University President Ronald Crutcher gave his State of the University address in Camp Concert Hall on Tuesday morning, describing the continuous positive trajectory of the university, notable national rankings and record-breaking applicant pools.

He showed no sense of complacency in the university’s current standing. 

“We are a campus that continually asks what more we can be doing,” Crutcher said.

The atmosphere was buoyant in Camp Concert Hall as members of UR’s faculty and staff streamed into the auditorium. With warm breakfast and coffee catered by Dining Services, this light mood appeared to be inevitable. 

“I’m looking forward to the good news,” Paul Sandman of the Landscape Department said. “There’s always a lot of good news at these talks.”

The State of the University address is traditionally directed toward the faculty and staff of the university, and Crutcher began with a warm welcome and expression of appreciation for the work that the faculty and staff have done so far this year, especially considering the meteorological drama -- including funnel clouds and hurricanes -- that has accompanied this first semester. 

“We have shown ourselves to be extremely capable and student-centered,” Crutcher said.

Crutcher went on to speak of areas in which the university has active plans to become an even better university. He spoke of a new online tool, MyinTuition, for college financial planning; a new annual fund campaign called Spiders Helping Spiders; the significant rise in social media and alumni engagement; and an announcement of the university’s purchase of a 130-acre solar array.

These are just some highlights of the strategic planning that the university is implementing, Crutcher said as he turned from these developments to discuss the priorities for UR’s future.

Crutcher outlined four key areas in which the school’s future priorities lie: academic excellence, thriving and inclusivity, reach and reputation and university advancement.

With academics at the heart of UR’s purpose, Crutcher spoke of active committees that are conducting research and working with faculty to improve the current general curriculum and create programs for collaboration, innovation and creativity among the different schools and divisions on campus, he said.

“For our students to thrive, they must feel that they belong to the University of Richmond, and that the university belongs to them,” Crutcher said as he turned the focus to inclusivity.

Crutcher discussed the work of the President’s Advisory Committee, which is exploring the current campus climate to define what it means to thrive at UR, how to measure this concept both in qualitative and quantitative modes of assessment and what resources can be put in place to break down barriers to inclusivity.

With greater inclusivity on campus comes a stronger reach and reputation of the university, Crutcher said. Crutcher plans on speaking with the Board of Trustees later this month about how the university can take this reach further to be the very best institution possible, he said.

Some such initiatives to expand reach and reputation of the university have been the active advertising campaign visible on campus, in the Richmond airport and the Washington Post, as well as the first faculty and staff fundraising campaign in recent years, Crutcher said.

“I believe that we are in a position to compete effectively because of who we are,” Crutcher said as he closed his remarks. “We are a thriving community defined by academic excellence and strong enduring support of Spiders.”

As the audience left Camp Concert Hall, there were applause and scattered words of satisfaction and agreement with Crutcher’s statements on the state of the university.

“I was very pleased at his vision about the university based on the past, present and future,” Bruce Heilman, chancellor of the university, said. “We all will anticipate a finer university when we analyze, as he suggested, where we’ve been and where we are today.” 

Contact senior features writer Lucy Nalen at lucy.nalen@richmond.edu.