Sarah Rose Nordgren, Dave Smith, Sofia Starnes, Inge Pedersen, Wesley Gibson, Andrew Zawacki, Elizabeth King, Kiki Petrosino, Negar Emrani, Kaveh Akbar and etc.
The student body consists of 57% female students and 42% male students. Out-of-state students have increased to 15% as of the fall of 2011, and the remaining 85% of students are from Virginia. Demographically, the student body is 51% white, 15% African American, 12% Asian, 7% Hispanic, 6% International, less than 1% Native American and 8% Unknown.
More than 79% of VCU freshmen live on campus. VCU's current residential hall capacity is around 6,200 students. Because of the prominent location within the city of Richmond, many upperclassmen live in student apartments located around the campus, specifically in The Fan, Oregon Hill or the Carver neighborhood, and are still able to walk or bike to their classes.
Dining Services at VCU is contracted to ARAMARK Higher Education. Undergraduate students living in a dorm-style university residence hall are required to purchase a residential dining plan. VCU Dining Services offers a variety of plans that allow a specific number of "Swipes" and "Dining Dollars" to be used throughout a semester. All unused swipes and dining dollars are forfeited at the end of each semester. "Swipes" are described as the equivalent of one-meal. Swipes can be used to enter Shafer Court Dining Center, the buffet style dining hall, and through swipe exchanges at various VCU retail restaurants during specific times. "Dining Dollars" allow students the opportunity to purchase tax-free meals at any VCU retail restaurant. Commuter students, students living off campus, faculty, and staff have the option of purchasing a nonresidential dining plan. Many dining options are available at restaurants not affiliated with VCU within a short walking distance.
VCU has more than 500 registered student organizations in which students can be involved. VCU boasts a well-established net of ethnic and cultural, religious, recreational and special interest organizations. There are two student government associations at VCU, one for each campus.
VCU is also an academic partner to the largest French Film Festival in the United States. Founded in 1993, the total participation in 2012 has grown to more than 22,000 entries for the 27 films.
VCU offers many student-run media outlets that allow students to express themselves without censorship or administrative control. See more at www.vcustudentmedia.com.
- Amendment - An annual literary journal that presents points of view outside mainstream culture, specializing in social progression through artistic expression.
- The Commonwealth Times – An independent student-run and -written newspaper published once a week during the school year.
- Ink Magazine – Multi-ethnic student news magazine published two times during the academic year, and publishes online year round.
- "Poictesme" – An undergraduate student literary journal distributed every spring to the student body and surrounding community
- Potboiler Podcast Network - a network of podcasts.
- Rams Review – A student-run sports media outlet
- WVCW – A student-run independent radio station at VCU
- The Horn – An inactive student-run multimedia website about the local music scene in Richmond
Recreational Sports offers facilities on both campuses. Opened in spring 2010, the newly renovated Cary Street Gym includes the 18,000-square-foot fitness center, a rock climbing wall, two pools, racquetball and basketball courts, a track and an aerobics mezzanine.
The MCV Campus Recreation and Aquatic Center provide space for basketball, volleyball, racquetball and other sports. A 25-meter, six-lane pool is available for lap swimming, water basketball and volleyball.
The VCU Outdoor Adventure Program provides a full schedule of day trips and weekend excursions focused on such outdoor activities as camping, kayaking, white-water rafting, canoeing and caving.
Service learning at VCU is a course-based, credit-bearing educational experience in which students participate in an organized service activity that meets community-identified needs. More than 3,000 VCU students are enrolled in service learning at VCU.
Virginia Commonwealth University hosts 36 international fraternities and sororities across four governing councils with over 1,700 students. Within the student body, a total of 6.3% of women join a sorority and 8% of men join a fraternity. VCU's fraternity and sorority community has grown particularly rapidly in the last few years. .
List of VCU's Fraternity and Sorority Chapters
|Interfraternity Council||College Panhellenic Council||Multicultural Greek Council||National Pan-Hellenic Council|
|Alpha Epsilon Pi – Epsilon Pi Chapter||Alpha Epsilon Phi – Beta Theta||alpha Kappa Delta Phi – VCU Colony||Alpha Phi Alpha – Theta Rho Chapter|
|Alpha Kappa Lambda – Beta Nu Chapter||Alpha Gamma Delta – Theta Nu||Delta Phi Omega – Kappa Chapter||Alpha Kappa Alpha – Theta Rho Chapter|
|Delta Chi – Virginia Commonwealth||Alpha Omicron Pi – Rho Beta||Kappa Phi Gamma – Theta Chapter||Delta Sigma Theta – Eta Tau Chapter|
|Kappa Delta Rho - Omega Alpha Chapter||Alpha Sigma Alpha – Epsilon Gamma||Lambda Phi Epsilon – VCU Alpha Sigma Chapter||Iota Phi Theta – Delta Delta Chapter|
|Lambda Chi Alpha – Pi Tau Chapter||Alpha Xi Delta – Iota Sigma Chapter||Lambda Theta Alpha – Zeta Alpha Chapter||Kappa Alpha Psi – Eta Xi Chapter|
|Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) – Mu Pi Chapter||Phi Sigma Rho – Omega||Lambda Theta Phi – Interest Group||Omega Psi Phi - Phi Delta Chapter|
|Phi Kappa Sigma – Delta Upsilon||Sigma Sigma Sigma – Epsilon Sigma||Lambda Upsilon Lambda – Alpha Psi Chapter||Phi Beta Sigma - Delta Upsilon Chapter|
|Phi Mu Alpha Sinfonia – Rho Omega||Phi Mu – Lambda Gamma||Sigma Lambda Upsilon – Alpha Zeta Chapter||Sigma Gamma Rho - Epsilon Zeta Chapter|
|Pi Kappa Alpha – Lambda Chi||Zeta Tau Alpha – Lambda Eta Chapter||Theta Nu Xi – Alpha Kappa Chapter||Zeta Phi Beta - Eta Theta Chapter|
|Pi Lambda Phi – VA Omega Rho||Gamma Rho Lambda - VCU Colony|
|Phi Kappa Psi Virginia Eta Chapter|
|Sigma Alpha Epsilon – Virginia Chi|
|Sigma Phi Epsilon – Virginia Beta|
|Theta Chi – Theta Xi|
|Triangle Fraternity – VCU Chapter|
|Pi Kappa Phi- Epsilon Pi|
VCU's police force consists of 99 sworn police officers and more than 200 security personnel. VCU also provides a free Security Escort service (RAM SAFE) to students and faculty to assist them in reaching their destination and have stationed more than 370 Emergency Reporting Telephone Systems in various areas throughout campus.
Having competed at the NCAA Division I level for little more than 30 years, Virginia Commonwealth University has sponsored a broad-based program of intercollegiate athletics. The VCU Rams have won in excess of 30 conference championships, participated in numerous NCAA post-season championship events, including a run to the Final Four in men's basketball in 2011, and had a number of All-Americans—both academic and athletic. VCU currently sponsors sixteen varsity teams in NCAA Division I play through the Atlantic 10 Conference (A10).
VCU Men's tennis is one of the school's most successful programs. The team is coached by Paul Kostin who is one of five Division I coaches to reach the 900-victory mark. The Men's tennis team holds 12 CAA Championships, 18 NCAA tournament appearances, and 17 years of finishing in the top 25 rankings in the country. In 2000, VCU men's tennis had its best season, finishing runner up to Stanford in the NCAA Finals Championship match. The team finished with a No. 9 ranking in the country.
Also under coach Paul Kostin, VCU's women's tennis team has 3 CAA championships, 12 NCAA appearances, and 8 years in the top 25.
Other intercollegiate sports include Men and Women's Basketball, Men and Women's Cross Country, Field Hockey, Golf, Men and Women's Soccer (played at Sports Backers Stadium), Men and Women's Track and Field, Volleyball, and Women's Lacrosse.
VCU also has many student run club teams. These sports not sponsored by the university include coed & all-girl cheerleading, baseball, softball, men's and women's rugby union, ice hockey, ultimate, men's and women's lacrosse, cycling, men's and women's crew and dodgeball. Previous club sports have also included wrestling and tennis.
VCU reached the Final Four in the 2011 NCAA tournament. The team has won a total of 9 conference championships with the most recent coming in 2015, the team's first A10 championship win. The VCU Rams currently play at the Stuart C. Siegel Center, where they hold the 11th highest Home Court winning percentage in Division I basketball with a winning percentage of .8579
In the 2011 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament, VCU qualified as an at-large bid, having to play in the newly formatted tournament's "First Four" against USC. The decision to allow VCU to participate in the tournament was widely criticized among pundits and the media. VCU defeated USC 59–46 in the "First Four" play-in game. VCU then went on to upset Georgetown 74–56 in the round of 64. The 11th-seeded VCU Rams then upset 3rd-seeded Purdue 94–76 to advance to the Sweet 16 for the first time in school history. In the sweet sixteen, VCU defeated 10th-seeded Florida State 72–71 on a last second bucket in overtime to advance to the Elite 8 for the first time in school history. VCU beat the No. 1 seed Kansas in the Southwest Regional final by a score of 71–61. It was the Rams' first trip to the Final Four. Against Butler in the Final Four, VCU lost 70–62. The 2010–11 VCU Rams men's basketball team finished 6th in the ESPN/USA Today Coaches Poll at the end of the season. This was the highest ranking in VCU's history and the highest ranking of any team from the CAA.
The VCU Rams Women's team enjoyed its most successful season in 2008–2009. Led by future WNBA Draft Pick Quanitra Hollingsworth, that team finished the season with a mark of 26–7 overall and a 15–3 conference record. Notably the team was a perfect 16–0 at home. After finishing second in the Colonial Athletic Association the team headed to their first ever NCAA tournament game as a 10 seed, where the No. 7 seeded Rutgers eliminated them 57–51 at the RAC in Piscataway, N.J. The 2009-10 squad also reached the Sweet 16 of the WNIT.
VCU's main rival is Old Dominion University. The "VCU-ODU basketball rivalry" is often regarded as the best college basketball rivalry in the Commonwealth of Virginia. The Rams' intra-city rivalry with University of Richmond ("Black & Blue Classic"), is bound to heat up now that the two schools are playing in the same conference again for the first time since 2001.
The Rowdy Rams is a student-run athletic support organization that focuses on VCU men's basketball, while also attending and supporting the university's 16 other varsity teams. The group began during the 2002–2003 basketball season when a group of VCU Pep Band members and other students began coordinating cheers together and taking road trips to away games. The following year, the Rowdy Rams procured funding from the SGA and sponsorship from VCU's Athletic Department, solidifying themselves as an official organization. The Rowdy Rams offer members priority seating to all VCU men's basketball home games, a discount card for local restaurants and businesses, a free T-shirt, and free bus trips to road games.
In April 2011, The Rowdy Rams followed the men's basketball team to Houston for the Final Four. Despite the team's upset by Butler University, the fan organization never regretted their trip. "Our Rowdy Rams came here in full force; the spirit was on the court; you could feel it all around the arena."
In May 2013, The Rowdy Rams won the annual Naismith Student Section of the Year award, which awards the most passionate student section in college basketball.
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