President Ronald Crutcher told new students they would work harder at Richmond than they did in high school, enabling them them to flourish, when he greeted them and their families at the Robins Center Wednesday evening.

“You worked too hard to be here not to throw yourself into this place," said Crutcher, who became University of Richmond’s President July 1, taking over for Edward Ayers. "You will find an astonishing array of new opportunities and friendships that will last a lifetime."

Before speaking tonight, Crutcher, who was Wheaton College's president from 2004 to 2014, told The Collegian speaking to the new students would be “very important.”

“One of the main messages is to remind them or perhaps even inform them that the next four years of their lives will provide opportunities for growth, development and change,” he said. He reiterated this point tonight, almost word-for-word.

“However, the extent of your growth, development and change is dependent upon your taking advantage of everything that this university has to offer you,” he told the new students. "I, for one, have no doubt that each of you will do just that.

"Thank you for your faith in us, matching our faith in you," Crutcher said, closing his speech.

Before Crutcher spoke, student leaders, including orientation advisors, energized the Robins Center when they opened the ceremonies running laps around the court and cheering.

President Crutcher takes over as president as Richmond continues to become more difficult to gain admission to. Richmond’s admission rate for rising first-year students was the lowest it has been in six years.

Crutcher said the quality of the educational experience at Richmond exceeds the university's national reputation.

“The quality of the education that students are getting here I would stack up against the very best private universities in the country based on my observations,” Crutcher told The Collegian. “What I want to do is try to close that gap so that people begin to understand what a fabulous place this is.”

Brian Douglas, vice president for finance and administration at Wheaton, called Crutcher a true intellectual and said Richmond was very lucky to have Crutcher as its president. 

“He really wants to know what’s happening in the intellectual life of the college,” Douglas said.

Crutcher is taking over as president well rested and full of energy. He spent much of last year in Berlin after he stepped down from his role at Wheaton.

“The time I had off this past 10-11 months was glorious,” Crutcher told The Collegian. “It was just what I needed.”

Contact editor-in-chief Jack Nicholson at