Thursday, Aug. 14, 2008
Eugene P. Trani, Ph.D., today announced that he will retire
from the positions of president of Virginia Commonwealth University and president
and chair of the VCU Health System, effective June 30, 2009. He will remain at VCU as University Distinguished
Dr. Trani earlier planned to step down as president in June
2007, but at the request of the VCU Board of Visitors, he agreed to extend his
presidency until June 2010. After
undergoing quintuple heart bypass surgery in July, Dr. Trani decided to move
his retirement up a year.
"My surgery and recovery have made it clear to me that I
should listen to my physician's advice, and that stepping down one year earlier
than planned is the best thing for me to do," Dr. Trani said. "I have had time this past month to reflect
upon how important it is for me to spend time with my family while I am healthy."
Dr. Trani has led VCU through a major transformation during what
will be a19-year tenure as president, building the university into a major
urban research institution and the largest university in Virginia.
"Time for reflection over the past few weeks also has caused
me to realize that the presidential priorities I set for myself as president
have in good measure been accomplished and that stepping down in 2009 is good
timing for VCU, as our great institution considers the next phase of our
dynamic history," Dr. Trani said.
Among the priorities completed is Phase I of VCU's largest
construction project, the Monroe Park Campus Addition, which was opened in
early 2008. The new campus includes new buildings for the VCU Schools of
Business and Engineering, the Brandcenter, a residential college and parking
deck. Additionally, the Critical Care Hospital at the VCU Medical Center is on
schedule to open in October, and construction of student recreation centers on
the Monroe Park and MCV campuses is under way as well as a second medical
sciences building. This past General Assembly session, lawmakers approved
capital funding for the first phase of a new VCU School of Medicine building.
Other presidential and Board of Visitors priorities
accomplished or well under way include an enhanced student experience,
increased interdisciplinary and translational research, the establishment of 16
strategic international partnerships, the expansion of private fund development
and increased student retention, graduation and engagement.
"One of the achievements I am proudest of is the wonderful
collaborations with the greater community: our business partners, our neighbors, our
alumni, city, state and local governments and our philanthropic supporters. I said 18 years ago that community
partnerships would be a hallmark of my presidency, and I am very proud of what
we have achieved together, as we have enhanced both the student experience at
VCU and the economic vitality of the region," Dr. Trani said.
VCU Rector Thomas Rosenthal noted several more significant
accomplishments of Dr. Trani's presidency, including the establishment of the Biotech
Park, VCU Life Sciences and the School
of Engineering. The implementation
of the 1996 and the 2004 master site plans sets the stage for about $3 billion
in new academic, medical, student housing, recreation and parking facilities
that transformed VCU from a commuter campus to a residential campus of a major
research university and collegiate community.
"Dr. Trani's leadership has been nothing short of remarkable
for the university and the Richmond
area," Rosenthal said. "The physical landscape of VCU certainly has spurred
redevelopment in Richmond, but more
importantly, VCU's graduates are among the most sought after for their
knowledge, work ethic and dedication to community service."
Under Dr. Trani's leadership, major initiatives of the
university's strategic plans have resulted in the establishment of the VCU
Health System, a merger of the clinical activities of MCV
Hospitals, MCV Physicians and VCU's
School of Medicine.
The more recent VCU 2020 Vision for Excellence strategic plan, approved in
2006, is built around two priorities – to enhance the student experience and
aggressively build the research enterprise. As a result, University
College was established and already
has improved the freshman experience with improved retention and grades. The
research enterprise has grown from $90 million in sponsored research in 1997 to
nearly $230 million in 2007.
Dr. Trani also has led by example by incorporating civic
engagement into his responsibilities as president. Dr. Trani chaired the
Richmond Chamber of Commerce and the Richmond Renaissance, now called Venture
Richmond, an economic development organization. He also serves on several civic
boards and three corporate boards.
Dr. Trani said a priority for the remainder of his term as
president will be to ensure a smooth transition as the Board of Visitors
conducts a national search for his successor.
"There will be time over the next year to express to the
university and the health system communities the enormous gratitude that I feel
for what will be 19 years of having one of the best jobs in the United
States," Dr. Trani said.
Dr. Trani, 68, came to VCU in 1990 from the University
of Wisconsin System, where he was
vice president for academic affairs and professor of history. He is a graduate
of the University of Notre Dame and earned his master's and doctoral degrees
from Indiana University.
About VCU and the VCU Medical Center
Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls nearly 31,000 students in 223 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-eight of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. MCV Hospitals and the health sciences schools of Virginia Commonwealth University comprise the VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see www.vcu.edu.