Page 1


What is the Ram Guide? The Ram Guide is a living piece of VCU history. It combines the rich history of Virginia Commonwealth University with your personal legacy. Each member of the VCU community will have individual experiences that reflect our diverse makeup. This guide, however, contains meaningful suggestions intended to help you make the most of your time here.

How should I use the Ram Guide? The Ram Guide provides brief – albeit important – information about VCU’s beginning and history. In addition, the Ram Guide offers information about events and traditions that have turned VCU people, books and buildings into a diverse, engaged and thriving community.

Must Do at VCU To encourage participation and ensure the ongoing legacy of VCU events and traditions, the INSERT OFFICE supports Must Do at VCU. Follow Must Do at VCU on Facebook to find each month’s sponsored event then post your pictures to qualify for that month’s prize.

VCU’s Beginnings •  1838: Medical Department of Hampden-Sydney College •  1854: Medical College of Virginia (MCV) •  1917: Richmond Professional Institute (RPI) •  1968: MCV & RPI merged to form VCU

Timeline 1928

1844 Egyptian Building – now featured in VCU’s seal – becomes home to medical department.

The School of Art is established at the Richmond division of W&M. Teresa Pollack, artist, professor and founder



Once the Green Devils, the VCU mascot is official named to be The Ram.

The men’s basketball times makes it’s first appearance in the NCAA tournament.


1917 Richmond School of Social Economy is founded, with Dr. Henry Hibbs as the dean. Now the School of Social Work, it was the first of its kind in the South.

1956 The Village Café – a longtime favorite – is opened and continues to serve VCU today.

1968 Gov. Mills Godwin signs legislation merging RPI and MCV – and VCU is born.

VCU-Carver partnership is formed, helping connect the VCU and Richmond communities.

Timeline 2001


The first Richmond ArtWalk is held, showcasing VCU and local talent.

Alumni, faculty, staff and current students welcomed new students in the first Ram Spirit Walk


The Cary Street Gym – an 18,000 square foot fitness center – is opened, boasting a swimming pool, indoor climbing wall, basketball courts and fitness equipment.


2009 The Rams Horns statute – commissioned by a VCU art grad – are installed at University Student Commons.

The University College establishes the Summer Reading program, creating a common experience for all first-year students.

2011 The VCU men’s basketball team reaches the Final Four of the NCAA tournament, lead by Head Coach Shaka Smart.

Ram Spirit Walk

Ram Spirit Walk is part of Welcome Week and takes the freshman class, accompanied by the spirit band the Peppas, on a march from Convocation at the Siegel Center to a Black Party in Monroe Park. Alumni, faculty, staff and current students are encouraged to line the route with signs and cheer for the newest class of Rams.

Rams Horns

Incoming students take part in a new university tradition, held during New Student Orientation, to rub the Ram’s Horns and make a wish with the belief that it will come true by the time they graduate. All members of the VCU community are encouraged to take part in this tradition.

James River

Richmond is the only U.S. city with class IV rapids running through it. The Mighty James is a fantastic resource and provides opportunities for strolling, whitewater rafting, paddling, fishing, tubing, hiking, mountain biking, bird watching, rock climbing and much more. Tredegar Iron Works is a beautiful site, and provides a balanced view of Civil War history. The James River Park System stewards a wonderful trail system making the river very accessible.


There are multiple options for dining at VCU – pickup at a food cart, on-campus dining options or check out local favorites like The Village CafÊ. In addition, Richmond boasts events like Broad Appetit and the Greek Festival.

The Egyptian Building

The VCU Egyptian Building has been in continuous use since it was erected in 1845. It has accommodated every School on the MCV campus at one time or another. It is in the National Register of Historic Places, and is recognized as one of the oldest buildings south of the MasonDixon line. Today, the Egyptian Building is a symbol for the more than 175 year history of VCU, and is depicted on the University seal.


School spirit reached a peak at VCU in 2011 when Shaka Smart took the VCU Men's basketball team to the Final Four. The entire city of Richmond was in a state of euphoria for several weeks. The Pavilion at the Stuart C.Siegel Center rocks every night that the team plays. Students can be seen standing in line early on gameday to gain access that night. A record number of games are sold out each year. Athletics creates an energy on the VCU campus that seems to grow and grow each year. Rodney the Ram, the Rowdy Rams, the Pep Band and Cheerleaders lead crowds in VCU's fight song.


The Richmond Community offers a plethora of festivals designed for people who share a common interest. Individuals, families, businesses, and organizations have created events that help improve the quality of life in the city and surrounding communities. Whether you’re into fitness, food, music, magic, libations, life style, art, architecture, culture or critters you can find like-minded people celebrating at one of Richmond’s 50-plus festivals. Community festivals are the best path to connect your interest with Richmond and her citizens.

Recreational Sports

Recreational Sports has been a part of VCU since 1970 when the University built the MCV Campus Recreation and Aquatic Center which housed two gymnasium courts, racquetball courts, a multipurpose room and a martial arts room. In 1978 the University purchased the old City Auditorium on Cary Street and Recreational Sports was established on what is now the Monroe Park Campus. After several renovations in both facilities, students, faculty, staff and alumni now have state of the art facilities in which to recreate. Informal recreation and planned programs provide opportunities for relaxation, relief from stress and socialization.

Community Service

Recognized as a community-engaged institution by the Carnegie Foundation, VCU is one of only 40 institutions nationwide to receive Carnegie designations as a Research University with Very High Research Activity and Community Engaged. The Division of Community Engagement is prepared to lead the university in becoming a national model for community engagement and regional impact. By serving as a portal for access, the division connects the university with the larger community and engages faculty, staff and students in service.

VCU Spirit Gear

VCU students, faculty, staff, alumni and fans show their school spirit by displaying their VCU Gear. Shirts, hats, jackets, stickers and other gear are great ways to show your VCU Pride. Recreational Sports Annual T-Shirt Giveaway during Welcome Week is just one of many ways to get some VCU gear. The bookstore stocks a great assortment of VCU gear. They have something for everyone.

Summer Reading

VCU’s summer reading program introduces incoming students to the academic and intellectual culture of VCU through a common reading experience. Students read the book over the summer and participate in faculty & staff lead discussion groups in the fall.

Arts and Culture

Together Richmond and VCU make a wonderful breeding ground for some of the country’s most innovative artists. VCUarts is the No. 1 ranked public university for arts and design in the country will soon begin construction on the school’s brand new Institute for Contemporary Art (ICA). The Virginia Museum of Fine Art is located right in the Museum District. First Fridays Art Walk held on Broad Street encourages art lovers to get out and explore these creative spaces.

Gehli ram guide  
Gehli ram guide