Richmond has a strong tradition of faculty and staff mentoring our students. 

What’s more remarkable is how often you find senior leaders, including President Crutcher and his wife, Dr. Betty Neal Crutcher, making time on their busy schedules to meet regularly with student mentees.

We love that Richmond is the kind of place where even our president makes the time to meet with students and to talk with them, guide them, and ask about what’s on their minds.

“Mentoring connects us as educators to our students in a manner that is spontaneous, timely, and genuine,” President Crutcher wrote.

For President Crutcher, it’s an essential duty, not an added one. He meets with his mentoring group each month, and the students choose what to discuss. Nothing is off limits, according to Dr. Crutcher. His style of mentoring has been a valuable key to inspiring dialogue with civility across differences.

Other folks, like Inside Higher Ed, are noticing. They recently asked President Crutcher to pen an essay about his experiences. The result? A powerful essay that calls for a more courageous approach to difficult conversations. President Crutcher specifically talks about how mentoring helps build understanding from difference.

“I believe strongly in education that exposes our students to new experiences as a means of better understanding themselves, their fellow citizens and the knotty and complicated facets of our democracy,” President Crutcher wrote. “As educators and institutional leaders, it’s important to model the behaviors we wish to inculcate in our students.”

President Crutcher’s essay is the latest reminder of why we’re lucky to have him at Richmond. His experience, expertise, and vision continue to get recognition around the country and the world, whether advocating for civility, mentoring, or equity in higher education.

“As higher education is increasingly scrutinized for its value and relevance, mentoring provides us the opportunity to share wisdom across generations; foster candor, respect, collaboration, resourcefulness and understanding; and help our students in the transition to future lives of meaning and purpose.” 

What a great reminder of what it means to be a Spider! Thank you, President Crutcher, for your words and wisdom.