Dr. Ronald A. Crutcher
Cheryl Miller profiles the new president of the University of Richmond, a 2015 Boomer & Shaker honoree.
On Oct. 30, 2015, Ronald A. Crutcher, 68, was inaugurated as only the 10th president in the 185-year history of the University of Richmond. Actually on the job since July 1, Crutcher brings a national reputation as a leader in higher education, accomplished administrator and distinguished classical musician. Taking up the instrument at age 14, Crutcher became the first cellist to receive the doctor of musical arts degree from Yale. A former member of several symphonies, Crutcher is also in the classroom at UR as a professor of music. “I decided,” he noted, “to become a university president because of my passion for the power of education to transform lives.”
WHAT PROMPTED YOU TO COMBINE YOUR LOVE OF MUSIC WITH BECOMING A LEADER IN HIGHER EDUCATION?
“After having served as a university professor for almost 10 years, I wanted to have a broader impact. When the opportunity to become an assistant vice chancellor for academic affairs [at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in 1987] was offered to me, I took advantage of it. I have never regretted making that decision.”
AS A NEW MEMBER OF THE COMMUNITY, HOW WILL YOU WORK TO MAKE A DIFFERENCE?
“I am particularly interested in serving as a mentor for inner city youth. I am not yet certain how to do that, but I expect to be somehow engaged with the Richmond Public Schools. The University of Richmond has established a terrific K-through-12 Collaborative through which I hope to be engaged.”
COMING WITH A FRESH PERSPECTIVE, WHAT’S YOUR IMPRESSION OF THE METRO AREA AND ITS CURRENT DIRECTION?
“Betty and I moved to Richmond from Berlin, Germany, and before that we were in the Boston area for 10 years. We have both been impressed by the quality of life here in Richmond with respect to cultural offerings, restaurants and the like. On the flip side, we are saddened by the level of poverty and the apparent tepid support for the Richmond Public Schools.”
IF YOU COULD TALK WITH ANYONE PAST OR PRESENT, WHO WOULD IT BE AND WHY?
“W.E.B. Dubois. I am fascinated by his body of scholarship. While a very complicated human being in his personal life, he was a man who was many years ahead of his time in his thinking.”
WHAT’S SOMETHING ABOUT YOU THAT PEOPLE WOULD BE SURPRISED TO KNOW?
“In addition to playing the cello, I was also formerly a singer. In fact, I was the tenor soloist with the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra and three Miami University A Cappella Singers on their five-week European concert tour in 1969.”
Cheryl Miller is celebrating her 31st year as news anchor at WTVR-CBS 6, and is co-host of Virginia This Morning, and hosts the Battle of the Brains high school academic quiz show.