University of Richmond’s first Black president approaching last year of term

University of Richmond’s first Black president approaching last year of term

RICHMOND, Va. (WWBT) - Dr. Ronald Crutcher is approaching his last year at his post as president of the University of Richmond. He says he’s hoping to leave behind a legacy of academic excellence and inclusivity.

President Crutcher, the university’s first Black president, will step down in 2022 but he won’t be leaving U of R entirely: after a sabbatical, he plans to return to teaching.

“My father retired when he was 61, and he used to always say ‘don’t wait too long to retire.’ Obviously, I failed that test at the age of 74,” Dr. Crutcher said, laughing.

He plans to take a sabbatical in Berlin, Germany with his wife. He made the same trip after stepping down from the same role at Wheaton College in Massachusettes.

“One of the plans was to reconnect with some musicians that I played with 50 years ago when I lived in Germany. We talked about doing some playing again, so that would be nice,” said Crutcher, also an accomplished cellist.

After the year-long break, it’s back to work; he says he is hoping to teach classes on his two passions - leadership and music.

Crutcher has been a part of U of R since 2015, coming here after serving as also serving as the first Black president of Wheaton College.

“I was very impressed with the way that the university had diversified economically, racially, ethnically in a very short period of time when I was approached and in 2014,” he said. “It’s also being in this university, which was at one time, located in the Capitol of the Confederacy.”

‘Academic excellence’ and ‘inclusivity’ have been the main goals in his time as president, mentioning that he’s invested in pushing staff and faculty to pursue leadership roles, while also developing a plan to bridge gaps among the student body.

“That peaked my interest about using that representational diversity to try to change the culture, to ensure that everyone within the community can thrive. Everyone can achieve their full potential regardless of their race, their ethnicity, their political ideology, their class, sexual orientation, gender,” he said.

Crutcher recently published a book called “I Had No Idea You Were Black,” which that outlines his ride to leadership. He says it also highlights the importance of mentorship, meant for people concerned about the increased polarization in today’s society.

His book is available at major online retailers.

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