End-of-semester "Thank You" from the Robertson School
Apr 29, 2020
Posted in: News
Dear Robertson School students, colleagues and friends,
As we close out what has been an unusual and challenging semester, I wanted to take a moment to say "Thank You!" I am fortunate to sit in a position that allows me to see the very best and brightest come together to overcome. Despite the difficulties, challenges and obstacles, I have witnessed our School do amazing things this semester (please see some examples in the video above).
Although we still have challenges ahead as the world navigates the COVID-19 pandemic, looking back on the last two months I am confident in our ability to adapt quickly and keep moving forward. Without diminishing the hardships, fears and loss that this crisis has bestowed on the world, I would like to conclude our time together this semester looking back and celebrating the things we have done together as a School, as a part of ONE VCU.
Celebrating our graduates
As we exit the regular semester and enter into final exam week, I hope you will join me in celebrating our cohort of graduating students next week. Please mark your calendar for the VCU virtual commencement launching May 8, to honor the many achievements of our May 2020 graduates. This will involve an interactive online platform to individually recognize spring degree and certificate candidates. May graduates also are invited to participate in the December commencement ceremonies to honor all 2020 graduates. May graduates will be contacted with more information.
Celebrating our students
- I believe we have some of the best and brightest students anywhere. This semester we featured soon to-be Advertising graduate, Kevin Nguyen, for his outstanding contributions to the School and advertising industry.
- I'd also like to showcase the incredible work of Journalism senior Georgia Geen who helped VCU’s student newspaper become one of the best in the country.
- In addition, our students get recognized as some of the best through the prominence of awards. For example, this semester the Society of Professional Journalists announced the winners in the 2019 Mark of Excellence contest for Region 2 (Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, Delaware and the District of Columbia) honoring a total of 24 entries from VCU: Eight first-place winners (which have advanced to the national competition) and 16 finalists.
- I'd also like to highlight the 11 ADDY awards won by Advertising students this semester from the American Advertising Federation, guided by Professors Jay Adams and Marcel Jennings, at the AAF District 3 competition (North Carolina, South Carolina and Virginia).
- Seven students, staff and faculty won Black History in the Making Awards this semester. We are so proud of their accomplishments and were excited to be able to honor them at an event in February.
- And of course Robertson School senior Maryum Elnasseh, who during all of this found time to help send medical supplies to VCU Health and those in need.
Celebrating our faculty
- It goes without saying that our School is made stronger by top-notch, nationally recognized faculty. We are so fortunate to have colleagues here in the School who stepped up early to help us transition smoothly to a remote education system.
- We have colleagues like Dr, Jeanine Guidry, who have stepped up to teach COVID-19 related webinars and courses for the betterment of public health messaging and communication. Dr. Karen McIntyre will offer another COVID-19 related course on Solutions Journalism this summer.
- We're also fortunate to have faculty like Dr. Mariam Alkazemi, who is this semester's recipient of the Presidential Award for Community Multicultural Enrichment (PACME) to recognize and encourage contributions such as advocating equity, building community, establishing cross-cultural initiatives, nurturing acceptance and promoting civility within the university community.
Celebrating our alumni
- We are fortunate to have talented alumni from the School who go on to do incredible things in the field. For example Robertson School alumna Keyris Manzanares, who recently launched a news platform in Spanish for ABC 8 (WRIC-TV) to help the Hispanic community become more informed about local Richmond news.
- We took time this semester before the shutdown to celebrate our alumni at a networking event at Hardywood Brewery. We look forward to inviting our alumni again as soon as the situation allows.
Celebrating our resilience
- One of the early hardships we faced was cancelling our annual CreateAthon event, designed to provide pro bono communication to organizations in need. Through the sheer ingenuity of CreateAthon students and faculty led by Professors Jess Collins and Peyton Rowe, the event took a new virtual approach to service. This semester we hosted the very first Virtual CreateAthon, making history and serving clients in need.
- And our advertising, journalism and public relations faculty are currently organizing virtual portfolio reviews that will connect more than 100 professionals with our seniors for discussions about their work and future careers by the end of next week.
Wrapping up this semester
As we approach final exams, please consider the following information from the VCU COVID-19 website:
- The last day to withdraw for spring 2020 has been changed from Friday, April 17 to Thursday, April 30 (tomorrow!). Please make sure you know the latest version of the Academic Calendar.
- A new, temporary pass/fail grading option for undergraduate and graduate students has been established for the spring semester. The Office of the Provost has created checklists for undergraduate and graduate students to help them decide which grading option to choose.
- Please see all information related to final exams, grades, summer and fall registration on One VCU: Responsible Together.
- Announced this week, please see information from VCU President Dr. Michael Rao about fall course designation and modality.
If it is safe and appropriate, I look forward to seeing our returning students again in the fall. To our graduating seniors, please know the Robertson School is always here to support your future.
Marcus Messner, Ph.D., Interim Director and Professor