VCU Make it real. Campaign for VCU

The Make It Real Campaign for VCU closed June 30. Your support made it possible for VCU to shatter the $750 million goal of its most ambitious fundraising campaign in the university’s history, donating $841,606,604.

Make it real. Campaign for VCU.

We made it

real.

You made it

possible.

Make it real. Campaign for VCU.

We made it

real.

You made it

possible.

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You made it possible

Our progress:
$745M
$745M
Our goal: $ 750 Million

Our progress

Our goal: $ 750 Million

The Make It Real Campaign for VCU, the most ambitious fundraising campaign in the university’s history, closed June 30. Because of your generosity, our $750 million goal was shattered.

Funds raised during this capital campaign will transform and enrich the lives of VCU’s students, alumni, faculty, university professionals, patients, caregivers and researchers for years to come.

Here’s how your gifts are helping our progress

You made it matter

Your participation fueled growth in three major areas

People

People

Attract, support and retain the finest students and faculty through scholarships, professorships and endowed chairs. Provide students with purposeful, hands-on learning and living experiences and faculty with support for start-up research ideas.

Innovations

Innovations

Create new interdisciplinary partnerships and centers of excellence to offer students and faculty the right environments for meaningful research and learning experiences that will expand the university’s ability to solve complex local and global challenges through inquiry and discovery.

Environments

Environments

Provide world-class facilities, equipment and materials to expand the university’s research capacity. Increase the impact and sustainability of VCU’s community partnerships and its resources in education, health and workforce development.

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You made it transformative

People. Innovations. Environments.

Your gift provided support for our students and the alumni they will become. Your gift has funded breakthroughs and discoveries that result from our research. And your gift has enriched lives and driven economic development within our community.

Look at what we have achieved together
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Enriching Lives

Glynis Boyd Hughes (B.A.’20/H&S)

“I’ve just always seen education as something that can help us create the life that we want if we avail ourselves of it. Getting a scholarship is somebody investing in you because they believe in what education can do.”

Despite growing up in a home where education was not valued or promoted, Glynis Boyd Hughes (B.A.’20/H&S) has always believed in its transformative power.

“I’ve just always seen education as something that can help us create the life that we want if we avail ourselves of it,” she says.

Achieving her academic goals has been a lifelong journey for Hughes. She was a single mom trying to balance school, work and child care when she first enrolled at Virginia Commonwealth University in the 1990s. Without a support system, she was forced to drop out to focus on providing for her family. She didn’t resume her studies at VCU until two decades later.

Hughes graduated in May 2020, at 52 years old, with a bachelor’s degree in English and a minor in gender, sexuality and women’s studies. Scholarships, Hughes says, played a critical role in helping her reach this milestone. In 2018, she found out she had run out of federal aid eligibility. Once again, she was struggling to stay in school, until she received the Jean Roy Riely Scholarship and the Harrell-Benson Scholarship.

“My scholarships enabled me to meet my obligation to VCU and to work fewer hours a week, which gave me more time not only to study but also to be involved in student life and the community,” Hughes says. “The money, of course, is helpful, but to me, getting a scholarship is somebody investing in you because they believe in what education can do. Something like that can make such a difference in someone’s life.”

Hughes plans to pursue a career in higher education so she can be a support and a resource for students, especially for nontraditional students like her.

“My hope is to give back,” she says, “because when someone invests in you, you have a responsibility to help somebody else as well.”

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Supporting Students

Shivam Gulhar (B.S.’17/H&S)

“The financial burden of medical school can put pressure on a student to pick a high-paying speciality not because they’re passionate about it but because they have debt to pay off. That takes away from the sacredness of the job. My goal is to become the best physician I can be, whatever field I choose.”

Shivam Gulhar (B.S.’17/H&S) first saw a medical career in his future when he went blind for two weeks because of a misdiagnosed corneal ulcer.

“I was scared that I would lose my vision forever, and the only person who could calm me down was my ophthalmologist at Johns Hopkins Hospital,” Gulhar says. “Since then, I’ve known I wanted to be a doctor to make others feel as safe as I felt with my physician.”

Gulhar was even more confident that medicine was his calling when he received the Sarah Snyder Laughon Medical Scholarship upon enrolling in 2017 at the Virginia Commonwealth University School of Medicine.

“Medical school is extremely expensive,” he says. “I’m grateful to receive a scholarship. I work hard every day and I try my best, so to have that positive reinforcement is an acknowledgement that I'm on the right path.”

Gulhar, who is also a graduate of the VCU Honors College, has used his time in medical school to pursue opportunities to practice patient-centered care in a variety of medical specialties. Scholarship support, he says, has given him a sense of financial security that enables him to shape his career path based on the patients he will serve, not the salary he will earn.

“The financial burden of medical school can put pressure on a student to pick a high-paying specialty not because they’re passionate about it but because they have debt to pay off,” he explains. “That takes away from the sacredness of the job. My goal is to become the best physician I can be. Whatever field I choose, I know that I’m going to give it my all.”

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Funding Breakthroughs

Ellen Stuart-Haentjens, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’19/LS)

“I’m passionate about research and looking into the data to see what it tells me. I never want to stop asking questions.”

Ellen Stuart-Haentjens, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’19/LS) spent much of her time wading through wetlands while studying for her Ph.D. in Integrative Life Sciences at Virginia Commonwealth University. Her research on forest and wetland carbon storage produced findings that could help predict and prevent future effects of climate change.

“Knowing how climate change is impacting how much carbon these ecosystems can store now helps us make predictions of future ecosystem health,” she says. “When carbon is stored in our natural ecosystems, it prevents it from being where we don’t want it: in the atmosphere contributing to climate change.”

Funding from the Thomas F. Huff Graduate Scholarship, Stuart-Haentjens says, helped her purchase top-of-the-line equipment to elevate a project measuring how stocks of carbon in wetland soil are impacted by tidal changes.

“Tidal freshwater wetlands are a really understudied ecosystem,” she explains. “The way tides move into and out of wetlands is slower than it is in the river, so I knew my measurements would not be as precise as I needed them to be, and I knew it would matter. The Huff money allowed me to purchase an array of loggers that can measure the tide with high precision. I was able to put them at each of my sites in the wetland and then tie that data to the tidal data and water level. That has been crucial because we know it’s important, but we don’t yet know to what extent.”

Now that she has graduated, Stuart-Haentjens is continuing her wetland research in a new position with the U.S. Geological Survey. She hopes her career will enable her to advance efforts to mitigate climate change.

“I’m passionate about research and looking into the data to see what it tells me,” she says. “I never want to stop asking questions.”

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By the numbers

The impact of your gifts is tremendous and will transform and enrich lives for years to come.

$841,606,604 Total raised
250,620 Gifts
113,203 Donors
73,100 First-time donors
$109.5M Scholarships and
student support
$190.2M Research support
394 New endowed
scholarships and
student support funds
138 New endowed chairs,
professorships, faculty
support and research funds
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Campaign timeline

The Make It Real Campaign for VCU was publicly launched Sept. 22, 2016. It counted donations as far back as July 1, 2012, and closed June 30, 2020. It is the largest universitywide campaign in VCU’s history. 

  1. 2012
    February 2012

    Glasgow estate gift provides matching fundsRead more

  2. 2013
    February 2013

    Pauley family increases support for VCU Health Pauley Heart CenterRead more

  3. April 2013

    McGlothlin Medical Education Center opensRead more

  4. April 2014

    VCU dedicates Robertson School of Media and CultureRead more

  5. 2014
    November 2014

    Grandis family gives $2.1 million to VCU School of MedicineRead more

  6. December 2014

    Children’s Hospital Foundation gives $28 million to Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCURead more

  7. 2015
    January 2015

    VCU Center for Urban and Regional Analysis launches Metro Richmond Exports InitiativeRead more

  8. October 2015

    State-of-the-art Basketball Development Center opensRead more

  9. November 2015

    James Branch Cabell Library expansion opensRead more

  10. December 2015

    Ken Wright names C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational ResearchRead more

  11. 2016
    March 2016

    Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU opens new outpatient Children’s PavilionRead more

  12. September 2016

    VCU launches public phase of Make It Real Campaign for VCURead more

  13. 2017
    February 2017

    Ken Wright establishes flagship engineering scholarship programRead more

  14. June 2017

    VCU Rice Rivers Center’s Inger Rice Lodge opensRead more

  15. June 2017

    Make It Real Campaign for VCU passes $500 millionRead more

  16. August 2017

    Medicines for All Institute at VCU founded with $25 million from Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationRead more

  17. September 2017

    Wilder School lecture honors professor, examines urban designRead more

  18. September 2017

    David and Michelle Baldacci give $1.1 million to College of Humanities and SciencesRead more

  19. October 2017

    CoStar Group endows chair in VCU School of BusinessRead more

  20. November 2017

    VCU Health Virginia Treatment Center for Children opensRead more

  21. 2018
    March 2018

    VCU School of Pharmacy partners with CVS Health to increase Spanish-speaking applicantsRead more

  22. April 2018

    VCU Institute for Contemporary Art at the Markel Center opensRead more

  23. June 2018

    Make It Real Campaign for VCU passes $600 millionRead more

  24. July 2018

    VCU Health Pauley Heart Center cardiac imaging suite opensRead more

  25. August 2018

    Lynn Doss makes historic gift to VCU School of Social WorkRead more

  26. August 2018

    Alumni couple gives back to VCUartsRead more

  27. 2019
    January 2019

    Retired professor’s estate gift funds VCU School of Education scholarshipsRead more

  28. March 2019

    New College of Health Professions building opensRead more

  29. March 2019

    Make It Real Campaign for VCU passes $700 millionRead more

  30. April 2019

    Virginia Credit Union gift supports financial wellness at VCURead more

  31. June 2019

    Children’s Hospital Foundation gives $25 million for inpatient facility constructionRead more

  32. December 2019

    Gifts to VCU Massey Cancer Center research fund honor director’s leadership, retirementRead more

  33. 2020
    March 2020

    William and Joanne Conway fund VCU nursing scholarships with $5.5 million commitmentRead more

  34. June 2020

    Sheltering Arms Institute opensRead more

  35. June 2020

    Make It Real Campaign for VCU closes, shattering $750 million goalRead more

February 2012

Glasgow estate gift provides matching fundsRead more

February 2013

Pauley family increases support for VCU Health Pauley Heart CenterRead more

April 2013

McGlothlin Medical Education Center opensRead more

April 2014

VCU dedicates Robertson School of Media and CultureRead more

November 2014

Grandis family gives $2.1 million to VCU School of MedicineRead more

December 2014

Children’s Hospital Foundation gives $28 million to Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCURead more

January 2015

VCU Center for Urban and Regional Analysis launches Metro Richmond Exports InitiativeRead more

October 2015

State-of-the-art Basketball Development Center opensRead more

November 2015

James Branch Cabell Library expansion opensRead more

December 2015

Ken Wright names C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational ResearchRead more

March 2016

Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU opens new outpatient Children’s PavilionRead more

September 2016

VCU launches public phase of Make It Real Campaign for VCURead more

February 2017

Ken Wright establishes flagship engineering scholarship programRead more

June 2017

VCU Rice Rivers Center’s Inger Rice Lodge opensRead more

June 2017

Make It Real Campaign for VCU passes $500 millionRead more

August 2017

Medicines for All Institute at VCU founded with $25 million from Bill & Melinda Gates FoundationRead more

September 2017

Wilder School lecture honors professor, examines urban designRead more

September 2017

David and Michelle Baldacci give $1.1 million to College of Humanities and SciencesRead more

October 2017

CoStar Group endows chair in VCU School of BusinessRead more

November 2017

VCU Health Virginia Treatment Center for Children opensRead more

March 2018

VCU School of Pharmacy partners with CVS Health to increase Spanish-speaking applicantsRead more

April 2018

VCU Institute for Contemporary Art at the Markel Center opensRead more

June 2018

Make It Real Campaign for VCU passes $600 millionRead more

July 2018

VCU Health Pauley Heart Center cardiac imaging suite opensRead more

August 2018

Lynn Doss makes historic gift to VCU School of Social WorkRead more

August 2018

Alumni couple gives back to VCUartsRead more

January 2019

Retired professor’s estate gift funds VCU School of Education scholarshipsRead more

March 2019

New College of Health Professions building opensRead more

March 2019

Make It Real Campaign for VCU passes $700 millionRead more

April 2019

Virginia Credit Union gift supports financial wellness at VCURead more

June 2019

Children’s Hospital Foundation gives $25 million for inpatient facility constructionRead more

December 2019

Gifts to VCU Massey Cancer Center research fund honor director’s leadership, retirementRead more

March 2020

William and Joanne Conway fund VCU nursing scholarships with $5.5 million commitmentRead more

June 2020

Sheltering Arms Institute opensRead more

June 2020

Make It Real Campaign for VCU closes, shattering $750 million goalRead more

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Leadership

Campaign Steering Committee

  • Lisa and Zach Ellis
  • Darlene and George Emerson
  • Marsha and Bill Ginther
  • Terrell and Elliott Harrigan
  • Kathleen and John Luke
  • Kathie and Steve Markel
  • Nancy and Ron McFarlane
  • Elaine and Baxter Perkinson
  • Vickie and Tom Snead
  • Jackie Stone and B.K. Fulton
  • Kathy and Rick Wagoner

Campaign Cabinet

  • Wilsie Bishop
  • Trevor Cox
  • Ron Davis
  • Mary Doswell
  • Pam Faggert
  • Mike Gracik
  • Stephanie Holt
  • Freddie Jacobs
  • Gail Johnson
  • Dale Kalkofen
  • Jerry Kluft
  • Bill Mattox
  • Abby Moore
  • Natalie Newfield
  • Mark Newfield
  • Sherry Peterson
  • Tracy Kemp Stallings
  • Katie Webb
  • Bert Wellons
  • Brian White
  • Patty Wilkerson

Campaign Senior Advisory Council

  • Margaret and Al Broaddus
  • Lou Harris*
  • Kay and Charles James
  • Fran and Jim McGlothlin
  • Ramona and Jim Neifeld
  • Susan and Randy Reynolds
  • Inger Rice
  • Dawn and Stuart Siegel
  • Carolyn and John Snow
  • Lois and Eugene Trani
  • Bobbie and Jim Ukrop
  • Doug Wilder
  • Ken Wright*
  • * Members of the council before they passed
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