Historical photo of doctors and nurses standing around patient in surgical theater

Since 1838, our past has made us who we are — driven, engaged and ambitious.

Mission and history

Official VCU mission: Why we’re here

Virginia Commonwealth University and its academic health sciences center serve as one national urban public research institution dedicated to the success and well-being of our students, patients, faculty, staff and community through:

  • Real-world learning that furthers civic engagement, inquiry, discovery and innovation
  • Research that expands the boundaries of new knowledge and creative expression and promotes translational applications to improve the quality of human life
  • Interdisciplinary collaborations and community partnerships that advance innovation, enhance cultural and economic vitality, and solve society’s most complex challenges
  • Health sciences that preserve and restore health for all people, seek the cause and cure of diseases through groundbreaking research and educate those who serve humanity
  • Deeply ingrained core values of diversity, inclusion and equity that provide a safe, trusting and supportive environment to explore, create, learn and serve

Strategic plan

Learn about Quest 2028: Together We Transform, VCU’s strategic plan.

Values: What we hold dear

History: How we came to be

Way back — we’re talking more than 175 years ago — in 1838, VCU was known by another name. We were the Medical College of Hampden-Sydney, later becoming the Medical College of Virginia. It wasn’t until 1968, when we merged with Richmond Professional Institute, that we were given the name Virginia Commonwealth University. But one thing is for sure: We have never stopped making history.

Graphic showing Rodney the Ram and text that says We Were the 1st
  • Historical photo of group of female social work students posing in front of statue

    The first school of social work in the South

  • Historical photo of organ transplant doctors looking at X-rays

    First organ transplants in Virginia

  • Two women in hijabs looking at computer

    First American campus in Qatar

  • Exterior of VCU Rice Rivers Center

    First LEED Platinum building in Virginia

  • Two researchers examining liquids of different colors

    First university in Virginia to receive major National Institutes of Health grant to support translational research

  • Men’s basketball team holding up trophy

    First men’s basketball team to go from First Four to Final Four