VCU board votes to extend Eugene Trani’s presidency

The Virginia Commonwealth University Board of Visitors today requested that Eugene P. Trani, Ph.D., extend his presidency for an additional three years, until June 30, 2010.  

Trani earlier had announced his plans to retire from the position of VCU president at the end of his current contract, June 30, 2007.  After a discussion with the board, Trani accepted the request to extend his presidency. 

“The Board of Visitors felt strongly that it did not want to lose momentum on several important initiatives that reach critical stages right at the time Dr. Trani would be stepping down as president of the university,” said VCU Rector Edward H. Bersoff, Ph.D.  “We believe VCU and the Richmond community will benefit greatly from President Trani’s direct involvement and guidance over the next five years.”

Bersoff said the transition to a new president at this time would take away focus from key programs that are vital to VCU’s future, such as initiatives to dramatically increase research and development and to improve the student experience of a changing student body.  Projects include the Monroe Park Campus Addition, which includes the construction of new buildings for the Schools of Business and Engineering, a new School of Medicine building, a new critical care hospital of the VCU Health System on the MCV Campus, further development of the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park, and expansion of the Inova Campus of the VCU School of Medicine in northern Virginia.  

“We’ve asked Dr. Trani not only to guide VCU through some extraordinarily exciting times coming up in the next few years, but also to represent VCU in the national and international arenas,” Bersoff said.  “Dr. Trani has been uniquely successful at building VCU into a major urban research institution in partnership with the Richmond community, greatly enhancing the economic vitality of the entire region. Other universities and cities can learn from this.”

Bersoff noted several of Dr. Trani’s accomplishments during his 15-year tenure as university president, including the establishment of the School of Engineering, the Biotech Park and VCU Life Sciences.  The implementation of the 1996 Master Site Plan resulted in the redevelopment of Broad Street and the transformation of VCU from a commuter school to a residential university, the second largest in the state. 

Trani also spearheaded long-range planning for VCU’s academic medical center which led to the establishment of the Virginia Commonwealth University Health System, a merger of the clinical activities of the Medical College of Virginia Hospitals, MCV Physicians and VCU’s School of Medicine.

Bersoff said these accomplishments have been coupled with community leadership responsibilities.  Trani chaired the Richmond Chamber of Commerce and Richmond Renaissance, an economic development organization.  He also serves on numerous corporate and civic boards.

“I am pleased to accept the board’s request, and I look forward to not only leading our important initiatives, but also to the expanded external role of the presidency,” Trani said.  “VCU has matured to the point where I believe we are a model for a number of issues facing urban research universities – both public and private – and I look forward to being an ambassador for this great institution.”

Trani, 65, 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