The membership of the Friends of VCU Libraries is led by a board of volunteers. The Friends of VCU Libraries Board was founded in 1983 with the mission of strengthening VCU Libraries' resources and services to prepare VCU students for a lifetime of learning and to provide scholarly resources for faculty and staff. The board offers advice and support to the libraries' senior staff and sponsors programs and events throughout the year. To be considered as a board member, please become a member of the Friends of VCU Libraries.
Duron Chavis is an "urban farmer manager, educator, and change maker." He has strong community ties through past work with the Black History Museum and Cultural Center of Virginia and the Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, and a passion for supporting urban agriculture. He has started many local initiatives, including Happily Natural Day festival (focused on cultural identity for people of African ancestry, holistic health, wellness and social change), the Richmond Noir Market (a pop-up farmer’s market targeting low-income communities), and the Resiliency Gardens project (addressing urban agriculture and community food access). He served in 2011 as a Clean Air Ambassador on behalf of Earthjustice and the Hip Hop Caucus. He received STYLE Weekly’s Top 40 under 40 award in 2010 and was named on STYLE's "Power List" in 2014 and 2015. Duron served as the inaugural director of the Harding Street Urban Ag Center, a recreation center repurposed into an indoor farm. In 2017, Duron was honored as a Person of the Year by the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He is an alumnus of Leadership Metro Richmond’s class of 2011.
Trevor S. Cox practices law with Hunton, Andrews and Kurth. Previously, he serves as Deputy Solicitor General in the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia. He serves as vice president of the Richmond Public Library Foundation and as a member of the Dean's Council of the Honors College. He holds a bachelor's in history and literature from Harvard College, an M.Phil. in history from Trinity College, Cambridge, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.
Bonnie Newman Davis is a journalist, media consultant and executive director of the BND institute of Media and Culture, a nonprofit organization that provides activities and programming focused on African-American media and culture. From 2004-2011, Davis was an associate professor in the School of Mass Communications at Virginia Commonwealth University. From 1999-2002, Davis was director of university communications at Virginia Union University. Prior to academia, Davis spent nearly 20 years with The Richmond-Times Dispatch (Va.) and Richmond News Leader (Va.). In April 2011, Davis was named the Journalism Educator of the Year by the National Association of Black Journalists. As a former board member and regional director for NABJ, Davis twice has founded Richmond chapters of the organization. Davis also serves on the advisory board for Bon Secours St. Mary’s Hospital, is a founding member of the philanthropic Original Circle of Friends organization, and is a member of the Richmond Alumnae Chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority.
Michelle Evans-Oliver is a graduate of Virginia State University. She is President and Financial Advisor of the Oliver Financial Group. Her work focuses on financial literacy for families and women. Evans-Oliver is the founder of the Richmond Branch and current President of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. She writes about money management and life insurance for online and print magazines. Evans-Oliver is involved with the National Association of Professional Agents (NAPA) and volunteers extensively with AARP Virginia.
|Portrait of Renate Forssmann-Falck [View Image]|
Renate Forssmann-Falck, M.D., is a retired clinical professor of psychiatry. She has volunteered in many capacities in the community and at Congregation Beth Ahabah.
She received her medical degree and completed a residency in medicine in Germany. After finishing a second residency in psychiatry at the Menninger Foundation in Topeka, Kansas, she settled in Richmond.
Sharon Fuller (B.S., graphic design, University of Cincinnati) and her family have been involved with VCU and the RVA community since the 1970s. She worked in marketing and public relations in private and public sectors, including a stint as creative director for sales promotion for Thalhimers department store. Now with the Richmond Public Library, she handles marketing and communication. All members of her family have attended VCU. Her husband, Mark, graduated from RPI/VCU in advertising. Following his death, an endowed scholarship was established in his name at the Brandcenter. Both her daughters attended VCU.
Katie B. Gooch holds the M.Div. (2017) and a bachelors (2005) in public policy and political science from Duke University. The Rev. Gooch is the VCU campus minister for the United Methodist Church and is director of the Pace Center.
Community activities include service on the board of Shalom Farms.
|Erin Hollaway Palmer wearing a scarf outdoors [View Image]|
Erin Hollaway Palmer is an independent editor and graphic designer. The former managing editor of Parade and National Geographic Adventure magazines, she has worked on a wide variety of print and online publications over the past 17 years. Erin is a founding member of the Friends of East End Cemetery, the all-volunteer nonprofit that until 2020 led the effort to reclaim the historic African American burial ground from nature and neglect. Her East End–related research and writing are featured on the website she helped create, eastendcemeteryrva.com. Erin graduated from Northwestern University with a degree in French.
|Stephanie Holt sitting in Cabell Library [View Image]|
Stephanie L. Holt, B.S. '74/E is a proud VCU alumna. She began her career teaching business in Richmond Public Schools for 5 years, and spent the rest of her career working for Xerox Corporation in sales with a special focus in community involvement and retired after 32 years. She remains an active member of the VCU community, as a committee member for the VCU Monroe Scholars Book Award Committee. Stephanie has endowed a School of Education scholarship in the memory of her parents Rebecca and Norris Holt. She served on the VCU Alumni Board for 16 years and held the office of Secretary for several years. Stephanie was also a member of the School of Education Alumni Council for 25 years and served as President for 12 years. She has served 2 previous terms on the VCU Friends of the Library board, and was president of the board from 2016 - 2018. During the past two years she has been a member of the VCU Libraries Book Sale and Membership and Support Committees. Stephanie was awarded the Alumni Star Award from the VCU School of Education in 2005, and is a member of the VCU Founders Society.
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Murtaza (Murti) Khan graduated from VCU School of Business in 2017 with a B.S. in economics. While at VCU, Khan served as the president of the Muslim Student Association and as the Muslim community representative on the Interfaith Council of Campus Ministers. After graduation, he served in Governor McAuliffe’s administration as a fellow under Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore. He did market research to help the governor bring international business to Virginia. Khan is working on a technology project within the import/export supply chain trade. He serves on the Board of Directors of Bermuda Advocates for Responsible Development in Chesterfield and is also Civic Engagement Chair on the Islamic Center of Virginia’s outreach committee, where he works with the Virginia Interfaith Center and elected officials throughout Virginia.
Ashley Kistler (M.A., VCU Art History; B.A., Dickinson College) has been an integral part of the Richmond arts community with a curatorial career spanning more than 30 years. She has served as director of VCUarts Anderson Gallery, curator of the Visual Arts Center of Richmond and associate curator of modern and contemporary art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. She has organized dozens of exhibitions featuring work by regional, national and international artists, as well as artists’ residencies and commissions, public art projects, lectures and symposia, film series and performing arts events. She has also authored and edited numerous exhibition catalogs, as well as the recent book Anderson Gallery: 45 Years of Art on the Edge.
Cornelia “Çam” L. Jones, a Petersburg, Va. native educated in that city’s Public School System, was awarded the B.S. in biology by Virginia State University in 1970. Her work history began in high school as a Head Start teacher aid and was followed by a college work study job as a laboratory technician in the biology department. On graduation she began a third job at MCV/VCU that lasted just short of 40 years. In the areas of Microbiology & Immunology education, biomedical research and veterinary support, her responsibilities metamorphosed, with the field, to include vaccine development research, tissue culture, veterinary diagnostics and disease surveillance testing, biohazards containment, personnel safety training, purchase and import/export of 12 species purpose-bred, genetically defined research animals for use as models of disease at VCU. Further study at VCU has included medical mycology, photography, biochemistry, pathogenic bacteriology, hematology, jewelry making and oral history. Çam’s hobbies have always included gardening, arts & crafts, cooking and sitting/learning at the feet of great knowers and thinkers who have visited this region. On retirement, new hobbies have become genetic genealogy study and quilt making.
Timmy Nguyen holds the B.S. in business administration and management (2011) from the VCU School of Business. His many university and community activities include board service for the VCU Athletic Foundation, VCU Business Alumni Society, VCU Alumni RVA GOLD, VCU Alumni Board of Governors and Friends Association for Children.
Marni Pilafian is a retired university professor (School of Adult and Continuing Education, undergraduate, and graduate courses teaching law, technology and policy, and paralegal studies, at Barry University). Born and raised in Miami, Pilafian moved to the Richmond area in 2007 when she decided to retire to her mother's hometown to be near childhood friends. Her mother, the former Rosa "Shocky" Boyajian, had strong ties to Richmond’s Armenian Community (specifically tied to St. James Armenian Church). Pilafian’s mother studied business at RPI in the 1940’s. Pilafian is an advocate for social justice, learned from her father who was an immigration attorney and represented minority churches with civil rights issues, and her mother who was a tireless community volunteer. She is currently running a new coworking space in Chesterfield County, Perch at Pocoshock. Her business plan includes the eventual addition of a makerspace that will allow entrepreneurs without significant funding to use high-tech tools to further their businesses.
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Larry Powell is Associate Director of Alumni Outreach and Engagement for VCU Alumni. He holds the B.S. in Mass Communications and Public Relations (1985) from The Robertson School of Media and Culture. He joined the VCU Alumni staff in 1996. Today, he manages VCU Alumni's shared interest groups and select regional chapters, coordinates athletics-related alumni engagement, coordinates the African-American Alumni Council’s scholarship and mentoring programs and serves as VCU Alumni’s primary point of contact for diversity-related activities. An avid cyclist, Powell helps coordinate cycling events on behalf of the VCU Alumni Riding Rams. He is also a huge VCU Rams basketball fan, and you can see him at most home games.
|Julie Seward's Portrait [View Image]|
Julia Seward (Board president 2020-2022) has deep background in banking, law and community development. She is a consultant who provides guidance in strategic planning, project management and implementation, and facilitation to national organizations, local, state, and regional governing bodies, community based organizations, foundations and consulting firms.
Carol Stanfield holds a B.S. in Broadcast Journalism from the VCU School of Mass Communications (1992). After several years of toil in the control rooms of broadcast news outlets in Richmond, she shifted her focus to the nascent world of internet news. She traveled the country assisting broadcast news stations in their efforts to share news online as well as on-air. After a stint managing content and websites with The Council of Better Business Bureaus (now called IABBB), she has shifted focus and works as Director of Project Management for BBB National Programs, a developer of independent third-party programs to guide, aid, and address issues of business ethics, advertising, data privacy and dispute resolution.
All checks should be made payable to "VCU Foundation" with the particular fund written on the memo line. Checks should be mailed to:
VCU Libraries c/o VCU Office of Development and Alumni Relations
Richmond, VA 23284-3042