Yvonne Jones and Michael Rao stand side by side and smile for the camera.
Yvonne Jones, dining operations assistant manager, (left) was thanked by VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D. (right) for her 50 years of service with VCU. (Tom Kojcsich, Enterprise Marketing and Communications)

More than 2,700 VCU and VCU Health employees are honored for reaching service milestones

“You’re moving many people's lives forward. You’re moving this institution forward,” said VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D.

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A sea of Virginia Commonwealth University and VCU Health faculty and staff were honored Tuesday at the 51st annual service recognition celebration.

Held at the Stuart C. Siegel Center, the event highlighted the significant tenures of more than 2,700 VCU and VCU Health employees. Among those reaching milestones in 2022, nearly 1,100 were cited for completing five years of service. And for a smaller but equally remarkable number, nine honorees completed their 50th year of service in 2022.

VCU President Michael Rao, Ph.D., said staff members of every service interval are crucial to the university’s success – not just as a workplace but as an example for higher education and the community.

“People at VCU have empathy, and they care deeply about other human beings and transforming their lives,” said Rao, who highlighted the legacy of long-serving colleagues. “Everything I represent is because of this great foundation that you built as a team at this institution. You’re moving many people's lives forward. You’re moving this institution forward. You've actually helped create what the rest of the nation needs to see, [which] is a truly public research university.”

Among those celebrating 50 years at VCU was Yvonne Jones, dining operations assistant manager in VCU Business Services. She started working at the Cobblestone Sandwich shop on campus. When the owner wanted to leave VCU and take the staff with him, Jones didn’t want to. To keep her on campus, several professors and deans signed a petition to keep her here.

“I've been happy here – I really have,” Jones said. “That's why I'm still here.”

Anil Chatterji, director of IT for the College of Engineering, has completed 45 years at VCU. In summer 1976, he was an international graduate student studying at Virginia Tech, and he did some work at VCU in data acquisitions. Chatterji impressed his colleagues, and he was told there would be a job waiting for him after graduation.

“So a year later I came back, and I've been full time ever since,” he said.

This annual awards ceremony recognizes members of the Ram Family who are celebrating various year's of service to an unstoppable institution.

The celebration also included special recognition of several VCU employees.

President’s Award of Excellence

Trescinda “Cindy” Cull, director of budgets and financial reporting for the Office of the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences. The award recognizes exceptional contributions to VCU or VCU Health throughout a career.

President’s Outstanding Achievement Award

Corey Byers, senior public relations specialist with the VCU Police Department, and Molly Wright, director of communications for strategic initiatives in the Office of the Provost’s Institutional Research and Decision Support. The award recognizes achievements, leadership and contributions that have resulted in significant benefits to VCU or VCU Health within the realm of the employee’s job.

Dorris Douglas Budd Award

Jillian Rountree, program manager for the Division of Hematology, Oncology and Palliative Care. The award recognizes the excellence of a VCU or VCU Health administrative office support staff member.

The Danny Woodward President's Service Excellence Award

Judy Gary, assistant director of medical education and co-director of the fmSTAT Scholars Track in the Department of Family Medicine and Population Health. The award recognizes outstanding service to students, patients, colleagues and other customers of VCU and VCU Health and the display of a positive attitude even under the most difficult of circumstances.