A new report released Tuesday details Virginia Commonwealth University's economic and cultural influence on Richmond and the surrounding region.
The report, compiled by researchers at the Center for Urban and Regional Analysis and titled “VCU’s Impact on the Region: Talent, Innovation and Collaboration,” found the university accounts for a $1.5 billion economic impact and 18,000 jobs in the city. Those figures increase to $4 billion and 47,000 jobs when looking at the region as a whole, the report states. For each dollar the university spends in the region, researchers determined the impact to be worth $3.70. The Center for Urban and Regional Analysis is a division of VCU's L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs.
Michael Rao, the university's president, said the growth of VCU and the growth of the city are “inextricably linked."
“We want our legacy to be that people’s lives in Richmond are better because VCU is here, and we want to find measurable ways to be sure we can show exactly how we do that,” Rao said at a news conference held Tuesday morning to announce the report’s findings.
Richmond Mayor Levar Stoney echoed Rao’s sentiments in brief remarks, pledging to build upon the city’s partnership with the college and its highly touted health system.
“We have welcomed a symbiotic relationship with VCU,” Stoney said. “A strong VCU benefits Richmond, and a strong Richmond can only have a positive impact on this university.”
Among the report’s findings:
- During the 2014 academic year, about 9,300 students logged more than 1.39 million volunteer hours in the region. Researchers calculated the cumulative value of those service hours was $32 million.
- Just under half of VCU’s 2015 enrollment (31,242) was made up of students who identify as African-American, American Indian, Asian, Hispanic/Latino or multiple races, the highest proportion of minority students enrolled at the university in the last decade.
- Two of five VCU alumni stay in the Richmond metropolitan area after graduation.
You can read the full report here.