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2018-19 Annual Report



"The shared commitment to work as One Vanderbilt has inspired truly groundbreaking results across every facet of our community. Together, we are creating the knowledge, ideas and future leaders that will drive positive change in the world." Susan R. Wente
Interim Chancellor
Susan R. Wente

Vanderbilt University continues to build upon a strong foundation laid by generations of top-achieving students, renowned faculty, dedicated staff and a supportive community of alumni and friends.

"Together, we have made strides that are as far-reaching as they are cumulative. They build upon each other, layer by layer, to strengthen—and perfect—our foundation for the future." Nicholas S. Zeppos
Chancellor Emeritus
Nicholas S. Zeppos

This report highlights our accomplishments throughout the 2018-19 academic year across a variety of areas, from administrative leadership, learning and discovery to athletic success. Together, our impact can be as far-reaching as the years ahead.

A Foundation for

Vanderbilt is in one of its strongest positions ever, building on a nearly 150-year tradition of excellence that serves the university’s core mission to create and deploy knowledge, ideas and leaders to drive positive change in the world.

In 2018-19, as Vanderbilt re-envisioned and expanded the ways in which students can connect to research, learning and creative expression—demonstrated by launching Immersion Vanderbilt, GlobalVU and other academic initiatives—the university continued to rise in national and international rankings.

Nationally Recognized Excellence


U.S. News & World

In 2018-2019, Vanderbilt received a record 37,310 applications from all 50 states and 135 countries for the 1,600 first-year student spots in the incoming 2019 class.

Financial Aid


Financial Aid

Princeton Review
Best Value


Best Value in
Private Colleges

Green Colleges


Green Colleges

Princeton Review

Excellence in Access and Achievability

Opportunity Vanderbilt, the university’s groundbreaking program to eliminate loans from undergraduate financial aid packages, marked its 10th anniversary in 2018-19. Opportunity Vanderbilt has opened the university’s doors wider than ever to qualified students who are in a position to succeed at Vanderbilt and far beyond.

In the first 10 years of Opportunity Vanderbilt:

$400 million raised
$1.2 billion awarded in scholarships
7,500 gifts to support it
10,000 students supported

Excellence in Financial Strength

$6.3 billion

Vanderbilt's financial strength allows us to make robust, long-term investments to fulfill our mission to drive positive change in the world. The university’s endowment stands at $6.3 billion, with investment returns of 10 percent on an annualized basis over the past three years—one of the highest rates among U.S. universities. This stewardship has helped Vanderbilt achieve bond ratings of AAA/AA+.

Excellence in Sustainability

As part of Vanderbilt's long-term vision for our campus, we have pledged to become carbon neutral—and to power the campus entirely through renewable energy—by 2050.

2050 Pledge

Excellence in University Leadership

In May 2019, Vanderbilt began the search process for the university's ninth chancellor and welcomed new leadership in government relations, legal counsel, athletics, and equity, diversity and inclusion.

Vanderbilt is preparing for a leadership transition on August 15, 2019, when Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos steps down to return to the Law School faculty in fall 2020.

Provost and Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Susan R. Wente will serve as interim chancellor while the Board of Trust conducts a search for the university's next leader.

Nicholas S. Zeppos and Susan R. Wente

More information on the chancellor search

Andre Churchwell

André L. Churchwell, chief diversity officer for Vanderbilt University Medical Center and senior associate dean for diversity affairs in the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, was named the university’s interim vice chancellor for equity, diversity and inclusion and chief university diversity officer.

Nathan Green

Nathan Green, a leading government strategist, became vice chancellor for government and community relations after serving in that role on an interim basis.

Ruby Shellaway

Ruby Z. Shellaway, an experienced attorney who has held top roles in higher education, the federal government and the private sector, was named vice chancellor, general counsel and university secretary after serving in that role on an interim basis.

Malcolm Turner

Malcolm Turner, former president of the NBA’s G League, was appointed vice chancellor for athletics and university affairs and athletics director.

A Foundation for
Diverse Perspectives

By strengthening our commitment to diversity and inclusive excellence, Vanderbilt is widening campus discourse and, in turn, increasing our aptitude for understanding and discovery.

In 2018-19, Vanderbilt admitted one of the most diverse first-year classes in our history. The university also launched numerous initiatives around diversity and inclusive excellence that will benefit our entire community for many years to come.

A Changing Community

As Vanderbilt's student population has become more diverse, the university's impact on research, innovation and the community has also grown.


of entering first-year class in 2018 were minorities


of first-year students in 2018-19 received Pell Grants, a robust indicator of economic diversity

Pivotal Moments in Vanderbilt History

Our community has come together in 2018-19 to celebrate critical progress and honor key milestones in Vanderbilt history. A few examples include:

Launched the Women’s Initiative

Developed the Provost's Women's Initiative and the Women's Steering Committee for Staff

Unveiled the first round of Trailblazer portraits


and announced a second round of Trailblazers to be honored.

30 Years

of Posse Scholars

A Foundation for
Campus Planning

The development of Vanderbilt's physical spaces marks our commitment to sustainability, accessibility and human connectivity—both on campus and across our wider community.

"Future" is the operative word in FutureVU, Vanderbilt's holistic planning vision for developing initiatives on our campus that, in alignment with the Academic Strategic Plan, will systematically evaluate our spaces and how our community will use them over the next 20 to 30 years.

Expanding the Residential College Model

The success of our residential colleges, a core component of the Academic Strategic Plan, is extending to reach even more Vanderbilt students.

E. Bronson Ingram College opened its doors at the beginning of the academic year with a dedication ceremony in October.

E Bronson Ingram

New Academic Spaces

Vanderbilt School of Nursing debuted its renovation in 2019 and became Nashville's first WELL-certified building.


A Foundation for

Fueled by our goal to drive positive change, Vanderbilt continues to find new opportunities to engage with the Nashville community, our peers at other academic institutions and thought leaders from around the world.

Just as Vanderbilt is strengthened by the support of our neighboring communities, our university's strides in research, immersion and campus programming have improved the world around us. Vanderbilt has a major economic footprint in Tennessee.

Economic Impact

Economic Activity

$9.5 Billion

in Economic Activity

Labor Impact

$3.8 Billion

in Labor Impact




Thought Leaders at Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt brought new perspectives to Nashville by welcoming a stellar and diverse cadre of speakers to the campus in 2018-19, through student-led initiatives, academic programs and the Chancellor's Lecture Series.

George W. Bush

George W. Bush
Chancellor's Lecture Series

Anita Hill

Anita Hill
Vanderbilt Student Government

Siddhartha Mukherjee

Siddhartha Mukherjee
Chancellor's Lecture Series

Temple Grandin

Temple Grandin
Chancellor's Lecture Series

Ta-Nehisi Coates

Ta-Nehisi Coates
Impact Symposium

Stacey Abrams

Stacey Abrams
Chancellor's Lecture Series

Venus Williams

Venus Williams
Nichols-Chancellor's Medalist and Senior Day Speaker

Michael Hayden

Michael Hayden
Chancellor's Lecture Series

Mae Jemison

Mae Jemison
Chancellor's Lecture Series

Abby Wambach

Abby Wambach
Impact Symposium

Entrepreneurship and Innovation

The Wond'ry

awarded title of Outstanding Emerging Entrepreneurship Center

David Owens

David Owens was announced as the new Evans Family Executive Director of the Wond'ry.

A Foundation for

Thanks to the generosity of the Vanderbilt community, the university's fundraising and financial outlook remain vibrant.

The university has built a strong foundation from which it continues investing for the future through scholarship support, graduate education and faculty fellowships. The generosity of alumni, faculty, staff, students and other donors has made each of these opportunities viable and laid the groundwork for many future generations of further growth and success.

Philanthropic Spirit

Amount Raised


Amount Raised
FY 2018-19



Raised at the 2018 Reunion

Alumni Events


Donors in 2018-19

MORE THAN 8,200 members of the VU community gave $9.4 million on Giving Day 2019, an increase of more than $3 million compared to last year.

Scholarship and Student Support

Vanderbilt celebrated new milestones in 2018-19, in terms of both generous giving and the visionary support it has provided to students, faculty, staff and campus facilities.

10th anniversary

of Opportunity Vanderbilt

Vanderbilt celebrated 10 years of Opportunity Vanderbilt,
a landmark in the transformation of the university’s philanthropic efforts.

25th anniversary

Ingram Scholars Program

$25 Million

gift from the Lee and Ramona Bass Foundation to establish the Bass Military Scholars Program

$12.75 Million

gift from former Vanderbilt Board of Trust chairman Mark Dalton, JD'75, and his family to support the Law and Business program at Vanderbilt Law School

$10 Million

gift from Jennifer R. Frist, BS'93, and husband William R. "Billy" Frist to endow the Frist Center for Autism and Innovation in the School of Engineering

A Foundation for

At Vanderbilt, academic excellence, scholarship and creative expression are synonymous with working together—in the classroom, across departments and with other institutions—toward the goal of driving positive change in the world.


Most Innovative Universities

Reuters – 2017, 2018

Vanderbilt is always looking ahead to new approaches, partnerships and areas of discovery. As one of America's leading research universities, Vanderbilt is uniquely positioned to approach discovery from innovative, cross-disciplinary angles.


Chancellor Zeppos was elected chair of the board of directors for the Association of American Universities.

Milestones in Research, Scholarship and Creative Expression

The Academic Strategic Plan continued to drive Vanderbilt’s unique student experience, research strategies, faculty development and trans-institutional scholarship in 2018-19.

Launch of the Data Science Institute

Launch of the Public Voices Fellows

$25 Million

invested in the Faculty Fellowship Challenge

Five new offerings through University Courses

Development of GlobalVU web portal

Academic Leadership

John Geer

John Geer became dean of the College of Arts and Science.

Chris Guthrie

Chris Guthrie was reappointed dean of Vanderbilt Law School.

Vanessa Beasley

Vanessa Beasley was named vice provost for academic affairs and dean of residential faculty.

Tracey George

Tracey George was named vice provost for faculty affairs.

William Robinson

William H. Robinson was appointed interim vice provost for strategic initiatives.

Holly Tucker

Holly Tucker became the director of Robert Penn Warren Center for the Humanities.

Gianna Mosser

Gianna Mosser was appointed to direct Vanderbilt University Press.

Lisa Monteggia

Lisa Monteggia joined Vanderbilt as the leader of Vanderbilt Brain Institute.

A Foundation for

The Vanderbilt Way—the belief that high-level athletics and academics should thrive together—continues to guide our Commodores' success and bolster pride throughout the university community.

Currently No. 7 among all Division I schools in the NCAA’s Academic Progress Ranking, the Vanderbilt Commodores have seen great success as students and as athletes. Under the leadership of Malcolm Turner, vice chancellor for athletics and university affairs and athletics director, Vanderbilt will continue to win on the scoreboard and in the classroom.

Athletics Championships

Baseball had a storybook season, winning the SEC regular season, the SEC championship and the College World Series national championship

Baseball National Champions

Women's soccer won the SEC regular season championship

Soccer Champions

Commodore Achievements

Jerry Stackhouse

Jerry Stackhouse was hired as men's basketball head coach.

Women's bowling 2019 NCAA championship runner-up

Football selected to play in Texas Bowl

9th bowl game in VU history, 6th bowl game since 2008

Women's tennis competed in its fifth straight NCAA quarterfinals

The Vanderbilt Way

  • Vanderbilt football student-athlete Khari Blasingame was selected as the 2019 Arthur Ashe Jr. Male Athlete of the Year, and senior Kristin Quah earned recognition as the winner for women's bowling from the publication Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.
  • Vanderbilt student-athletes once again achieved a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or above in 2018-19, as they've done for the past 13 years.

All of the successes of 2018-19 were made possible through the support and encouragement of the Vanderbilt community.

These achievements belong to you.