Eugene P. Trani

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Eugene P. Trani
4th President of
Virginia Commonwealth University
In office
Preceded by Edmund F. Ackell
Succeeded by Michael Rao
Personal details
Born November 2, 1939
Brooklyn, New York
Spouse(s) Lois E. Trani
Children Anne Chapman, Frank Trani
Residence Richmond, Virginia
Alma mater
Profession President of Virginia Commonwealth University
Religion Catholic

Eugene P. Trani, Ph.D. (born November 2, 1939 in Brooklyn, New York)[1] is the former president of Virginia Commonwealth University[2] in Richmond, Virginia. He held this position from 1990 until July 1, 2009.

Education and early career[edit]

Dr. Trani received a Bachelor of Arts in history, with honors, from the University of Notre Dame in 1961. In 1963, he was awarded a Master of Arts in history from Indiana University and a Ph.D. from Indiana University in American history in 1966, where he was a student of Robert H. Ferrell. While in graduate school, he served as a grading and teaching assistant from 1961 to 1964, held a fellowship in 1964-65 from the Russian and East European Institute at Indiana University, and was elected to membership in Phi Alpha Theta, the National History Honor Society.

Dr. Trani was elected to permanent membership in the Council on Foreign Relations, New York, in 1979. Through its meetings and publications, and the activities of its 2,000 individual members, the council has played a major role in shaping American foreign policy over the last half century. Dr. Trani is also a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies, London; Phi Kappa Phi; the American Association for the Advancement of Slavic Studies; the Organization of American Historians; and the Society for Historians of American Foreign Relations; and served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Grenville Clark Fund at Dartmouth College. He has served as a consultant and outside evaluator for a number of university presses, journals, and governmental and grant-awarding agencies, such as the National Endowment for the Humanities. In 1989, he served as an advisor to the governor of Louisiana and the Oklahoma State Regents for Higher Education on the organization of the higher education systems in those two states. In 1991, he was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from Virginia Union University in Richmond.

President of Virginia Commonwealth University[edit]

Dr. Eugene P. Trani was appointed the fourth president of Virginia Commonwealth University on July 1, 1990. He also served as President and Chair of the Board of Directors of the VCU Health System and holds a tenured appointment as Professor of History.

Dr. Trani established an active administration at VCU. Among his first initiatives was to formalize relationships with the Richmond area through a number of community programs. These programs placed VCU Police in the troubled corridor of Grace Street next to the Monroe Park Campus and led to the establishment of the Community Advisory Boards for both campuses. Their centerpiece is the Community Service Associates Program, which pairs VCU faculty with members of the community on special projects designed to benefit from academic expertise.

During his VCU tenure, Dr. Trani also guided the development of “A Strategic Plan for the Future of Virginia Commonwealth University,” which produced significant organizational changes in programs and administration, including a comprehensive administrative streamlining report; a new framework for establishing interdisciplinary centers that combine VCU’s strengths in teaching, research, and service; a new faculty roles and rewards policy and a companion review process for VCU’s promotion and tenure policy; a master planning effort that incorporates new architectural guidelines into the development of the campuses in a way that complements their surroundings in the community; and a comprehensive technology plan developed in collaboration with area businesses for the entire institution.

Among the strategic plan’s important areas of focus has been enhancing VCU’s growing importance to economic development in Virginia. Dr. Trani spearheaded the development of the Virginia Biotechnology Research Park, which has attracted the biotech industry to Virginia, serving as Chair of the Research Park Authority Board. The plan also brought the development of a new engineering school,

Throughout his tenure, Dr. Trani directed VCU’s efforts to internationalize its campuses. During his presidency, he established significant linkages with universities in the Middle East, Europe, Africa, South America, India and China. Currently, VCU has developed significant university-wide partnerships with 15 universities around the world, most with academic medical centers. One of the most notable international partnerships established under Dr. Trani’s leadership resulted in the creation of the VCU School of the Arts in Doha, Qatar in 1997.

Dr. Trani also spearheaded a 1.2 billion investment in the institution’s infrastructure. More than $100 million has been invested in construction on Broad Street – Richmond’s main thoroughfare – which has attracted over $100 million in new business activity to the area. A recent master site plan, VCU 2020, identifies approximately $1 billion in capital projects, and includes new academic, medical, recreation, student housing and parking facilities. In all, the plan includes more than 40 new facilities between the two main campuses. Highlights include a new School of Medicine building, a new School of Nursing building, and a critical care bed tower on the MCV Campus; and on the Monroe Park Campus, the schools of Business and Engineering come together on a new residential campus to foster interdisciplinary teaching, research and public service.


  1. ^ (2009-04-19)."Eugene Trani’s career and VCU milestones). Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved 2009-06-15.
  2. ^ 2009-04-19). "Eugene Trani’s career and VCU milestones". Richmond Times-Dispatch. Retrieved 2009-06-15.

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