Skip to content

Board members of Friends of VCU Libraries

The Friends of VCU Libraries Board was founded in 1983 with the mission of strengthening VCU Libraries' resources and services to prepare VCU students for a lifetime of learning and to provide scholarly resources for faculty and staff. The board offers advice and support to the libraries' senior staff and sponsors programs and events throughout the year.


Thomas H. Beatty, Ed.D., is an assistant professor in the VCU School of Education Department of Educational Leadership. Active in service to the university, he has served on many boards and in many leadership groups, including the Alumni Board of Directors, the School of Education Alumni Council, the board of the School of Education Center for Professional Growth and the College of Humanities and Sciences Dean's Society. He earned a B.A. in English literature at VCU and holds both an M.A. in curriculum and instruction and an Ed.D. in educational policy, planning and leadership from the College of William & Mary.

"VCU Libraries is an important community service, an information and lifelong learning resource open to the VCU community. I'm excited about the opportunity to provide service to the library of the university I dearly love."


Jad Jean Babik is a doctoral candidate in public policy at VCU. He holds the B.S. in strategic marketing (2003), B.S. in political science (2005) and M.P.A. in public administration (2011), all from VCU. Babik is Principal/Managing Director, Jacal Enterprise L.L.C., Real Estate Development, and also serves as General Manager, M.J. Babik D.D.S. & Associates, General and Cosmetic Dental Practice. Community activities include work with Sportable and the Richmond Kickers.

"I enjoy the lively presence and environment of a library. I often visit our library and when I'm on the go, I also enjoy its accessible web presence."


Kate Peeples Brown continues her family's strong support of VCU Libraries. Her father, Edward H. Peeples, Jr., rotated off the board, and she stepped on. Her background in events and public relations is of great help to the board and the development staff.

Nick T. Cooke, III, J.D, M.Div., owner of Black Swan Books, has a demonstrated passion for books. He is president of the Southeast Chapter of the Antiquarian Booksellers Association of America, a board member of the Virginia Antiquarian Booksellers Association and a board member on the Fan Area Business Alliance. He holds a B.A. in English literature and a J.D from the University of Virginia and a Master of Divinity from the Episcopal Divinity School.


Trevor S. Cox serves as Deputy Solicitor General in the Office of the Attorney General of Virginia. Previously, he worked at the law firm Hunton & Williams. He serves as vice president of the Richmond Public Library Foundation and as a member of the Dean's Council of the Honors College.  He holds a bachelor's degree in history and literature from Harvard College, an M.Phil. in history from Trinity College, Cambridge, and a J.D. from Harvard Law School.  

"Since moving to Richmond in 2010, I have become increasingly involved in VCU as a citizen who sees the good that VCU does for the city and who wants to be part of it. My love of books led me to join the Cabell Associates, which supports the VCU Libraries and the legacy of James Branch Cabell." 

David Dennier earned a B.S. in business administration from the VCU School of Business in 1975. He has maintained a deep connection to VCU over the years, having contributed as the director and treasurer of the Rams Club, as a charter member of the School of Business Alumni Association Investor's Circle and as a board member on the School of Business and the University Alumni Associations. He served as director of finance for both the Richmond Symphony and the National Kidney Foundation of VA. He retired as the controller of the VA Home for Boys and Girls after serving for 10 years.

"VCU has the premier libraries in the Commonwealth, and I'm especially proud of the staff for recognizing and surpassing the needs of the students and faculty."

Portrait of Renate Forssmann-Falck

Renate Forssmann-Falck, M.D., is a retired clinical professor of psychiatry. She has volunteered in many capacities in the community and at Congregation Beth Ahabah. She received her medical degree and completed a residency in medicine in Germany. After finishing a second residency in psychiatry at the Menninger Foundation in Topeka, Kansas, she settled down in Richmond, VA.

“VCU Libraries buzzes with life! It is a delight to witness how the youngest generation is involved in learning and in forging the future of our country.”



Sharon Fuller (BS Graphic Design, University of Cincinnati) and her family have been involved with VCU and the Richmond community since the 1970s. On a professional level, Sharon has worked in marketing and public relations with experience in both the private and public sectors.  She had the opportunity to work in the sales promotion department of Thalhimers department store with her last position as creative director. Currently she is an administrative project analyst at the Richmond Public Library, handling marketing and communication. One of her favorite projects involved an exhibit on the long-term influence of a children’s book. VCU Libraries partnered with the Richmond Public Library and displayed parts of the exhibit to welcome incoming freshmen in the fall of 2012. All members of her family have attended VCU. Her husband, Mark, graduated from RPI/VCU in advertising. Following his death, an endowed scholarship was established in his name at the Brandcenter. Both daughters attended classes at VCU as undergrads, with Julie graduating from the English Department in 2006. Sharon has taken advantage of the senior audit program and VCU Commonwealth Society classes.

David F. Gardner, M.D., is a professor emeritus in the VCU School of Medicine Division of Endocrinology. He is highly active in the community, working as a volunteer physician at the Fan Free Clinic and serving as a member of the Quality Assurance Committee at the Beth Sholom Nursing Home. He holds a B.A. in human biology from Brown University and an M.D. from the New York University School of Medicine.


The Rev. Katie B. Gooch holds the M.Div. (2017) and a bachelors (2005) in public policy and political science from Duke University. She is the VCU campus minister for the United Methodist Church and is director of the Pace Center. Community activities include service on the board of Shalom Farms.


"VCU Libraries helps to build community within the student body, faculty and staff, and the greater Richmond community. It is an outstanding resource to help all of us grow, learn and challenge ourselves to be the community we are called to be."

Stephanie L. Holt (2016-18 president) earned a B.S. in business education from the VCU School of Education in 1974. She remains an active member of the VCU community and has served as president of the Education Council, as a member for the VCU Monroe Scholars Book Award Committee, and she was formerly a member of the VCU Alumni Board of Governors. She retired from the Xerox Corp. Prior to her career in business, she taught high school business classes in the Richmond Public Schools for five years. She was recognized as the VCU School of Education Alumni Star in 2005.

"VCU's libraries are the heart and soul of VCU. They are two entities to whom all students can relate."

Tehra M. James earned a Pharm.D. from the VCU School of Pharmacy in 2014. Presently, she is a pharmacy manager in Williamsburg. She is an active member of the Virginia Pharmacists Association, chairman of the Academy of New Practitioners and a member of the American Pharmacists Association. She holds a B.S. in cell and molecular biology and a B.A. in online media and marketing from King University.

"Daily exchanges with VCU Libraries as a student and as a member of the Tompkins-McCaw Library Graduate Advisory Committee initially sparked my passion for the libraries, and they continue to fuel my active involvement as a Friends of VCU Libraries Board member."


Ashley Kistler (MA, VCU Art History; BA, Dickinson College) has been an integral part of the Richmond arts community with a curatorial career spanning over 30 years. She has served as director of VCUarts Anderson Gallery, curator of the Visual Arts Center of Richmond and associate curator of modern and contemporary art at the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts. She has organized dozens of exhibitions featuring work by regional, national and international artists, as well as artists’ residencies and commissions, public art projects, lectures and symposia, film series and performing arts events. She has also authored and edited numerous exhibition catalogues, as well as the recent book Anderson Gallery: 45 Years of Art on the Edge.

Cynthia M. Messmer, earned a Ph.D. in public administration from the VCU School of Community and Public Affairs in 1997. She retired from from her position as associate dean of admissions at the VCU School of Medicine in 2006. After her retirement, she continued to work part-time as a residency coordinator for the Department of Family Medicine, retiring in 2011. She is an active officer in her community organization, the Traylor Estates Community Association, as well as a member of her local women's book club. She holds a B.A. in English literature from Brown University and an M.A. in educational administration from West Virginia University.

"The library was critical in completing my doctorate."


Timmy Nguyen holds the B.S. in business administration and management (2011) from the VCU School of Business. His many university and community activities include board service for the VCU Athletic Foundation, VCU Business Alumni Society, VCU Alumni RVA GOLD, VCU Alumni Board of Governors and Friends Association for Children. 

"A lot of students have the opportunity to attend any college but they don’t have the type of facility like VCU Library, which enhances their education to the next level. The library provides a tremendous wealth of knowledge that enhances teaching and research for today’s students and tomorrow’s scholars."

Art Seidenberg, is associate professor emeritus in the VCU Department of Biology. At the time of his retirement, he was the College of Humanities and Sciences assistant dean for undergraduate academic affairs and the coordinator of pre-health sciences advising. He is a member of the Old Dominion Postcard Club; a member and past president of his synagogue, the Congregation Or Ami; a member of the Friends of the VCU Music Department; and a member of "Team Warbler," which focuses on collecting data on the migratory Prothonotary Warbler. He holds a B.S. in biology from Brooklyn College and a Ph.D. in zoology from the University of Illinois.

"VCU Libraries plays an important role in the lives of the students here—and of course, in those of the faculty, too."

 Julie Seward's Portrait

Julia Seward has deep background in banking, law and community development. She is a consultant who provides guidance in strategic planning, project management and implementation, and facilitation to national organizations, local, state, and regional governing bodies, community based organizations, foundations and consulting firms. 

Scott E. Tilley, Jr., M.A. is a book lover and library supporter. He is also a Friend of the Richmond Public Library. His community activities involve him in the Reveille United Methodist Church, the Prison Ministry, the Writing Ministry, Compassion International and the Richmond Road Runners. He retired from the U.S. Department of the Interior. The U.S. Geological Survey honored his career by naming in his honor the Tilley Conference Center at the Woods Hole Science Center in Woods Hole, Ma. He holds a B.A. in management from Sonoma State University and an M.A. in public administration from American University.

"I love books! And I love the goals and direction that VCU Libraries is taking under the leadership of John Ulmschneider. There is no doubt about the future with the leadership team that is working with him and his staff to develop a world class library."

Emeritus Members 

  • Ms. Kathleen B. Barrett
  • Dr. Joann N. Bodurtha
  • Dr. Mary Corley
  • Dr. M. Imad Damaj
  • Mr. Ali Faruk
  • Dr. Carmen F. Foster
  • Carol L. Hampton
  • Dr. Allen S. Lee
  • Dr. John Mahoney
  • Ms. Elva Mapp
  • Hatley M. Mason
  • Ms. Janice McMurray
  • Mr. Howard Minor
  • Mr. James T. Moore III
  • Dr. Barbara A. Munjas
  • Dr. Edward H. Peeples
  • Barbara Peery
  • Steven Sawyer
  • John Jay Schwartz
  • Dr. Philip J. Schwarz
  • Sandy Sisisky
  • Ms. Melinda Skinner
  • Nancy Thomas
  • Ms. Cricket G. White
  • Ms. Bonnie Winston 

VCU Libraries

James Branch Cabell Library Monroe Park Campus
901 Park Ave., Box 842033
Richmond, VA 23284-2033
Toll-free: (844) 352-7399
(804) 828-1111
All Libraries
Tompkins-McCaw Library MCV Campus
509 N. 12th St., Box 980582
Richmond, VA 23298-0582
Toll-free: (844) 352-7399
(804) 828-0636

Reserve a room

Please choose a library