Alumni Volunteer Service Awards

Alumni Volunteer Service Awards

The biennial Alumni Volunteer Service Awards recognize and honor alumni for their outstanding accomplishments and service to the alumni organization and to the university. 

Congratulations to this year’s honorees! Watch the virtual ceremony.

Rodney A. Harry (B.S.’90/H&S)
VCUAA President’s Award for Exceptional Volunteer Service

Rodney A. HarryRodney A. Harry served as president of the VCU Alumni African American Alumni Council from 2014-20, inspiring Black alumni and students through his leadership and vision. 

During Harry’s term of volunteer leadership — the longest presidency in the organization’s 30-year history — the AAAC experienced exponential growth in alumni programming and development of relationships between current students and alumni. He also represented the AAAC on the VCU Alumni board of governors.

Harry was instrumental in creating programming that would keep Black alumni connected to their alma mater. Reunion Weekend has become the AAAC’s annual signature event, attracting hundreds of alumni from around the country. Community outreach was also one of his priorities, and the AAAC regularly participates in a number of service initiatives to help enrich the lives of others, including food drives and campus cleanups.

Today, programs like the Mentoring Circle, which connects current students to alumni with shared professional interests (160 pairings of volunteers and students in the current cohort) and an increased presence at alumni and campus events continue the AAAC’s commitment to student development and retention at the university. Harry and AAAC volunteers worked with campus groups, such as the Black Student Union and Office of Multicultural Student Affairs, to sponsor the first kente cloth graduation ceremony and to create two endowed scholarships to ensure the organization could help future Black VCU students in perpetuity.

Randall Suslick, M.D. (M.D.’73/M)
MCVAA President’s Award for Exceptional Volunteer Service

Randall Suslick, M.D.As a preceptor for the VCU School of Medicine since 1990, Randall Suslick, M.D., has logged well over 55,0000 hours teaching nearly 200 family medicine students through an intensive, 30-day educational experience.

Suslick has been one of the Department of Family Medicine and Epidemiology’s most reliable community preceptors, teaching more frequently than most with an average of six students per year for one-month family medicine clerkship rotations at his rural Chase City, Virginia, practice, where students say they are made to feel like “one of the family.” Remembering the stress of medical school, he facilitates opportunities for students to relax by joining him and his wife for trips on their boat. He introduces them to life in a small town community by inviting them to attend meetings of civic organizations and even getting their pictures and bios as visiting students published in the local paper. He also includes students in other activities, such as teaching them about his role as the region’s medical examiner.

Students often share that this experience feels like their first opportunity to actually practice the skills they have learned in the classroom, that it’s their first time feeling like a “real doctor” and credit Suslick for that feeling.

In 2020, Matthew Laws, M.D. (M.D.’21/M), completed his family medicine clerkship with Suslick.

“I knew that the hours he took to develop the future physician in me were in addition to the routine paperwork, patient phone calls and various other tasks he had to complete,” he says. “It takes a special love for teaching and altruism to so gladly incorporate third-year medical students into an already busy practice. Dr. Suslick has done just that for many years. He has dedicated his time to shape future physicians and, by doing so, has helped build the foundation for the future of health care in our country.”

Elizabeth Roderick (M.P.A.’18/GPA; Cert.’18/GPA) and John Kneebone, Ph.D.
The Hunt-Perkinson-Snead Alumni Pride Award

Elizabeth Roderick and John KneeboneThrough their involvement and service to VCU, Elizabeth Roderick and John Kneebone, Ph.D., have made an impact on many VCU audiences, especially students.

Roderick, a graduate of the VCU L. Douglas Wilder School of Government and Public Affairs, and Kneebone, associate professor emeritus with the VCU Department of History, volunteer with the Pace Center for Campus and Community Ministry, VCU’s United Methodist Campus Ministry located on the Monroe Park Campus. Roderick serves on the center’s board and is their fund development coordinator.

“What keeps me coming back to the Pace Center is that it teaches students how to become leaders in a sense of community,” Roderick says.

The couple also have been donors to the Wilder School and VCU Libraries. By making planned gifts and establishing a scholarship, they are providing essential support of students and faculty now and into the future. The Elizabeth Roderick Scholarship in Public Administration was established in 2019 to support an M.P.A. student in the Wilder School and has had three recipients to date. The couple has also included the Wilder School and the VCU Libraries in their estate plans.

In 2020, Kneebone co-authored “Fulfilling the Mission: Virginia Commonwealth University and the City of Richmond, 1968-2009,” with VCU President Emeritus Eugene P. Trani, Ph.D. Proceeds from book sales support VCU student scholarships.

“There’s not much chance that we’re going to change the world, but there’s a lot of good we can do in the places where we are,” Kneebone says. “I follow as Elizabeth goes about her business making Richmond and VCU a better place.”

Judith Collins, RN, WHNP, BC, FAAN (Cert.’75/N) and Joseph Teefey
The Hunt-Perkinson-Snead Alumni Pride Award

Judith Collins and Joe TeefyJudy Collins, an alumna of the VCU School of Nursing, and her husband, Joe Teefy, have served as active volunteer leaders at VCU, VCU Health and the MCV Foundation for decades. 

The couple, both MCV Foundation Lifetime Honorary Trustees, have leveraged their professional expertise in health care and senior services to bring people and organizations together to serve community members across the region.

Judy helped create, attended and co-directed the VCU School of Nursing OB-GYN nurse practitioner program and was founding director of the comprehensive VCU Women’s Health Center at Stony Point. She retired in 2000 after more than 30 years of service to the university. In honor of her retirement, family, friends, grateful patients and colleagues established the Collins-Teefey Distinguished Professorship at the School of Nursing to honor her lifelong commitment to women’s health and leadership in the school.

During his career, Joe served as vice president of MCV Hospitals and director of the Virginia Department of Medical Assistance Services.

Together, the couple led fundraising efforts for the creation of the VCU School of Nursing Clinical Scholars Program. In 2012, they mobilized alumni, foundations and individuals in the Richmond, Virginia, community to establish the fund supporting the program, which has helped attract clinically excellent faculty members by offering incentives for their scholarship, teaching goals and clinical practice. More than $550,000 has been donated to the fund.

In 2019, the pair, who also both served CARRITAS and CrossOver Health Care Ministry, received  the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Fundraising Professionals Central Virginia Chapter, for their decades of work making central Virginia a safer, healthier place to live.

Tom Bannard (M.B.A.’16/B)
Edward H. Peeples Jr. Award for Social Justice and Equality

Tom BannardTom Bannard has played a key role in the growth of VCU’s collegiate recovery program, Rams in Recovery, volunteering for 2½ years when he was a VCU student until he was hired in October 2015 as the program’s first coordinator. Rams in Recovery has grown rapidly in the past five years, with up to 90 students participating in a program that included just seven when it began. The program offers students weekly meetings, weekly recovery groups on campus, recovery housing, a recovery seminar, scholarship program, coursework and a program to help educate family members of those recovering.

In 2019, Rams in Recovery received a $675,000 grant from the Virginia Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Services for the expansion of substance-use recovery programs at eight universities across the state. Rams in Recovery serves as a model and provides oversight for the schools as they develop and broaden their on-campus recovery communities.

“Students should not have to choose between their recovery and their education,” Bannard says. “Once you start supporting students in recovery, they thrive. Their success attracts other struggling students into the program, and they motivate other people in recovery to come back to school. It’s a wonderful cycle to watch.”

Before joining VCU, Bannard, a Certified Alcohol Drug Counselor, spent seven years at CARITAS in Richmond, Virginia, working with individuals experiencing homelessness and struggling with substance use and mental health challenges. At CARITAS, he helped develop an intensive employment preparation program that catered to the needs of those with long addiction and criminal justice histories. He directed the 110-bed emergency shelter and the 70-bed transitional program. He also serves as treasurer for the Association of Recovery in Higher Education.

Saher Randhawa (B.S.’14/MC)
VCU Alumni GOLD Award

Saher RandawaSaher Randhawa joined the VCU Staff Senate in 2017 and has since served on multiple universitywide committees. She has been president of the VCU Staff Senate for the past two years, an unpaid position that requires hours of work in addition to her 40 hours a week spent as a social media content strategist with University Public Affairs.

As senate president, she leads an organization governed by a 50-member board that provides a forum for the exchange of ideas and information among staff, administration and faculty of VCU and VCU Health. She has been instrumental in the planning of employee recognition and appreciation events, such the Service Recognition Celebration, the Staff Career Development Conference, the Staff Senate Awards for Excellence and the annual Employee Appreciation Celebration. This year’s conference alone was a monthlong experience with over 40 virtual sessions that Randhawa managed and planned in order to provide learning and professional development opportunities for all staff in a more flexible and accessible way through the pandemic.

As a student, Randhawa transferred to VCU in 2012 with hopes of replicating the active undergraduate experience she had at University of California, Davis, but needed to work full time while in school, limiting her on-campus experiences.

“When I became a staff member at VCU, I was like, ‘Oh, I can finally get involved with VCU. I may not be a student anymore, but I can still do it at a staff level,’” says Randhawa, who started working at VCU in 2016.

When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, she transitioned the organization to virtual meetings. She planned and moderated the Staff Senate COVID-19 Forum, which was met with great response from staff members and leadership as a creative way to address staff concerns and to support employees. Randhawa responded to every staff concern, substantively contributed to university decision-making through her participation on numerous COVID-related and university committees, and worked to provide senior leadership with critical feedback. She worked tirelessly to bolster university communications to staff, highlight the efforts of leadership, and assist in the delivery of support mechanisms while also advocating for the needs, perspective and voice of staff.

Randhawa is also a member of the VCU Alumni Recent Graduate Council, and she volunteers at each VCU Commencement as a marshal, providing a positive spirit for graduates on what is one of their biggest college moments. This summer, she will become a two-time alumna, earning her master’s in mass communications with a concentration in strategic public relations.

Chloe White (B.S.’21/H&S)
VCU Alumni STAT Award

Chloe WhiteWhen a last-minute spot opened up for the CASE ASAP District 3 conference in February 2018, Chloe White jumped in a van and joined her fellow Students Today Alumni Tomorrow leaders on a six-hour drive to Knoxville, Tennessee. She had just joined the organization that month as a member of the STAT Leadership Council.

Over the next two years, she served STAT as the director of spirit and traditions, vice president and president, all the while bringing new members into the council, executing events and promoting spirit, traditions and alumni networking among the VCU community. She also supported opportunities for students by making an annual gift to VCU’s Student Life and Learning Fund.

“It’s important to give back to VCU so that more students have the opportunities and experiences that we had,” she says. “It is thanks to donors that we have the amazing buildings, events and scholarships.”

White developed several new STAT programs, including new accountability procedures for Leadership Council members and Ramadition Tuesdays to promote campus traditions. While president, she led STAT through the public health crisis of COVID-19 as well the national discussion on racial injustices. She was thoughtful throughout the year, responding to concerns and pivoting to meet the needs of STAT members.

White graduated in spring 2021 with a bachelor’s degree in health, physical education and exercise science on the pre-physical therapy track. Until her last semester, she was an active volunteer in the executive board application process as she has encouraged other students to take that leap of faith she did.

About the awards

Individuals are honored in six categories. General contributions of board and/or committee member service and other volunteer support may qualify nominees. Additional criteria for specific categories are listed below. Any or all of these criteria will be considered and the overall strength of the nomination is more important than meeting each and every criterion. 

President’s Award for Exceptional Volunteer Service
Awarded to an alumnus/alumna

The Hunt-Perkinson-Snead Alumni Pride Award
Awarded to an alumnus/alumna or alumni couple

Edward H. Peeples Jr. Award for Social Justice and Equality
Awarded to an alumnus/alumna or a friend of VCU who improves the lives of VCU students and/or VCU alumni

VCU Alumni GOLD Award
Awarded to a graduate of the last decade

Awarded to a student

VCU Alumni Outstanding Program Award
Awarded to a VCU Alumni affiliated group or chapter

Previous award winners

2018: Austin Stewart (B.S.’19/H&S)
2016: Sarah Kilmon (B.S.17/MC)
2014: Daniel J. Metz (B.S.14/En)
2012: Alexandra McDougall (B.S.13/H&S)
VCU Alumni GOLD Award
2018: Andrew Hobson (B.S.’12/En)
2016: Joseph R. Stemmle (B.S.’13/B)
2014: Timothy Nguyen (B.S.11/B)
2012: Yesenia C. Villalta (B.S.W.11/SW)
Eugene H. and Rosalia C. Hunt Alumni Pride Award
2018: Joseph Lowenthal Jr. (B.F.A.’55/A)
2016: Michelle Turner (B.S.’93/H&S)
2014:Frank J Shortall Jr. (B.S.96/B)
2012: Paula B. Saxby, Ph.D. (M.S.85/N; Ph.D.92/N)
VCU Alumni Outstanding Program Award
2018: Military Veterans Alumni Council Veterans Day Reception, Saif Khan (B.S.’07/H&S)
Alumni Charity Challenge
2014: Monroe Scholars Book Award Program, Robert A. Almond (B.S.74/E; M.Ed.85/E)
2012: Ram to Ram Program, Joseph E. Becht Jr. (M.B.A.80/B); VCU Alumni Association’s Richmond Promise Program, Eddie Robinson (B.G.S.00/H&S; M.S.W.03/SW)
VCU Alumni Service Award
2018: Franklin R. Wallace Jr. (B.F.A.’87/A; M.P.A.’08/GPA)
2016: Timmy Nguyen (B.S.’11/B)
2014: B. Ellen Byrne, D.D.S., Ph.D.(B.S.77/P; D.D.S.83/D; Ph.D.91/M; H.S.91/D)
2012: Corinne F. Dorsey (Dipl.54/N.; B.S.65/N); Jon B. Hill (B.S.85/B; M.B.A.99; M.S.12/B)
Elaine and W. Baxter Perkinson Jr. and Vickie and Thomas Snead Jr. Alumni Award for Extraordinary Service
2018: Ken Thomas (B.S.’91/B) and Pat Thomas
William M. Ginther (B.S.’69/B; M.S.’74/B) and Marsha C. Ginther.
2014: Mary C. Doswell and John (D.D.S.79/D) C. Doswell II, D.D.S.
2012: Elaine N. Perkinson and W. Baxter Perkinson Jr., D.D.S.(D.D.S.70/D); Vickie M. Snead (B.S.76/B) and Thomas N. Snead Jr.(B.S.76/B)
Edward H. Peeples Jr. Award for Social Justice
2018: Sarah Huggins Scarbrough, Ph.D. (M.S.’07/GPA; Cert.’07/GPA; Ph.D.’12/GPA)
2016: David A. Gallagher (B.S.’97/B)
2014: Edward H. Peeples Jr., Ph.D.(B.S.57/E)
MCVAA Hodges-Kay Service Award
2018: Michelle R. Peace, Ph.D. (Ph.D.’05/M)
2016: Tammy Swecker (B.S.’93/D; M.Ed.’05/E)
2014: Patricia B. Bernal (B.S.80/N; M.S.91/N); Alvin J. Schalow Jr. (B.S.61/P) and Alvin J. Schalow (B.S.61/P)
2013: Bronwyn M. Burnham (B.S.89/P)
2012: Michael O. McMunn, D.D.S. (D.D.S.77/D)
2011: Frederick T. Given Jr., M.D. (M.D.53/M)
2010: Mary Shall, Ph.D. (Ph.D.91/AHP)
2009: George W. Burke III, M.D. (M.D.70/M)
2008: John C. Doswell II, D.D.S. (D.D.S.79/D)
2007: W. Baxter Perkinson Jr., D.D.S. (D.D.S.70/D)
2006: Henry W. Addington (B.S.51/P)
2005: Barry Kirkpatrick, M.D. (M.D.66/M)
2004: Corinne Dorsey (Dipl.54/N; B.S.65/N)
2003: Louise O. Brooks (B.F.A.77/A; B.S.82/AHP)
2002: Marianne Rollings (B.S.63/P)
2001: Rebecca T. Perdue (B.S.62/AHP)
2000: Ruth W. Campbell, M.D. (M.D.57/M)
1999: W.C. Henderson, D.D.S. (D.D.S.37/D)
1998: Bertha C. Rolfe (B.S.47/P)
1997: Lindsay W. Butler (B.S.22/P)
1996: Richard Barnes, D.D.S. (D.D.S.77/D)
1995: Ralph M. Ware Jr. (B.S.42/P)
1994: Harry I. Johnson Jr., M.D. (M.D.53/M)
1993: Thomas W. Nooney Jr., Ph.D. (Ph.D.70/M)
1992: Katherine C. Bobbitt (B.S.56/N)
1991: Frances W. Kay (B.S.59/N)