Based on the findings of the December 17, 2022, report on Slavery and the Medical College of Virginia, the Project Gabriel Commission is charged with recommending to the Administration and Board of Visitors of VCU specific ways in which the institution should: 

  1. identify and memorialize all enslaved individuals who labored on MCV grounds and property; and
  2. provide a tangible benefit such as a college scholarship or community-based economic development program for individuals or specific communities with a demonstrated historic connection to slavery that will empower families to be lifted out of the cycle of poverty.

Process to Final Recommendations:

  1. Extensive Research and Engagement: Commission members engaged with local experts, historians, and individuals closely connected to the work, conducting personal research and gathering information.
  2. Community Forums and Feedback: Through community forums, meaningful discussions on memorialization, scholarships, and economic programs were held, fostering a collective approach toward potential recommendations. These events were designed to engage with the community and gather valuable feedback, which served as the basis for developing preliminary recommendations around the Commission's charge.
  3. Preliminary Recommendations: By transcribing and analyzing community feedback, along with the insights gained from extensive research and engagement, the Commission formulated preliminary recommendations, which were presented at VCU's Board of Visitors meeting in May 2023. (View the BOV Gabriel Presentation)
  4. Validation and Input: To ensure inclusivity and effectiveness, additional forums were held in summer 2023 to validate, prioritize, and gather further input on the recommendations.
  5. Operational Planning and Workgroups: Following the validation of community recommendations, four workgroups, comprising members from VCU, VCU Health System, community churches and organizations, and local community representatives, were established. These workgroups were dedicated to developing strategies for implementing recommendations related to memorialization and identification, scholarships, and community programs.

Final Recommendations

Grounded in the extensive research conducted by Dr. Peter Wosh and Jodi Koste, the Commission convened for twelve meetings and organized five community forums between January and July 2023. After transcribing and analyzing the feedback received from the community, the Commission developed preliminary recommendations. To ensure the utmost inclusivity and effectiveness, additional forums were conducted in summer of 2023 to validate, prioritize, and obtain further input on these recommendations.

These recommendations signify VCU’s commitment to reconciliation, community engagement, and the betterment of the university as an institution and a national model. The final recommendations and supporting strategies are presented below.

In addition to the recommendations outlined to support the State legislation, the Commission has identified several critical activities that need to be enacted to support Project Gabriel going forward.