In a world of the common, we are the uncommon.

VCU is unlike any university you have ever seen. We bring curiosity, passion and an unrelenting drive to discover the ideas others can’t. We envision a future that is unbound by tradition, that seeks to disrupt the way things have always been.

Keep reading to find out how we got our start — and what we see on our horizon.

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


Commit to the efficient and transparent stewardship of our resources to achieve institutional excellence


Pursue excellence in learning, research and scholarly pursuits; service; and patient care


Foster respect, collegiality and cooperation to advance learning, entrepreneurship and inquiry


Strive for intellectual truth with responsibility and civility, respecting the dignity of all individuals


Cultivate discovery, creativity, originality, inventiveness and talent


Engage in the application of learning and discovery to improve the human condition and support the public good at home and abroad

Diversity and inclusion

Ensure a climate of mutual trust and respect where individuals of different cultural backgrounds, identities, abilities and life experiences are embraced, engaged and empowered to drive excellence and success


Adhere to the highest standards of honesty, respect, and professional and scholarly ethics

A history of breaking with tradition

On paper, we may appear to be just over 50 years old, but our history goes back much, much further. In 1838, we got our start as the Medical College of Hampden-Sydney, which later became the Medical College of Virginia. In 1968, we merged with Richmond Professional Institute and Virginia Commonwealth University was born.

Throughout our 175-year history, we’ve been blazing trails. Here are a few of our firsts.

  • The first school of social work in the South
  • First American campus in Qatar
  • First LEED Platinum building in Virginia
  • First university in Virginia to receive major National Institutes of Health grant to support translational research
  • First men’s basketball team to go from First Four to Final Four