Richmond isn’t a college town by any stretch of the imagination. During the breaks when all of the students go home, the campus gets quiet (mostly) — but the city is still buzzing with activity. In fact, a lot of the students live here full-time, even when class is out.
If you haven’t heard yet, VCU & UR’s basketball teams have both made it into the Sweet 16 and Richmond is getting a lot of national attention for this feat. (check out this article in the NY Times and this article on ESPN.com)
All of this attention and excitement is wonderful, and has been a long time coming with the athletic programs at both schools gaining more and more traction. BUT the schools’ contributions to our fair city are quite a bit more involved than just succeeding at athletic competitions. Both schools have made quite a large economic and cultural impact over the years, and they continue to do so.
Mark Holmberg from CBS6 did a very interesting piece on how much Virginia Commonwealth University has done to improve the city and gives us a snapshot of VCU’s footprint here in Richmond:
VCU and its hospital and health system now have nearly 19 thousand employees. It has become the largest employer in the metro Richmond with an annual payroll of $1.2 billion, and look at all the construction jobs and other support businesses for the 32,ooo students and all those employees- which equal a fourth of Richmond’s population.
VCU now owns 142 acres of Richmond, and has 203 buildings.
As for University of Richmond, it doesn’t have the massive scale that VCU does, but it has a great deal of influence and presence in the city as well. From the facts and figures portion of UR’s website:
- 350-acre suburban campus located six miles from downtown Richmond
- 379 full-time faculty [couldn’t locate a total for the entire staff]
- 4,405 total university enrollment
And let’s not forget some of the other fine schools here in town that are also educating and providing economic development (and jobs!) — Virginia Union University, Randolph Macon College, and two Virginia Community Colleges (J. Sargeant Reynolds & John Tyler) serving this area.