Virginia Commonwealth University

The Virginia Commonwealth University School of the Arts is a major factor in establishing Richmond as a destination for contemporary art and design. Ranked the #1 public university arts and design school in the country [U.S. News & World Report, 2009], VCUarts enrolls over 3,700 students annually from across the country and abroad in 16 departments including design, visual arts, performing arts, art history, art education, and cinema.

VCUarts also operates a sister campus in Qatar, where it is the founding school of what THE NEW YORK TIMES has called "an Ivy League in the Middle East." VCUQatar offers an additional five programs and enrolls 214 students from 30 different nationalities.

Alumni and faculty of the School of the Arts have been recognized multiple times by numerous national and international awards including Guggenheim fellowships, the Rome Prize of the American Academy in Rome, the American Academy of Arts and Letters [New York] awards, Louis Comfort Tiffany awards, Jackson Pollock-Lee Krasner fellowships, Jacob Javitz fellowships, and the $500,000 MacArthur "Genios" awards, among many others. Its students and alumni exhibit and perform throughout Virginia and the nation.

Bobby Chandler Awards in Theater


The Bobby Chandler Awards in Theater were established in 2002 in honor of Kip's friend, Bobby Chandler. Bobby was an alumnus of Richmond Professional Institute, which, along with the Medical College of Virginia, merged into Virginia Commonwealth University in 1968.

The annual awards are given to outstanding seniors in three of the Theater Department's major areas of study: performance, theater design, and technical design. The recipients are selected by the Chairman of the Theater Department based on grades, awards, honors, recommendations, special performances, and service.

Past Recipients:

  • 2020   Christopher Martin, Gracelyn Shalaski, Laura Holt
  • 2019   Kyle Artone, Kathryn Feldhahn, Priscilla Franklin
  • 2018   Corinne Maclean, Stephanie Warrington, Benjamin Zasimowich
  • 2017   Katharine Fraser, James Nicholas, Carmen Wiley
  • 2016   Weston Corey, Curtis Miller, Shelby Smith
  • 2015   Rebecca Granger, Olivia Phillips, Sophia Yoo
  • 2014   Brandon Butts, Johnnie Mercer, Matthew Grisdela, William Wacker
  • 2013   Virginia Varland, Sarah Worden, Maggie Horan
  • 2012   Christopher Raintree, Olivia Luna, John Kernisky
  • 2011   Collin Chute, Amy Shimko, Tucker Duncan
  • 2010   Joshua Boone, Mary Monk, Stephanie O’Brien, Jacqueline Picariello
  • 2009   Calvin McCullogh, Alexandra Dill, Andrea Berting
  • 2008   Brian Kalin, Thomas Vecchione, Victoria Kesling, Landon Nagel
  • 2007   Justin King, Mauren Pereira, Taylor Huffman, Rebeka Bayles
  • 2006   Derek Dumais, Andrew Wallace, Mosca Mavrophilipos, Angie Shipley
  • 2005   Bret Terrell, Joanna Bachman, Jessica Light, Matthew Shofner
  • 2004   Felia Davenport, Jessica Vievs, Clifton Duncan
  • 2003   Brian Barker, Hilary Noxon, Melissa Chanselle

Chris Burnside Award in Dance

The Chris Burnside Award in Dance was established in 2002, in honor of Chris Burnside, the revered chairman of the Department of Dance and Choreography. The annual award is given to a deserving student, as selected by the department.

Recipient must be a full time undergraduate student majoring in Dance and in their final semester at VCUarts. The awarded student must graduate in the spring.

Past Scholarship Recipients

  • 2018 - Michelle Koppl - is working in Richmond, VA as an independent choreographer/filmmaker - website here.
  • 2017 - Taylor Smith - just moved to L.A.
  • 2016 - Kara Robertson - has her own Richmond, VA-based company, Karar Dance.
  • 2015 - Tarik O'Meally- he is Dance Place's 2017-2018 New Releases Commissioned Artist. He is a 2018-2019 Joe's Movement Emporium NextLOOK Artist. He is the artistic director of the Tariq Darrell + UNUM Dance Collective.
  • 2014 - Johnnie Mercer - now has his own company based in NYC/RVA and is getting a lot of notice.
  • 2013   Quincie Hydock
  • 2012 - Adrianna Oden
  • 2011 - Emily Reynolds
  • 2010 - Adrianna Oden
  • 2009 - Feliz Cruz
  • 2008 - Aaron Burr Johnson
  • 2007 - Niall Jones
  • 2006 - Tyrone Cooper
  • 2005 - Jasmine Sanker
  • 2004 - Damion Bond
  • 2003 - Samantha Speis

H. Theo Young Award in Fashion Design

The Annual H. Theo Young Award, a cash scholarship awarded by the VCU Department of Fashion Design and Merchandising, is named after the Chairman of the Department from 1980-1988. Formerly, the award has alternated between Fashion Design majors in odd years and Fashion Merchandising majors in even years.

In 2011, Steve Rula authorized a second award so both majors can receive a scholarship each year. The new scholarship is named in honor of Kip's friend, Richard Van Daniels, who taught Fashion Merchandising at VCU for fifteen years.

Past Recipients:

  • Fall 2018: Magan Shively
  • Fall 2011: Doina M. Alexei
  • Fall 2010: Sarah B. Robbe
  • Fall 2008: Angela T. Bacskoky
  • Fall 2007: Jacqueline M. Paratore
  • Fall 2006: Jessica A. Lee
  • Fall 2005: Melanie J. Banton

The Richard van Daniels Award in Fashion Merchandising

Each year, the Kip Kephart Foundation awards a scholarship to a student pursuing a fashion merchandising major at VCU's Fashion Arts program. The scholarship is named in honor of Kip's friend, Richard Van Daniels, who taught Fashion Merchandising at VCU for fifteen years.

Past Recipients:

  • Fall 2018: Piper Lynch
  • Fall 2017: Mercedes Miller
  • Fall 2017: Hyun Su Suhr
  • Fall 2016: Kelsey Underwood
  • Fall 2015: Molly Gibson
  • Fall 2014: Ellen Charlwood
  • Fall 2013: Fatin Mayassi
  • Fall 2012: Melanie Spaid