VCU President Eugene P. Trani Announces Retirement Plans

Eugene P. Trani, Ph.D.
Eugene P. Trani, Ph.D.

Media Kit

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 Professor.

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 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 more than 31,000 students in 226 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Sixty-seven 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 VCU Medical Center, one of the nation’s leading academic medical centers. For more, see