University of Richmond: Wikis


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University of Richmond
Motto Verbum Vitae et Lumen Scientiae
Motto in English Word of life and the light of knowledge
Established 1830
Type Private university
Endowment US$1.4 billion (June 30, 2009)[1]
President Edward L. Ayers
Faculty 329 (full-time)[2]
Students 4,250[3]
Undergraduates 2,767 (2,735 full-time, 32 part-time)[3]
Postgraduates 650 (543 full-time, 107 part-time)[3]
Other students 610 part-time, 195 full-time (continuing education)[2]
Location Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
Campus Suburban, 350 acres (1.4 km2)
Colors UR Red and UR Blue[4]
Nickname Spiders
Mascot Spidey
Athletics NCAA Division I, Atlantic 10 Conference

The University of Richmond is a highly selective, private, nonsectarian, liberal arts university located on the border of the city of Richmond and Henrico County, Virginia. The University of Richmond (UR or U of R) is a primarily undergraduate, residential university with approximately 4,000 undergraduate and graduate students in five schools: the School of Arts and Sciences, the E. Claiborne Robins School of Business, the Jepson School of Leadership Studies, the T.C. Williams School of Law and the School of Continuing Studies.



Founded by Virginia Baptists in 1830 as a seminary for men, with instruction begun by the Rev. Edward Baptist, the school was incorporated ten years later as Richmond College. During the American Civil War, Richmond College was used as a hospital for Confederate troops and later as a Union barracks. By the end of the war, the college was bankrupt and unable to continue functioning. In 1866, James Thomas donated $5,000 to reopen the college. The T.C. Williams School of Law opened in 1870.

In 1894, the college elected Dr. Frederic W. Boatwright president. President Boatwright would serve for 51 years. He is most remembered for his decision to move the college in 1914 from its original location in what is now the Fan district to its current location in the Westhampton area of Richmond. The university's main library, Boatwright Memorial Library, is named in Boatwright's honor.

Looking out over Westhampton Lake from Tyler Haynes Commons

In conjunction with the move, a new college for women, Westhampton College, opened on the new campus. In 1949, the E. Claiborne Robins School of Business opened, followed by the School of Continuing Studies in 1962. In 1969, E. Claiborne Robins, a trustee and alumnus, donated $50 million to the university, the largest gift made to an institution of higher education at the time. Today, the university's endowment totals approximately $1.4 billion and ranked 32nd among North American university endowments for fiscal year 2009.[1]

In 1987, a donation of $20 million by Robert S. Jepson, Jr. facilitated the opening of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies.[5]. The school, which opened in 1992, was the first of its kind in the U.S.[5]

In 1990, the missions of Richmond and Westhampton Colleges were combined to form the School of Arts and Sciences.

On October 15, 1992, candidates George H. W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Ross Perot came to campus for the first-ever "town hall" televised presidential debate, viewed by 200 million people worldwide.[6]

In 2000, President William E. Cooper launched the University's signature Richmond Quest program. Every other year, the university community focuses its collective attention on exploring a single pervasive question confronting society through a series of courses, seminars, and lectures.

On January 12, 2006, Cooper announced that he would step down as president of the University of Richmond, effective June 30, 2007[7]. On November 10, 2006, the university named Edward L. Ayers, dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Virginia, the ninth president of the University of Richmond[8]. He took office on July 1, 2007.



School of Arts & Sciences

All Richmond students begin their course work in the School of Arts & Sciences (A&S), which offers 38 majors and 10 concentrations in the arts, sciences, social sciences, and humanities. After one full year of study, students may decide to pursue majors in the other undergraduate schools, though 70 percent of students choose to remain in A&S.

Opportunities abound in the School of Art & Sciences, as students have the chance to study abroad and pursue internships or research while gaining an education that will prepare them for a variety of careers or graduate programs.

Robins School of Business

The Robins School of Business was established in 1949 and offers undergraduate, graduate and executive education programs. It is named after alumnus E. Claiborne Robins.

Ranked 12th nationally overall and tied for first in academic quality by BusinessWeek[9], the Robins School is the only fully accredited, top-ranked undergraduate business school that also is part of a top-ranked liberal arts university. In the 2009 BusinessWeek review of part-time MBA programs, the Robins school ranked 3rd in the mid-Atlantic region and 17th nationwide.[10]

Jepson School of Leadership Studies

The Jepson School of Leadership Studies was founded to address a perceived need in the modern world for the academic study of leadership. The school blends a curriculum of economics, history, literature, philosophy, politics, psychology and religion so that students can learn conceptual tools that support the exercise of leadership in varied settings.

T.C. Williams School of Law

Chartered in 1840, Richmond College was only 30 years old when it added a Law Department. The initial years were very successful for the new Law Department but during the difficult financial times that followed the Civil War, legal education was intermittent at Richmond College until 1890. In that year, the family of the late T.C. Williams, Sr., endowed a Professorship of Law, thus assuring the continuous teaching of law at Richmond College. The Law School was granted membership in the Association of American Law Schools in 1930 and now enrolls approximately 500 full-time students and has 4,300 active alumni.

School of Continuing Studies

The School of Continuing Studies offers degree and certificate programs, enrichment opportunities, professional training, and college course work for part-time and non-traditional students of all ages. A variety of evening programs with credit and non-credit courses make it possible for those with busy schedules to further their education or explore new interests.

Undergraduate Academics

Boatwright Memorial Library bell tower

All students must complete general education requirements as part of the liberal arts curriculum. These requirements include the Core Course, a two-semester course heavily focused on international writings and philosophy that first-year students must complete. Other general education requirements include expository writing, wellness, foreign language, and one class each in six fields of study.[11]

Richmond offers more than 100 majors, minors, and concentrations in three undergraduate schools — the School of Arts and Sciences, the Robins School of Business, and the Jepson School of Leadership Studies.[12] The School of Continuing Studies, primarily an evening school focused on part-time adult students, offers additional degree programs in selected areas. [13]


The University of Richmond admitted 31.6 percent of applicants for the class of 2012.[14] The 755-member class of 2012 has a middle 50 percent range SAT I scores of 1820–2020.[15] In its "America's Best Colleges 2010" issue, U.S. News and World Report ranked Richmond 30th among national liberal arts colleges (tied with Bucknell and Barnard).[16] U.S. News and World Report also ranked Richmond fifth among "up-and-coming" liberal arts colleges,[17] and as the 14th best value among national liberal arts colleges.[18] BusinessWeek ranked the E. Claiborne Robins School of Business as the 12th best undergraduate program in the nation in 2009.[9]

Despite the fact that the University of Richmond's name incorrectly leads some to believe that it is a public institution of higher education drawing students primarily from within the state of Virginia, only about 15 percent of UR's undergraduate students are from Virginia.[19] The University of Richmond primarily draws students from the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States, but also draws students from across the country and abroad.[19] Peer universities with which Richmond typically competes for students include Washington and Lee University, Wesleyan University, Davidson College, Dickinson College, Franklin & Marshall College, Denison University, Wake Forest University, Bucknell University, Colgate University, and Furman University.

Financial aid

Richmond administers a generous financial aid program, with 68 percent of all students receiving some form of financial assistance. Richmond offers a need-blind admissions policy and meets 100 percent of admitted students' demonstrated need. Richmond also offers 50 merit-based, full tuition scholarships to students in each entering class (approximately 1 out of every 15 students). Richmond also caps student loan debt at $4,000 per year. Recently, to encourage enrollment from Virginia residents, admitted students from Virginia with family incomes of $40,000 or less will receive full-tuition/room and board financial aid packages without loans.

Student research

The University of Richmond offers numerous research opportunities for students. In addition to research-based courses, independent studies, and practicums in most disciplines, many special opportunities exist for students to participate in close research collaborations with faculty. Student research occurs in all academic areas, including the arts, sciences, social sciences, and other fields. Notably, the University recently received a $1.5 million grant from the National Science Foundation for its mathematics program to sponsor student research commencing May 2007.[20] The University of Richmond is listed in U.S. News and World Report's "America's Best Colleges 2008" issue as one of 35 (out of 2,500) “schools with outstanding examples of academic programs that are believed to lead to student success” in the area of “undergraduate research/creative projects.”[21][22] The Richmond Research Institute provides information on undergraduate research opportunities as well as numerous examples of student research videos, publications, posters, and abstracts.

Student life

Richmond has over 250 student organizations. Student groups include those devoted to:

  • Academic interests: (Phi Beta Kappa, Golden Key National Honour Society, Women Involved in Learning and Living),
  • Student government: (Richmond College Student Government Association and Westhampton College Government Association)
  • Media: (The Collegian, student newspaper published since 1914; WDCE, campus radio station );
  • Community service: (Bonner Scholars, Habitat for Humanity, Alpha Phi Omega, Volunteer Action Council (VAC)),
  • Intramural athletics
  • Club sports: (Richmond Crew, Richmond Ice Hockey Club, Richmond Co-Ed Swimming, Richmond Synchronized Swimming, Ultimate Frisbee Club University of Richmond Rugby Football Club)
  • Religion: (InterVarsity Christian Fellowship, Spiders Sports Ministry, Christian Student Fellowship (Baptist), United Methodist, Presbyterian Fellowship, Rho Iota, Lutheran Campus Ministry, Orthodox Christian Fellowship, Muslim League, Hindu/Sikh/Jain Ministry, South Asian Student Alliance (SASA), Catholic Campus Ministry, Hillel, Every Nation Campus Ministry, Umoja Gospel Choir, Young Life Christian Leadership, Zen Buddhist Sangha)
  • Performing arts: (including four a cappella groups: The Octāves, Choeur du Roi, The Sirens, and Off The Cuff) and a student run Improv Comedy Troupe, Subject to Change, which performs free shows on campus several times a year and has also performed at festivals across the mid-Atlantic
  • Culture and diversity: (Ngoma African Dance Company, Multicultural Student Union, New Directions for the GLBTQ community)

Richmond also has an active Greek life with 15 national fraternities and sororities. The fraternities include Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Order, Kappa Sigma, Phi Gamma Delta, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Chi, and the founding chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon. The sororities are Alpha Chi Omega, Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Gamma, Delta Sigma Theta, Kappa Alpha Theta, Kappa Kappa Gamma, and Pi Beta Phi. About 50 percent of the women and over 30 percent of the men participate in the Greek system.

From 1990-2003, the Shanghai Quartet served as quartet-in-residence at UR, and their relationship with the university continues with their roles as Distinguished Visiting Artists. In 2004, contemporary music sextet eighth blackbird (spelled in all lowercase) was named ensemble-in-residence. Camp Concert Hall, located on campus, is a favorite recording venue for National Public Radio.


Noted University of Richmond traditions include: an honor code administered by student honor councils[23]; Investiture and Proclamation Night, ceremonies for first year men and women to reflect on their next four years[24]; and Ring Dance, a dance held at the Jefferson Hotel by the junior class women.[24]

International education

In the past decade, the university has sought to develop a stronger international focus. International students from about 70 countries represent about 6 percent of the student body. Approximately half of undergraduate students participate in one of 78 study abroad programs offered by the university. Other international programs include Global House, a residential program housed in Keller Hall, and an international film series. Alumna Carole Weinstein recently donated $9 million toward the construction of a new building on campus, set to open in 2010, dedicated to international education.[25]


The University of Richmond's campus consists of 350 acres (1.4 km2) in a suburban setting on the western edge of the city. The university has, with few exceptions, remained true to the original architectural plans for the campus — red brick buildings in a collegiate gothic style set around shared open lawns. Many of the original buildings, including Jeter Hall and North Court, both residence halls, and Ryland Hall, the original administration building and library for Richmond College, were designed by Ralph Adams Cram in 1910. Cram, a noted institutional architect, also designed buildings for Princeton, Cornell, Rice, and Williams, among other universities. Warren H. Manning, a former apprentice to Frederick Law Olmsted, designed the original landscape plan. The overall effect of the gothic architecture set amid a landscape of pines, rolling hills, and Westhampton Lake, is intimate and tranquil. In 2000, the campus was recognized by The Princeton Review as the most beautiful in the United States[26].

The University of Richmond campus was used to film portions of the pilot of Commander in Chief, and lead character Mackenzie Allen, (played by Geena Davis) served as chancellor of a fictionalized University of Richmond prior to her election as Vice President of the United States. Much of the movie Cry Wolf was filmed on the Westhampton side of campus, with several dormitories, including South Court, North Court, and Keller Hall, serving as locations. Several episodes of the television show Dawson's Creek were also filmed on campus, referring to Richmond only as a nameless "beautiful Ivy League campus." The filming itself took place in Stern Quad and inside the Jepson Alumni Center.

The University of Richmond also owns the former Reynolds Metals Executive Office Building, purchased from Alcoa in 2001. Located a few miles from campus, the 250,000-square-foot (23,000 m2) building was designed by architect Gordon Bunshaft and opened in 1958. The building, which incorporates nearly 1.4 million pounds of aluminum, is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It currently serves as the headquarters of Altria Group and its subsidiary, Philip Morris USA, which are leasing it from the university[27]. In early 2001, the university also finalized the purchase of 115 acres (0.47 km2) of land in eastern Goochland County, a few miles from the main campus. The land is currently used for biology research, but future uses could include intramural athletic fields.[28]

The University of Richmond campus is also home to the Virginia Governor's School for Visual and Performing Arts and Humanities during the summer.[29]


The University won its first NCAA national championship in any sport on December 19, 2008 when the Spiders football team defeated the Montana Grizzlies, 24-7, in the NCAA Division I Football Championship. Richmond was ranked 23rd in men's basketball at one point during the 2009-10 season.



  1. ^ a b "2009 NACUBO Endowment Study" (PDF). National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved February 5, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b University of Richmond Fall 2007 Profile
  3. ^ a b c University of Richmond Factbook 2008: Enrollment
  4. ^ University of Richmond Communications Style Guide: Colors
  5. ^ a b Robert Jepson is slated to speak at commencement
  6. ^ Image vs. Substance (Remembering 1992: A history—and campus—altering debate)
  7. ^ William Cooper Announces Decision to Step Down as President of the University of Richmond Effective June 2007
  8. ^ Edward L. Ayers named ninth president of the University of Richmond
  9. ^ a b Robins School of Business jumps to No. 12 among America’s top undergraduate programs in 2009 BusinessWeek rankings
  10. ^ The Best Part-Time Business Schools: University of Richmond (Robins) – BusinessWeek
  11. ^ University of Richmond: General Education
  12. ^ University of Richmond: Majors, Minors and Concentrations
  13. ^ School of Continuing Studies: Evening School
  14. ^ University of Richmond: First Year Student Profile
  15. ^ University of Richmond: First Year Student Profile: Test Scores
  16. ^ US News and World Report: Best Colleges 2010: Liberal Arts Colleges
  17. ^ U.S. News and World Report: Best Colleges 2010: Up-and-Coming Colleges Offer Top Colleges New Competition (Page 2)
  18. ^ US News and World Report: Best Colleges 2010: Best Values: Liberal Arts Colleges
  19. ^ a b University of Richmond: First Year Student Profile, Geographic Distribution
  20. ^ National Science Foundation Awards $1.49 Million Grant to University of Richmond Math Department
  21. ^ America's Best Colleges 2008: Academic Programs
  22. ^ America's Best Colleges 2008: Undergraduate research / creative projects
  23. ^ University of Richmond Honor Councils
  24. ^ a b University of Richmond: Campus Traditions
  25. ^ Carole Weinstein donates $9 million to create International Center at University of Richmond
  26. ^ University of Richmond Quick Facts
  27. ^ Philip Morris USA Headquarters to Relocate from New York to University of Richmond's Alcoa-Reynolds Building
  28. ^ University purchases land in Goochland, Richmond Matters: February 21, 2001
  29. ^ Governor's School for Humanities and Visual & Performing Arts

External links

Coordinates: 37°34′31″N 77°32′19″W / 37.57516°N 77.53871°W / 37.57516; -77.53871


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