Dr Michael Rao, President of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) in Richmond, Virginia, recently visited Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts in Qatar (VCUarts Qatar), the university’s campus in Education City.

He met with faculty, students and staff, including members of the Student Government Association at a special luncheon. Afterwards, Dr Rao attended an alumni reception and dinner at Education City Golf Club. VCU has over 190,000 alumni worldwide, with VCUarts Qatar’s alumni numbering more than 750 and representing 50 nationalities.

Dr Rao encouraged the alumni to make a difference by being leaders, while reminding them of their importance to the history and future of the university, adding that the work they were doing in the community was fulfilling the vision of VCU.

He also reminded his audience of the importance of service to others in their lives.

When you are 90, it will matter more what you did for others, how you touched them, than anything else. Every one of us has great potential to make a difference.’

Introducing Dean Berbić, who joined VCUarts Qatar in August 2019, Dr Rao explained that the university was very particular in its search for candidates for the position of Dean, recognising that it was important to find someone who could tap into the powerful energy of the country and take it to the next level.

Dean Berbić highlighted the role that VCUarts Qatar is playing as a catalyst in art and design in Qatar and the region by supporting cultural and artistic development. He reminded the attendees that as the number of alumni grows, the country will see and feel the impact that their alumni, as a force, will have on Qatar as an emerging creative nation.

Berbić urged the alumni to stay in touch with VCUarts Qatar, to remain part of each other’s story.

The new Alumni Council was also introduced as part of the event. The council consists of nine VCUarts Qatar graduates, ranging from the most recent class of 2019 all the way back to the first MFA in Design class. The Alumni Council’s aim is to be the voice of the alumni, and to organise any services or events they deem necessary for their growth and development. The Council also maintains connections and strengthens ties between the alumni and the university.

To find out more about VCUarts Qatar, visit their website at qatar.vcu.edu.