VCU da Vinci Center announces spring residencies

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Vida Williams, left, and Tabitha Geary Tate joined the da Vinci Center this semester.

To reflect its evolution from an academic center to an academic and experiential center serving all students, the Virginia Commonwealth University da Vinci Center welcomes two high-profile community leaders in key roles this semester.

Tabitha Geary Tate and Vida Williams join the da Vinci Center as, respectively, entrepreneur-in-residence and innovator-in-residence. Each brings more than 20 years of experience to their positions.

“These two new roles will simultaneously support our students in and out of the classroom while advancing Venture Creation University in the local and national entrepreneurship and innovation community,” said Garret Westlake, executive director of the da Vinci Center.

Students in the center’s product innovation program will benefit from Tate’s extensive marketing and communications experience for Fortune 500 companies. As an instructor at the undergraduate and graduate level, she will be an invaluable resource in the heavily experiential and applied product innovation program.

Tate will also lead VCU’s inaugural Startup Spring Break, which will provide up to 20 VCU student startups the opportunity to engage industry leaders, mentors and investors in an extreme startup boot camp during spring break, March 6–10.

Venture Creation University

Venture Creation University is VCU's strategy for ensuring all students are exposed to innovation and entrepreneurship and have access to entrepreneurial pathways. To find out more about this effort, and to learn about innovation and entrepreneurial programs offered at VCU, visit

Williams, founder and managing partner at the Axis Partners, is a visionary and connector who embodies the type of innovative spirit the da Vinci Center strives to impart in its students. In fall 2016, Williams led the center’s entrepreneurship offering as part of the VCU-SIVA certificate program for visiting scholars from China. Williams brings her extensive experience as an innovator to her Venture Creation course that inspires and mentors budding VCU entrepreneurs.

Williams will also assist on special projects designed to further integrate VCU and the da Vinci Center with the local Richmond community.

A collaboration of VCU’s schools of the Arts, Business and Engineering and College of Humanities and Sciences, the VCU da Vinci Center is a unique collegiate model that advances innovation and entrepreneurship through cross-disciplinary collaboration.

About VCU and VCU Health

Virginia Commonwealth University is a major, urban public research university with national and international rankings in sponsored research. Located in downtown Richmond, VCU enrolls more than 31,000 students in 225 degree and certificate programs in the arts, sciences and humanities. Seventy-nine of the programs are unique in Virginia, many of them crossing the disciplines of VCU’s 13 schools and one college. The VCU Health brand represents the health sciences schools of VCU, the VCU Massey Cancer Center and the VCU Health System, which comprises VCU Medical Center (the only academic medical center and Level I trauma center in the region), Community Memorial Hospital, Children’s Hospital of Richmond at VCU, MCV Physicians and Virginia Premier Health Plan. For more, please visit and