Located in the heart of Richmond, the capital of Virginia since 1779, Virginia Commonwealth University serves an integral role in the economic health of the city and the state, educating the current and future work force, reaching out to the community, advancing research and enhancing patient care.
VCU was founded in 1838 as the medical department of Hampden-Sydney College, becoming the Medical College of Virginia in 1854. In 1968, the General Assembly merged MCV with the Richmond Professional Institute, founded in 1917, to create Virginia Commonwealth University.
Today, VCU offers comprehensive undergraduate, master’s, doctoral and professional programs and encompasses one of the largest academic health centers in the nation. With $270.3 million in externally funded research awards for the 2015 fiscal year, VCU is one of only 28 public universities in the country with an academic medical center to be designated as a research university with very high research activity as well as a Community Engaged Institution, both by the Carnegie Foundation. Its centers and institutes of excellence support the university’s research mission and involve faculty from multiple disciplines in the arts, public policy, biotechnology and health care discoveries.
VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 225 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Seventy-nine of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. VCU has a full-time instructional faculty of more than 2,200 who are nationally and internationally recognized for excellence in the arts, business, education, engineering, the humanities, the life sciences, social work and all the health care professions. With more than 21,000 employees, VCU and the VCU Health System also have a significant impact on Central Virginia’s economy.
Building on the foundation of VCU’s nationally ranked academic programs and academic medical center, research and scholarly productivity, and engagement with the communities it serves, the university’s strategic plan, Quest for Distinction, launches a new vision for VCU: to elevate its stature and become the nation’s top urban, public research university. This focused plan capitalizes on the outstanding assets of the VCU experience and truly distinguishes VCU as a major research university committed to academic quality and student success at all levels.
Quest for Distinction also embodies VCU’s commitment to human health through the VCU Medical Center, which includes the university’s health sciences schools and offers state-of-the-art care in more than 200 specialty areas, many of national and international note, including organ transplantation, head and spinal cord trauma, burn healing and cancer treatment.
VCU and the VCU Health System have been honored with prestigious national and international recognition for top-quality graduate, professional and medical-care programs, reflecting a commitment to be among America’s top research universities focused on student learning.