Dear Colleagues-Friends,

Each year, VCU opens the academic year by recognizing its distinguished faculty. It’s a wonderful tradition and one that we look forward to. This year’s 36th Annual Faculty Convocation was a particularly stellar occasion because the School of Medicine had a remarkable three faculty members among the six honorees. As you can imagine, we were incredibly proud to see our school so well represented.

All of our colleagues, as well as Dr. Mike Rao in his inspirational remarks, emphasized the importance of working for the public good and VCU’s commitment to serving our community in this way. We came away rejuvenated for our work together.

Arun J. Sanyal, M.D., in our Division of Gastroenterology, Hepatology and Nutrition, was honored with the University Award of Excellence. His humility was evident as he described his and his team’s formative research on nonalcoholic fatty liver disease (NASH) and metabolic syndrome. He remarked on what a unique place VCU is and how it allowed this impactful research to flourish. You can learn more about his transformative work and watch a video in which he shares his perspectives at

Paul H. Wehman, Ph.D., received the Distinguished Scholarship Award. Based in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Dr. Wehman also has an appointment in the VCU School of Education. He described for us his passion for seeing people with physical and intellectual disabilities find employment. Even better, he says, is that we now understand and have documented that this work is therapeutic. His comments emphasized to all of us in the audience that we must care about ensuring people with disabilities maximize their potential in our society. A video and bio that describe Dr. Wehman’s accomplishments are available at

Stephanie Ann Call, M.D., from our Division of General Internal Medicine, accepted the Distinguished Teaching Award. She explained that education has always been front and center in her life and a fundamental part of her family’s life. She praised our learners for keeping us current in our commitment to life-long learning, and she pointed to VCU as a place of possibilities, where learning, innovation and aspirational activities are encouraged and supported. A video and bio describe her approach to teaching:

If you were not able to attend the Convocation ceremony, you can watch the award presentation and hear our honorees’ remarks for yourself at
– Dr. Sanyal (at the 18:05 mark)
– Dr. Wehman (at 22:40)
– Dr. Call (at 30:50).

When next you see Arun, Paul and Stephanie around campus, please congratulate them on this marvelous recognition. My own thanks go to these remarkable faculty members and to you as well for all that you do each day to advance our missions of education, patient care and discovery.

Warm regards,

Peter F. Buckley, M.D.
Dean, VCU School of Medicine
Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs, VCU Health System