Ronald Crutcher, the newly named 10th president of the University of Richmond, will be a good half-century older than most of the freshmen who enroll at UR next fall.
But in his first public get-together with the student body at UR’s Robins Center in late February, Crutcher, 68, gave a nod to a mainstay of youth culture — wearing a baseball cap as he delivered his prepared remarks.
At his start date on July 1, Crutcher will be the first African-American in the president’s office at UR, and the first classically trained cellist.
Crutcher has this in common with UR’s departing president, Edward Ayers: They are both Yalies, each having earned a doctorate at the venerable Ivy League school.
Crutcher was the first cellist to earn a doctorate in musical arts from Yale. Ayers earned his doctorate in American Studies.
Prior to taking on the UR presidency, Crutcher was president of Wheaton College in Massachusetts for a decade, and he earlier served as provost of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, along with a variety of other leadership positions.
Crutcher says that one of the attractions of Richmond for him was the university’s commitment to access and opportunity in higher education.
In his remarks at the Robins Center, Crutcher observed that UR offers a path forward for the most talented young people, regardless of their background or financial circumstances. He has said that he is a recipient of such opportunity, as the first person in his immediate family to earn a college degree.
“Richmond is one of a very small number of institutions in the United States that are both need-blind in admission and meet the full demonstrated need of admitted students,” Crutcher says. “This is an exceptional commitment on the part of this community, the board [of trustees] and those who have made possible the university’s remarkable endowment.” That endowment now stands at more than $2 billion.
But as university administrators and others, including Crutcher, have pointed out, that endowment needs constant replenishment and growth to provide the breadth of student financial aid and excellence of facilities and programs on which the university prides itself.
So, as both inspirer-in-chief and fundraiser-in-chief, Crutcher will have his hands full.
In the spirit of neighborliness, may he and the University of Richmond make beautiful music together.
And that is why we recognize him as Richmonder of the month.