VCU and VCU Health receive $24M gift
Gift from C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Foundation to benefit research, patient care, scholarships
The C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Foundation has donated $24 million to Virginia Commonwealth University and VCU Health, the university announced Friday.
The gift was made in honor of the late C. Kenneth “Ken” and Dianne Wright, who died in 2019 and 2013, respectively. They were longtime supporters of VCU and VCU Health, with philanthropic donations dating back to 1999. A longtime Richmond-area businessman who died at age 94, Ken Wright owned Wright Properties and Wright Investments and was also the retired chairman of Rent-A-Car Co. Inc., an East Coast Avis rental car franchise based in Richmond.
“I know Mr. Wright would be very pleased about this gift,” Wright Foundation President Audrey Pape said in a statement. “It supports three areas that were very important to him — innovative research at the Wright Center, patient care in the new Adult Outpatient Pavilion and scholarships at the College of Engineering. Naming a space in the new outpatient pavilion will help the community remember the generosity of Ken and Dianne Wright.”
A portion of the gift, $16 million will go toward the C. Kenneth and Dianne Wright Center for Clinical and Translational Research, a space for VCU researchers and students. An additional $4 million will be allocated for the Wright Engineering Access Scholarship Program, which provides need- and merit-based aid to College of Engineering Students. The final $4 million will benefit the VCU Health Adult Outpatient Pavilion, which is expected to be completed by 2021. It will offer outpatient clinics, dental care and women’s services.
“Like VCU itself, Ken Wright was dedicated to the grand questions and solving the problems that have perplexed humanity for years,” VCU President Michael Rao said in a statement. “He always believed in what we did best, and these final gifts through his foundation represent his intentions for continued support of One VCU in order to advance research, education and clinical care.”
Other VCU gifts from the Wrights included the building that had been Kenneth Wright’s business, which was later renovated to become the VCU Brandcenter. The couple endowed professorships in gynecologic oncology research, pulmonary disease, critical medicine and cardiology and established the undergraduate Eugene P. Trani Scholars program. The couple also made a $10.5 million gift to the College of Engineering Foundation and the school’s microelectronics center is named in their honor.