Office of Alumni Relations

The latest news from Virginia Commonwealth University

The Office of Development and Alumni Relations has been recognized for its diversity and inclusion efforts, with several programs receiving awards.

Black Alumni Owned Business Directory

2021 CASE District III Awards

2021 Virginia Public Relations Awards
Award of Excellence

Before June 2020, the VCU Office of Alumni Relations had long-term plans to develop a directory of alumni-owned businesses. But as the nation began to focus on social injustices, the team was inspired to move quickly to champion and promote businesses owned by Black alumni. Within a week, the team had established an online directory for these businesses, created a process for Black alumni to submit their business information to the directory and developed a plan to promote the initiative on social media. The directory went live 10 days after inception, and more than 250 Black alumni-owned businesses self-identified in eight weeks. The directory is now a growing resource for alumni and the larger community.

AAAC Mentoring Circle

2021 CASE District III Awards

In 2013, VCU alumni Jeffrey Roberts (B.S.’87/E) and Gail Coles‐Johnson (B.S.’86/B), members of VCU Alumni’s African American Alumni Council, were looking for ways to create an intergenerational conversation between alumni and current students. Their idea resulted in Conversations and Cocktails, held during Reunion Weekend 2013. The event encouraged dialogue about ways alumni could give back to their alma mater and help generations of future alumni. AAAC member Michelle Jones (B.S.’87/GPA) brought in a group of students to share their perspectives on what alumni could do to help them as they neared graduation. Those conversations inspired Roberts and Coles‐Johnson to establish the AAAC’s Mentoring Circle.

The Mentoring Circle supports the AAAC’s mission of promoting and contributing to the recruitment and retention of Black students at VCU. Initiated, sponsored and supported by AAAC members, the Mentoring Circle provides a platform to connect Black undergraduate students with alumni interested in helping Black students gain the skills needed to enter today’s workforce and to provide them with an opportunity to learn from a VCU graduate. The AAAC’s goal is to pair an alumni mentor with every Black student who expresses a desire to participate in the program.

State of Underrepresented Alumni Business Owners

2019 CASE District III Awards

Addressing the many hurdles that underrepresented identities face, especially in the entrepreneurial space, the VCU Office of Alumni Relations’ State of Underrepresented Alumni Business Owners program created an opportunity for 43 alumni business owners, entrepreneurs, students and alumni interested in starting their own businesses to engage in a discussion with panelists who identified as LGBTQ+ and/or women and men of color. The event, which was part of an ongoing series for alumni entrepreneurs and business owners, was moderated and held in a venue owned by an alumna of color. Conversations and questions included: how identity shapes their business and business operations; what programs and resources exist for minorities looking to start or sustain their business; the challenges of seeking — even unsuccessfully — a loan while trying to start a minority-owned business; and the importance of advocating for and hiring diverse individuals to help support their mission.

Categories Alumni