VCU Honored for Excellence in Diversity

Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) recently was named a recipient of the 2012 Minority Access Role Models Award for its commitment to recruit, retain and advance students and employees from a diverse applicant pool. VCU is one of only 27 institutions nationally to achieve the designation.


Recipients were presented the award by Minority Access Inc. on Sept. 28 in Orlando at the 13th National Role Models Conference. Created out of a partnership between Minority Access Inc. and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and supported by the National Institutes of Health, the annual Role Models Conference focuses a national spotlight on institutions and individuals who have excelled in producing and supporting minority researchers, particularly in the biomedical sciences and health-related fields, and their research efforts.


“This award is the direct result of the leadership and work of many dedicated people at the university over the years,” said Wanda Mitchell, Ed.D., founding vice president of diversity and equity at VCU. “We want to build upon this great work to achieve greater outcomes and future successes.”


VCU’s student body is very diverse, composed of around 40 percent of underrepresented populations. The university houses a Division of Diversity and Equity, and has a five-year diversity plan in place, which highlights VCU’s mission to provide a fertile environment in which ideas and skills can be cultivated for a future and world that respects natural diversity.


VCU was recently recognized by The Education Trust as one of the nation’s top colleges and universities for boosting graduation rates and closing the graduation rate gap for both black and Hispanic students.


Minority Access Inc. is a nonprofit educational organization that assists individuals, academic institutions, federal, state and local government agencies, and various corporations in diversifying campuses and work sites by improving the recruitment, retention and enhancement of minorities. It also provides technical assistance to minorities and minority-serving institutions in order to improve the higher educational, professional and managerial employment of minorities.


Congratulations VCU, you make me proud to call myself an alum and a Ram. 

Neil Armstrong Takes Last Small Step – Dies at Age 81

Neil Alden Armstrong, the man who made the phrase “”one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind,” has died today at the age of 81.  Born in Ohio on August 5 1930, Armstrong had a passion for aeronautics that lasted all throughout his life. Interestingly enough, by the age of 16 he was able to fly an airplane before he could drive a standard motor vehicle.


Armstrong distinguished himself as a flyer of Navy fighter planes in the Korean War, and served as a test pilot for the National Advisory Committee on Aeronautics, the predecessor to NASA. 


He achieved astronaut status by being one of two men to first set foot on the moon.  His famous phrase, “One Small Step” has become a historical marker, and has been referred to in countless science fiction and fact texts. 


After his retirement from NASA in 1971, Armstrong became a professor of aerospace engineering at the University of Cincinnati for nearly a decade and served on the boards of several corporations, including Lear Jet, United Airlines and Marathon Oil.


Mr. Armstrong also served as deputy associate administrator for aeronautics at NASA headquarters, coordinating and managing the space agency’s aeronautics research and technology research.


Read a detailed memorial to this great man at the BBC’s website, and follow the Brittish Broadcasting Corporation on Twitter @BBCWorld. 

U.S. News Ranks VCU Medical Center No. 1 in State and Metro Area

U.S. News and World Report’s Best Hospitals edition has ranked the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center the No. 1 hospital in Virginia and in the Richmond metropolitan area, reflecting four programs — nephrology, pulmonology, orthopaedic surgery and urology — in the top 50.


Specifically, the Division of Nephrology jumped from the No. 49 spot to No. 28; Pulmonology moved from its former ranking of “high achieving” into the 36 spot; the Department of Orthopaedic Surgery moved from high achieving to 39th; and the Division of Urology moved from high achieving to 45th in the country.


This year’s Best Hospitals showcases more than 720 of the nation’s roughly 5,000 hospitals. Fewer than 150 are nationally ranked in at least one of 16 medical specialties.


The hospital rankings are like a GPS-type aid to help steer patients to hospitals with strong skills in the procedures and medical conditions that present the biggest challenges, said U.S. News Health Rankings Editor Avery Comarow,


“All of these hospitals are the kinds of medical centers that should be on your list when you need the best care,” Comarow said. “They are where other hospitals send the toughest cases.”


Sheldon Retchin, M.D., CEO of the VCU Health System and vice president for VCU Health Sciences, said the No. 1 ranking in the commonwealth “is a fantastic endorsement of our commitment to excellence in patient care.” He added that it also reflects “our goal of bringing the latest and best therapies, treatments and cures to our patients and to the community.”


John Duval, CEO of MCV Hospitals, said, “the VCU Medical Center’s continued ranking as one of America’s best hospitals affirms that our investments in physicians, staff and technology, along with our goal of becoming the safest hospital in the country, are showing results.”


Read more here: at the VCU News website.


U.S. war in Iraq officially ends

So today marks the ending of the war in Iraq. The flag of the United States has been lowered, troupes are packing up their military toys, politicians and public officials stand up and give long speeches and the United States officially gives the Iraqi government and military a fond farewell.

“To be sure, the cost was high — in blood and treasure for the United States and also for the Iraqi people,” Defense Secretary Leon Panetta called. “But those lives have not been lost in vain.” The fighting resulted, Panetta said, in a “free and sovereign Iraq.”

So what happens now? The Iraqi people will still have disadvantaged splinter groups terrorizing the country. Bombs and other nasty stuff will still make the streets of Bagdad and other places unsafe. The United States, arguably the initiator of this war, has stepped out, and the military of Iraq is left to fend for itself.

I hope that what so ever happens in the years to come, we take to heart the lessons taught by losing over four thousand soldiers. With all that pomp and circumstance; all those lives lost; all to bring democracy, freedom, and sovereignty to the Iraqi people, I hope this time we do not have to go back.

It is time to take care of the United States.

In the words of John Lennon, “Merry Christmas. The War is over!”

U.S. war in Iraq officially ends –

An RVAMaverick creation.

Tip Thy Waiters Well

I have never been a waiter, bellhop, soda jerk, or anyone who accepts less pay for honest work relying on the goodwill of patrons for tips. These folks have my undying respect, and thanks for putting up with the millions of irrational customers who cannot tell a rare steak from a piece of foam rubber.

These folks do a good job of getting your food to you. They handle millions of plates, put in thousands of man-hours on their tired feet, all for the lousy 15 or 20 percent tip we give them. To give less than that is simply careless. To purposely stiff them with fake money and religious tracts is just plain wrong. They do not need your faked religiosity. They do not need your attempt at salvation through missionary work. What they need is money in order to make ends meet.

Having read an article on the rise in fake tipping from Christians, I am righteously pissed off at my brothers and sisters in Christ. I know God told you to spread the good news of his grace. He did not tell you to act like a dick while doing so. He did not say that thou should stiff one in five servers whose families need their help with a fake $10 bill with my face on it.

The bible teaches to be kind to others, and to treat others as we wish to be treated. This way lays the kingdom of heaven and a salvation bought and paid for by good works and faith. Christians, take note of these words, as they are the Truth.

Do unto others, and you will be done unto.

Stiff a poor waiter and you will get a shaft in your life as well. It may not be right away, but it will happen. When it does, that waiter you shafted will be able to have the good fortune you so virtuously withheld from them.

Waiter’s Phony $10 Tip Includes Religious Lesson – DailyFinance

An RVAMaverick creation.

Meatball Soup: Mama Mia

I’m a fool for Italian food. If I see a dish that looks interest to me, I immediately have to look into it and try it out. Well Oh my Goodness, this soup is off the chanes! That’s my official word. Emeril Lagasse, that man who kicked it up a notch and made the word BAM a expletive of absolute enjoyment, has come up with the recipe for Meatball soup that is heaven in a bowl.

Get crushed tomatos, tomato paste, garlick, and your noodles of choice. Now start thinking spinach, fresh basil, Emril’s Escense, and Italian bread crums. Is your mouth watering? Don’t’ lie, I can see you drooling.

Wipe off your keyboard and head over to Food Networkand read Emril’s Meatball Soup recipe. If you don’t you only have yourself to blame.

An RVAMaverick creation.