Friends of VCU Libraries Rising Scholars Program benefits local high school students

September 19, 2022

In 2009, VCU Alumni board member Robert A. Almond (B.S.’74/B; M.Ed.’85/E) had an idea to recognize outstanding high school students in the Richmond, Virginia, area while promoting Virginia Commonwealth University as a university of choice.

The concept was simple: Award books and recognition certificates to top high school juniors as identified by their faculty and bring them to campus for visits in their senior year. If the students enrolled at VCU, they would receive a scholarship of at least $1,000 from VCU Alumni. Through Almond’s gift and the efforts of a dedicated group of alumni, a scholarship and awards program was created. VCU Alumni administered The Monroe Scholars Book Award program for 11 years. 

This year, the program becomes one of VCU Libraries’ community engagement and outreach efforts. Alumni and members of the Friends of VCU Libraries Board will administer this scholarship program, now named the Friends of VCU Libraries Rising Scholars Program.

What began in Richmond now involves all high schools in Central Virginia. Each school nominates one deserving student. The approximately 40 students honored are invited to a fall reception, which is also attended by VCU students who were in the Rising Scholars program. 

The project includes an annual spring luncheon featuring a bestselling author to build awareness and raise funds for the scholarships. Authors who previously presented at this event include David Baldacci ((B.A.’83/H&S; H.L.D.’01), Rita Mae Brown, Sharyn McCrumb, Howard Owen (M.A.’81/H&S), Jill McCorkle and Lee Smith.  

The 2023 luncheon will be held June 1 at James Branch Cabell Library and will feature alumnus author David Baldacci (B.A. ‘83/H&S; H.L.D.‘01). More information

VCU Libraries welcomes volunteers to join the committee that helps organize this program or people who want to be added to the guest list for the luncheon. Contact:       

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