Category Archives: Education

VCU Professor Is A Silver Screen Effects Wiz

By Phil Karstetter and David Preut
VCU Insight

RICHMOND,Va.- Wizards may be the stuff of Canterbury and the Round Table, but Virginia Commonwealth University has one right on its campus. Matt Wallin, an assistant professor of Communication Arts, works his magic on the big screen.

Wallin began his career in special effects as a lowly intern at the legendary special effects company Industrial Light and Magic while studying at San Francisco State. Since then he’s had an extensive and lucrative career, having worked on a host of major blockbuster films including “The Lost World: Jurassic Park”, “King Kong”, “Star Wars Episode 1: Phantom Menace”, two of the “Matrix” films, and “I Am Legend.”

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Emmy-Award Winning Program Offers Courses at VCU

By Eric Blackstock
VCU InSight

RICHMOND, Va. — The VCU-TV/HD program at Virginia Commonwealth University will be offering courses to students beginning in the spring semester 2010.

Students will learn to use high-definition film equipment and produce documentary programming. Training obtained through these courses could allow for students to eventually be promoted to paid positions within the VCU-TV/HD program.

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VCU Spreads Ram Spirit to Local Stores

By Taylor Hall
VCU Insight

RICHMOND, Va – Virginia Commonwealth University marketing officials are hoping to get more local stores to sell VCU paraphernalia by spreading the word through their “I Want My Gear” campaign.

According to VCU officials, the campaign launched after a heavy demand from students, alumni, and Richmond locals asking about where they could buy VCU gear and materials.

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Virginia’s Largest Universities Raise Tuition

By Dayne Kaufman
VCU Capital News Service

Virginia’s five largest state universities – Virginia Commonwealth, George Mason, Old Dominion, Virginia Tech and the University of Virginia – have raised tuition by 5 to 7 percent for the coming school year.

The tuition increases will help offset a decrease in state support for higher education. The state budget cuts funding for four-year institutions by 15 percent and for two-year institutions by 10 percent – a total reduction of about $212 million.

“The boards of visitors at Virginia’s colleges and universities may have kept student needs in mind when setting tuition this year, and certainly everyone is aware that these are difficult economic times,” said Kathleen Kincheloe, assistant director of communications at the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia.

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Slave Trail Seeks to Free City’s History

By Stephanie Power and Anna Yates
Capital News Service

RICHMOND – Near the corner of 17th and Main streets downtown is the site of Lumpkin’s Jail, where African slaves arriving at the Manchester docks were held before being sold off.

Down the street, under a parking lot, is an old burial ground for slaves and poor free blacks. There, Gabriel Prosser was hanged in 1800 for planning a slave rebellion.

A few blocks south, among abandoned storefronts and newer buildings, stands a dilapidated brick structure. It was once an auction house where African slaves were lined up and sold as if they were no more than livestock.

Those and other sites helped establish Richmond’s shameful history as a center for the slave trade. Today, the Richmond Slave Trail Commission has created a trail it hopes will lead to reconciliation and understanding.

Burial Ground, on Richmond Slave Trail

Burial Ground, on Richmond Slave Trail

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Sites along the Richmond Slave Trail

The Richmond Slave Trail mirrors the experience of many African slaves in Richmond. It begins on the south side of the James River at Ancarrow’s Landing and ends a little more than three miles later at the First African Baptist Church near Main and 15th streets.

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Storyteller Mulls America’s Heritage

Nessa Johnson, Richmond storyteller

Nessa Johnson, Richmond storyteller

By Stephanie Power and Anna Yates
Capital News Service

Late one night, Nessa Baskerville Johnson received a strange phone call.

“I think I’m your cousin,” said an unfamiliar voice.

Stranger still: The caller told Johnson that their common relative was a great-grandfather five generations back – a white man who enslaved members of Johnson’s family. The newfound cousin was even a member of the Sons of the Confederate Veterans.

“Then I should be a Daughter,” quipped Johnson, a Richmond author, storyteller, artist and activist who sits on the Richmond Slave Trail Commission.

Johnson says she “always knew” she would have something to do with the history of Richmond. Perhaps her greatest contribution to the commission is her passion for the city, her acceptance of its entire history and her wisdom in shaping its future.

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