27. When your wedding party is full of Spiders

When your wedding party is full of Spiders

And the guest list, too. Photos in class notes every issue prove it: There’s no wedding like a Spider wedding.

a dancer backstage

28. Being backstage before a performance

The first thing I notice backstage is the audience’s conversations fading to silence as the house lights dim. Someone makes the first entrance of the show. I enter and embrace my character and the work completed over weeks of rehearsals. Before I know it, I’m onstage bowing. The audience applauds. Everyone in the production celebrates another successful show.

There are two types of beauty in performance: 1. Watching everyone’s hard work come together; 2. The life that exists backstage. The most important work happens onstage, but backstage is where the community lives.

—Amy Ogle, ’26. She has performed in two campus theater productions and counting.

29. Richmond Guarantee

guar•an•tee n. assurance, certainty; v. to give security to

Senior Stuart Terrill called his summer 2023 internship one of the best experiences of his life.

No wonder. He interned with USA Track & Field, where he worked on a project to demystify the difficult point system that determines who qualifies for the Olympics. The project could make athletes’ dreams come true.

Terrill believes the internship has gotten him closer to his. “I definitely feel like I’ve got a foot in the door now,” he said.

His experience was supported by the Richmond Guarantee. The Guarantee arose out of an ambitious idea, that students’ financial circumstances shouldn’t determine whether they can accept great summer opportunities. With strong and broad philanthropic support, the Guarantee launched in 2014. Many more Spiders have contributed since and strengthened the program.

Through it, every traditional undergraduate is eligible to receive a fellowship of up to $5,000 for an unpaid or underpaid summer internship or faculty-mentored research project.

Each year, it funds experiences for more than 500 students. In 2023, more than $2 million was awarded, and students did internships or research in 32 states and 25 countries.

30. Scholarships that change lives

Brent Clark, ’97, vividly remembers the moment he knew he wanted to be a Spider. A Kentucky native, he was a high school student touring colleges with his father. “When we [got to campus], my dad looked around and said, ‘You’re going here, aren’t you?’” he said. “I said, ‘Yeah, I think I am.’ It was just that immediate gut feeling.”

Clark could afford a Richmond education and graduate with no debt because of a generous scholarship and financial aid package made possible by Spider donors. Two decades later, he decided to pay it forward by establishing the Fleming Scholarship in memory of his grandfather.

“My grandfather was a tobacco farmer who did not graduate from high school,” Clark said. “But he was the smartest man I’ve ever met. He encouraged his children and grandchildren to get an education, and he instilled a love of learning in me.”

More than two-thirds of Richmond undergraduates are supported by scholarships and financial aid, a substantial portion of which is funded by donors. So far, two students have received the Fleming scholarship.

“Students should be able to experience everything that UR has to offer,” Clark said.

—Kyra Molinaro

Grad students with faculty

31. Graduation photos with faculty

The next time you’re on campus during commencement, check out the lawn next to the Robins Center after graduation. That’s where families traditionally meet their graduates after the ceremony. Since 2008, professors have joined the greeting committee.

The moment annually produces dozens of some of the most meaningful graduation photos you’ll ever see.

root beer float graphic

32. That go-to indulgence

The first time I treated myself to a root beer float from the Cellar — in the early evening of a particularly grueling school day — a comforting tradition was born. Dessert before dinner is OK, right? As soon as I slid into the wooden booth and took a sip from the fizzing, creamy cup, I felt my weariness melt away. And no, you can’t dip your straw in for a taste. This one’s mine.

—Sophia Demerath, ’26

33. We take engagement seriously

UR is home to one of the country’s biggest Bonner Scholar programs. It provides scholarships to 100 students annually who commit to substantial community engagement. By the time they graduate, they’ve spent more than 750 hours learning from and serving community partners throughout the Richmond region. More than 20% of law school graduates earn the Carrico Center Pro Bono Certificate, which recognizes students who complete at least 120 hours of service during their three years of law school

34. Career services for life

Newton’s laws, ancient honey, and groans after dad jokes — these are all things that stand the test of time. Like them, career services support for Spiders never expires. It’s always there to support you with job searches, resume/cover letter review, networking, mock interviews, and more.

Reach out via careerservices.richmond.edu anytime.

35. Spiders-in-residence

Talk about lessons in leadership. This year’s Jepson School leader-in-residence is Danny TK Avula, commissioner of the Virginia Department of Social Services. He led the COVID-19 vaccination effort in Virginia, which became one of the 10 most-vaccinated states in the country.

Professionals-in-residence are working with students across the university. They come in many kinds: artist, entrepreneur, executive, leader, community partner, founder, and journalist among them. Collectively, they bring fresh practitioners’ eyes into the curriculum.

36. Making a corner of the world a better place

Hundreds of students are part of service organizations. For biochem major Emma Kane, ’25, it’s UR’s Camp Kesem chapter. Ask her about it, and she doesn’t hold back: “It’s magical — and I don’t throw that word around.”

Kane, above in pink, is one of 50 or so active members. Each year, they plan and fundraise for a weeklong summer camp for children who are coping with a parent’s cancer diagnosis or have lost a parent to cancer. It’s a welcome respite for kids going through a really rough time.

Most Kesem members also serve as camp counselors. For privacy reasons, everyone at camp goes by a nickname. That tradition continues in meetings. One of Kane’s best friends is named Lauren, but in Kesem world, they are Unicorn and Basil. These alter egos let everyone put aside their personal ties and focus on what’s best for the kids. “My camp self is my most selfless self,” Kane says.

two students taking a selfie wearing sunglasses

37. First-generation Spiders

Jaide Hinds-Clarke, ’20, has a question for Spiders like herself who are the first in their families to graduate college: “Aren’t we incredible?”

“My time at Richmond was more than an academic journey,” she wrote on LinkedIn. “It was about living out my ancestors’ wildest dreams and discovering my true self. … You’re not just earning a degree; you’re trailblazing a legacy.” Fifteen percent of the current first-year class are first-gen students.

They have fellow trailblazers across campus. When the Student Center for Equity and Inclusion compiled a list of faculty and staff who were first-gen students, it ran more than 160 names and represented every corner of campus.

38. Spotting your prof as an expert in the news

From top-tier media outlets to major trade publications, in any given year, about 100 professors are featured in hundreds of national media stories with billions of potential readers, viewers, and listeners. Sometimes, professors even inspire documentaries and walk the red carpet at Sundance. 

yes graphic

39. Our favorite answer is “Yes”

Interested in majors no one’s ever combined? Have an idea for a unique study abroad? Want to connect in new ways with young Spider alums in your region? We say yes. 
Our culture of student support encourages Spider to forge new ways forward even if it’s initially unclear how to make it happen. This disposition has power. It puts Spiders in position to say yes to themselves and their own potential.


“Insecure” and “Awkward Black Girl” — and award-winning actress, writer and producer — Issa Rae came to campus as part of our #BlackHistoryMonth celebrations to give us the empowering pep talk we all needed to hear. ❤️💙 Many thanks to the Student Center for Equity and Inclusion, University of Richmond Center for Student Involvement, and Modlin Center for the Arts for making this event possible, and ‘97 alum GeNienne Samuels for moderating a great conversation! #urichmond #issarae

♬ original sound - University of Richmond

40. Leaders and luminaries come here

A partial list: Presidents Dwight Eisenhower, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama. Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia, Sonia Sotomayor, Stephen Breyer, and Elena Kagan. Adm. Chester Nimitz and Gen. Norman Schwarzkopf. Even Bruce Springsteen and Bo Diddley played here back in the day.

What about lately, you ask? This academic year, a former president of Kosovo and the current U.S. Secretary of Transportation have made visits. Music legends Rosanne Cash and Wynton Marsalis did shows, and actor and writer Issa Rae gave a talk and met with students.

Are we name-dropping shamelessly? Yes. But with a point. UR students regularly have opportunities to meet leaders, debate issues, and engage with artists at the highest levels.