The latest from President Rao

  • Featured video

    State of the University Address

    The president talks about the distinctiveness of VCU in the second annual State of the University Address.

  • Featured video

    VCU Fall Commencement 2014

    Highlights of the Dec. 13, 2014, commencement ceremony at the VCU Stuart C. Siegel Center.

  • Featured video

    Great Place Initiative

    The president introduces the Great Place Initiative to the VCU community.

Vision and goals

Virginia Commonwealth University’s strategic plan, Quest for Distinction, sets forth the vision for VCU to become the nation’s premier urban, public research university. It rests upon four themes that outline the university’s institutional priorities, strategies and initiatives.

A physics professor lectures in front of a class

Theme I

Become a leader among national research universities in providing all students with high-quality learning/living experiences focused on inquiry, discovery and innovation in a global environment.

A professor works with a student in a lab

Theme II

Attain pre-eminence as an urban, public research university by making contributions in research, scholarship, creative expression and clinical practice to advance knowledge and enhance the quality of life.

A VCU Massey Center doctor talks with a bone marrow transplant patient

Theme III

Achieve national recognition as a fully integrated research university with a commitment to human health.

A child hugs a VCU School of Social Work student

Theme IV

Become a national model for community engagement and regional impact.

Graphic for more info

For more information, visit the VCU strategic plan website for the latest updates, implementation process and copies of the full Quest for Distinction document and executive summary.

Reports and initiatives

  • Graphic for the Quest for Distinction logo

    Quest for Distinction »

    Quest for Distinction — VCU’s strategic plan — embodies the university’s dedication to advancing knowledge and student success — a dual commitment that is exceptional among research universities.

  • Graphic for the 2013-14 Presidential Annual Report cover

    Presidential Annual Report »

    Read the latest annual report to learn how, all across the university, VCU broke records, set standards and achieved real successes that matter.

  • Graphic for the Grow by Degrees logo

    Grow by Degrees »

    Grow by Degrees is a statewide campaign that aims to expand job opportunities and economic growth in Virginia through reform-based reinvestment in the state’s higher education system. Priorities include awarding 100,000 more college degrees by 2025.

  • A Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology staff/faculty meeting

    Great Place Initiative »

    The Great Place Initiative aims to strengthen the human element upon which Quest for Distinction — VCU’s strategic plan — is based by focusing on aspects of benefits, culture, recognition and work/life balance within the framework of strong core values of civility and respect.

  • Numbers in an Excel spreadsheet

    Enterprise risk management »

    VCU’s enterprise risk management program is a comprehensive approach to identifying risks that could severely impact the university.

By the numbers

Icon graphic for a line chart $262.3m

in sponsored research

Icon graphic for a graduation cap 31,163

students enrolled

Icon graphic for a group of people 21,704


President’s posts Highlights from Dr. Rao’s blog

Decorated graduation cap during commencement

The excellence of VCU students

January 15, 2015

Our six-year graduation rates and second-year retention rates are the highest in our history, and we believe they will continue to rise.

President Rao speaking at the State of the Universiy Address

Continued commitment to inclusive excellence

December 8, 2014

We must serve all members of our community well, with a clear and steadfast commitment to diversity and its contributions to our students and our university.

A classroom full of engaged students

Do the math

October 23, 2014

During fall 2013, the Division of Strategic Enrollment Management launched the “Do the math” campaign to remind students of the need to enroll in at least 15 credit hours each semester.

A photo of the VCU campus

A health partnership

June 30, 2014

Friday, June 27, marked an historic day for Virginia Commonwealth University and our health system as we came together with representatives from Community Memorial Healthcenter.