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For the Bank Family of Northern Virginia, their time at Virginia Commonwealth University has been full of positives. Tracy and Alan had visited Richmond only briefly in the past before their daughter Gillian decided to attend VCU Arts to study photography. They still have a lot to see and do and enjoy exploring the city each time they come for a visit!

They’ve enjoyed watching their daughter thrive at VCU and love the fact that she has been challenged academically and creatively. The Banks are proud of the fact that their daughter has found her own way to manage her life skills and that she is navigating college life successfully. What advice does Tracy have for other parents and families?

“Try to stay involved without smothering your child. Check out the webinars online and read the newsletters and blogs that the university provides to family members. These resources not only help parents stay informed but also gives useful information that you can pass along to your student.”

Tracy and Alan have made several trips to visit their daughter in her first semester of college. One memorable moment was a visit to Campus Waffle. Gillian looked forward to sharing one of her favorite places with her parents, and Tracy and Alan were excited to eat somewhere their daughter had been talking about and sending them pictures from. They were all smiles as they ate the Sweet 101 waffle because it lived up to the hype!

The Banks made the trip down for Family Weekend and attended several events across campus. Their favorite was the first Family Council meeting, of which Tracy and Alan are founding members. The VCU Family Council is an advisory board that serves the VCU Family Association, VCU students, and the University. Any family member of a current VCU student is eligible to apply for membership. This Council is responsible for advising the university on family programs and services. It serves as a bridge between the Family Association and VCU administrators to address concerns of VCU parents and families.

As parents of a first-year student Tracy and Alan have many exciting things to look forward to throughout their daughter’s time at VCU.

“If you have an only child as we do, soak this experience up because it’s not going to come again. These “firsts” and “last time” events that families of only children go through are bittersweet and fleeting. Take lots of pictures no matter how many eye-rolls you get, and give lots of hugs that last just a little longer than they want. It’s so worth it!”

We want to highlight you! From first-years to super seniors, each month we will spotlight a different family to learn more about their experience with VCU. Interested in being our family of the month? Email us at for our questions and send along any photos you would like to include. We can’t wait to learn more about you!

Categories Family Highlight


Our daughter is a freshman majoring in Social Work and we love how she’s thriving at VCU and enjoying the campus amenities. We have visited her in several occasions and witnessed a facet of campus life at Johnson Hall. She is our oldest child and her younger sister is hoping to follow in her footsteps and go to VCU too in 2 years. We are proud to be called RAM parents.

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