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University of Richmond

University of Richmond
Motto Verbum Vitae et Lumen Scientiae (Latin)
Motto in English
Word of life and the light of knowledge
Established 1830
Type Private
Endowment $2.31 billion[1]
President Edward L. Ayers
Academic staff
637 (396 full-time, 241 part-time)[2]
Students 4,180[3]
Undergraduates 3,264 (3,006 full-time, 258 part-time)[3]
Postgraduates 916 (546 full-time, 370 part-time)[3]
Location Richmond, Virginia, U.S.
Campus Suburban, Script error: No such module "convert".

UR Red and UR Blue[4]

Athletics NCAA Division IA-10
Nickname Template:If empty
Mascot WebstUR the Spider[5]

The University of Richmond is a 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 4,350 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 University of Richmond School of Law and the School of Professional & Continuing Studies.


Founded by Virginia Baptists in 1830 as a manual labor institute for men wishing to become ministers, with instruction begun by the Rev. Edward Baptist, an 1813 graduate of Hampden-Sydney College,[6] the school was incorporated ten years later as Richmond College. After 1834, the Columbia House was the main academic building of Richmond College.[7] During the American Civil War, the entire student body formed a regiment and joined the Confederate army. Richmond College's buildings were used as a hospital for Confederate troops and later as a Union barracks. The college invested all of its funds in Confederate war bonds, and the outcome of the war left it bankrupt. 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 raising the funds needed to move the college in 1914 from its original downtown location to a new 350-acre campus in what is now Westhampton area of Richmond, and in doing so created Westhampton College for women. The university's main library, Boatwright Memorial Library, is named in Boatwright's honor. Symbolically, the library and its soaring academic gothic tower occupy the highest spot on the grounds. Its grounds were landscaped in 1913, by Warren H. Manning under the supervision of Charles Gillette.[8]

File:Richmond-Rummell View.jpg
"Richmond College" in 1915, shortly after the transition to Richmond's West End. Rummell, Richard (1848-1924).[9]

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, when financial issues threatened closing the university or turning it over to the Commonwealth of Virginia, E. Claiborne Robins Sr., a trustee and alumnus, donated $50 million to the university, the largest gift made to an institution of higher education at the time. In constant dollars, it remains among the largest. Robins' goal was to make Richmond one of the best private universities in the country. Today, the university's endowment totals approximately $2.31 billion and ranked 35th among North American university endowments for fiscal year 2014.[1]

During World War II, Richmond was one of 131 colleges and universities nationally that took part in the V-12 Navy College Training Program which offered students a path to a Navy commission.[10]

In 1987, a donation of $20 million by Robert S. Jepson, Jr. facilitated the opening of the Jepson School of Leadership Studies.[11] The school, which opened in 1992, was the first of its kind in the U.S.

In 1990, the academic 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.[12] Addressing a crowd of nearly 9,000, President Obama visited the University of Richmond to present the American Jobs Act on September 11, 2011.[13]

Edward L. Ayers, former dean of the College of Arts & Sciences at the University of Virginia, is the current president of the University of Richmond. Dr. Ayers was named the ninth president of the University of Richmond on November 10, 2006. He took office on July 1, 2007, and in 2014 announced that he will resign on July 1, 2015.

On, February 23, 2015, the University of Richmond announced to the student body via email that the board of trustees elected Ronald Crutcher as the 10th president of the university. He will take office July 1, 2015.[14]

The Henry Mansfield Cannon Memorial Chapel, North Court, and Ryland Hall were listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013.[15][16]


School of Arts & Sciences

All Richmond undergraduate 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,[17] 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.[18]

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.

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 Professional and Continuing Studies

The School of Professional and 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 a freshman seminar that all first-year students must complete. Other general education requirements include expository writing, wellness, foreign language, and one class each in six fields of study.[19]

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.[20] The School of Continuing Studies, primarily an evening school focused on part-time adult students, offers additional degree programs in selected areas.[21]


The University of Richmond admitted 32 percent of applicants for the class of 2015.[22] The 788-member class of 2015 has a middle 50 percent range SAT I scores of 1930-2140.[23]


In its "America's Best Colleges 2014" issue, U.S. News & World Report ranked Richmond 25th among national liberal arts colleges.[24] U.S. News & World Report also ranked Richmond second among "up-and-coming" liberal arts colleges,[25] and as the 9th best value among national liberal arts colleges.[26] Kiplinger ranked Richmond 11th among the "Best Private Colleges" in the U.S. for 2013, leaving three Ivy League Universities behind in the top 20.[27] Richmond was ranked 8th by SmartMoney in the category "Best Private Colleges of 2011", leaving two Ivy League Universities behind in the top 10.[28] BusinessWeek ranked the E. Claiborne Robins School of Business as the 12th best undergraduate program in the nation in 2009.[17] The Princeton Review named Richmond No. 14 for Financial Aid, No. 13 for Best Career Services and No. 17 for Most Beautiful Campus in its 2013 edition of “The Best 376 Colleges”.[29] In 2015, Time magazine's Money section named Richmond among "the top 10 colleges with the most generous financial aid."[30]

The University of Richmond's name leads some to believe that it is a public institution drawing students primarily from within Virginia. However, only about 15 percent of UR's undergraduate students are from Virginia.[31] The University of Richmond draws many students from the New England and Mid-Atlantic regions of the United States, but also from across the country and abroad.[31]

Financial aid

Richmond administers a generous financial aid program, with more than 60 percent of all students receiving some form of financial assistance. Richmond offers a need-blind admissions policy that does not consider an applicant's ability to pay in the admission decision, and it pledges to meet 100 percent of an admitted domestic student's 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 depending on the year of the student. A senior has the highest cap at $7,500 per year, whereas a freshman cannot take a loan more than $5,500. Recently, to encourage enrollment from Virginia residents, admitted students from Virginia with family incomes of $60,000 or less receive full-tuition/room and board financial aid packages without loans. Richmond's financial aid program is due, in no small part, to its endowment of over $2 billion, placing it within the top 35 nationally among college and university endowments.

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.[32] 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.”[33][34] The Richmond Research Institute provides information on undergraduate research opportunities as well as numerous examples of student research videos, publications, posters, and abstracts.[citation needed]

Student life

Richmond has over 275 student organizations. Student groups include those devoted to:

  • Religion: The Office of the Chaplaincy is home to 18 different campus ministries and hosts many different services and events for staff, faculty, and students. The mission of the Office of the Chaplaincy is to "Inspire generous faith and engage the heart of the University." [35]
  • 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, SASD for the GLBTQ community, Russian and Slavic Cultural Organization, Cultural Advisors)

Richmond also has an active Greek life with 16 national fraternities and sororities. The fraternities include Theta Chi, Alpha Phi Alpha, Kappa Alpha Order, Sigma Alpha Epsilon, Sigma Chi, Lambda Chi Alpha and the founding chapter of Sigma Phi Epsilon. The sororities are Alpha Kappa Alpha, Delta Sigma Theta, Delta Delta Delta, Delta Gamma, 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.

The Upsilon Gamma chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha was the first historically black fraternity to be chartered on Richmond's campus.

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;[36] Investiture and Proclamation Night, ceremonies for first year men and women to reflect on their next four years;[37] Ring Dance, a dance held at the Jefferson Hotel by the junior class women;[37] and Pig Roast, a large annual event held during the spring semester which draws significant gatherings of current students and alumni to the fraternity lodges and have featured musical acts such as Flo Rida and Afroman.[38][39]

International education

In the past decade, the university has sought to develop a stronger international focus. International students from about 70 countries represent about 7 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, opened in the fall of 2010, dedicated to international education.[40]


The University of Richmond's campus consists of Script error: No such module "convert". in a suburban setting on the western edge of the city. Most of the campus lies within the city limits; a small section of the south campus, including the Special Programs Building (home to the student health center and the campus police), intramural sports fields, and most of the campus apartments, lies within Henrico County.[41] 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.[42]

Looking out over Westhampton Lake from Tyler Haynes Commons

The University of Richmond campus was used to film portions of the pilot of the ABC TV series 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. An episode of the television show Dawson's Creek was filmed on campus, which served as an unnamed "beautiful Ivy League campus." The filming itself took place in locations throughout the campus, even including rowing on Westhampton Lake.

The University of Richmond owns the former Reynolds Metals Executive Office Building, a gift-purchase from Alcoa in 2001. Located a few miles from campus, the Script error: No such module "convert". 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 lease it from the university.[43] In early 2001, the university finalized the purchase of Script error: No such module "convert". 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.[44]

The University of Richmond campus is home to the Virginia Governor's School for Visual and Performing Arts and Humanities during the summer.[45]

UR Downtown

The university also operates UR Downtown, a downtown campus of sorts occupying leased space within a larger building at 626 East Broad street. Despite its small size, UR Downtown hosts the Richmond on Broad café (owned and operated by the university), a mixed-purpose lower-level, art gallery spaces, offices, two classrooms, and a conference room. Located in the city's Arts District, UR Downtown also participates in the monthly art festival, First Fridays. Moreover, the space hosts multiple exhibits each year, often in collaboration with local organizations. The UR Downtown conference room is also home to an original 1956 sgraffito style mural by Hans E. Gassman, created for the bank that occupied the building in the past. Other than art, UR Downtown serves as a VITA site, providing free tax assistance to low-income families. The spaces inside UR Downtown are made available to advocacy and non-profit organizations in need of meeting space. The Caricco Center for Pro Bono law service, the Richmond Families Initiative, and Partners in the Arts also operate out of UR Downtown.[46]


Main article: Richmond Spiders

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-AA Football Championship. Richmond was ranked 23rd in men's basketball at one point during the 2009–10 season. During its 2010 season the Richmond Men's Cross Country team placed 24th at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships. The 2010-11 Richmond Spiders men's basketball team won the 2011 Atlantic 10 Men's Basketball Tournament, earning the team a spot in the 2011 NCAA Men's Division I Basketball Tournament. The Spiders fell to Kansas in the Sweet Sixteen.



  1. ^ a b "2014 NACUBO Endowment Study" (PDF). National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved February 19, 2015. 
  2. ^ University of Richmond Fall 2011 Profile
  3. ^ a b c University of Richmond 2014–15 Fact Book: Enrollment
  4. ^ University of Richmond Communications Style Guide: Colors
  5. ^ "Did You Know? — The UR spider: A 'bite' of history". September 1, 2012. 
  6. ^ Brinkley, John (1994). On This Hill: A narrative history of Hampden-Sydney College, 1774-1994. Hampden-Sydney. p. 74. ISBN 1-886356-06-8. 
  7. ^ Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission Staff (March 1982). "National Register of Historic Places Inventory/Nomination: Columbia" (PDF). Virginia Department of Historic Resources. 
  8. ^ Library of Virginia: About the Charles F. Gillette Photograph Collection
  9. ^ "Arader Galleries Iconic College Views", Rummell, Richard, Littig & Co. 1915
  10. ^ "V-12 Program". Richmond, Virginia: University of Richmond. 2011. Retrieved September 27, 2011. 
  11. ^ Robert Jepson is slated to speak at commencement
  12. ^ Image vs. Substance (Remembering 1992: A history—and campus—altering debate)
  13. ^ President Obama Speaks at UR
  14. ^ Rector's Message: University of Richmond Retrieved February 2015
  15. ^ "National Register of Historic Places Listings". Weekly List of Actions Taken on Properties: 5/06/13 through 5/10/13. National Park Service. 2013-05-17. 
  16. ^ History and Architecture of the University of Richmond, 1834-1977
  17. ^ a b Robins School of Business jumps to No. 12 among America’s top undergraduate programs in 2009 BusinessWeek rankings
  18. ^ The Best Part-Time Business Schools: University of Richmond (Robins) – BusinessWeek
  19. ^ University of Richmond: General Education
  20. ^ University of Richmond: Majors, Minors and Concentrations
  21. ^ School of Continuing Studies: Evening School
  22. ^ University of Richmond: First Year Student Profile
  23. ^ University of Richmond: First Year Student Profile: Test Scores
  24. ^ U.S. News & World Report: Best Colleges 2014: Liberal Arts Colleges
  25. ^ U.S. News & World Report: Best Colleges 2011: Up-and-Coming Colleges Offer Top Colleges New Competition (Page 2)
  26. ^ U.S. News & World Report: Best Colleges 2014: Best Values: Liberal Arts Colleges
  27. ^ Kiplinger's Best Private Colleges of 201 3
  28. ^ SmartMoney college rankings gauge ‘value’ of public, private schools
  29. ^ Princeton Review Rankings and Lists 2013
  30. ^ Money's Top Ten Colleges with the Most Generous Financial Aid
  31. ^ a b University of Richmond: First Year Student Profile, Geographic Distribution
  32. ^ National Science Foundation Awards $1.49 Million Grant to University of Richmond Math Department
  33. ^ America's Best Colleges 2008: Academic Programs
  34. ^ America's Best Colleges 2008: Undergraduate research / creative projects
  35. ^ "About Us". Office of the Chaplaincy. 
  36. ^ University of Richmond Honor Councils
  37. ^ a b University of Richmond: Campus Traditions
  38. ^ [1]
  39. ^
  40. ^ Carole Weinstein donates $9 million to create International Center at University of Richmond
  41. ^ Compare this online UR campus map with the City of Richmond's official parcel map.
  42. ^ University of Richmond Quick Facts
  43. ^ Philip Morris USA Headquarters to Relocate from New York to University of Richmond's Alcoa-Reynolds Building
  44. ^ University purchases land in Goochland, Richmond Matters: February 21, 2001
  45. ^ Governor's School for Humanities and Visual & Performing Arts
  46. ^ UR Downtown

External links

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