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Tomorrow is graduation day for students at the VCU Brandcenter. One hundred of them will stride down the aisle as their name is called. They’ll take their diplomas and walk past a gauntlet of faculty, stopping to shake hands, hug and sometimes cry.

Brandcenter students will be surrounded by the truly important people in their lives. Fathers and mothers, sisters, brothers, friends and lovers. People who care about them. People who know the greatness and goodness they are capable of.

The Brandcenter faculty in the front of the room can be counted among these well-wishers. They’ve spent years sharing everything they know and demanding everything our students can give.

Like the families and friends in the audience, our professors have become important people to the students. In my years at the Brandcenter I’ve watched our faculty give their best for each student. A part of every day is spent out of sight of the students, conferring about their strengths, weaknesses, triumphs and tragedies. Our faculty talk about how to renew the energy of those who’ve become weary, how to inspire the uninspired, how to deliver worthy challenges and worthwhile critiques.

For Brandcenter faculty, there are few things more rewarding than seeing our students walk across that stage, confident in their abilities and well on their way to successful careers. So if you’re attending the graduation ceremony, take a moment to greet the faculty and staff behind the Brandcenter’s important work.

VCU Brandcenter’s full time professors. (click to enlarge)

Don Just is back on the cover of the Business Section. The VCU Brandcenter professor looks quite comfortable on the business pages in his in a crisp sport coat and starched white shirt. Don started his career in banking, back when bankers were conservative with their money and their politics. Mid-career, he unexpectedly left his post as a leader of one of the most respected banks in the region and passed on a job as president of Circuit City to join an emerging ad firm, The Martin Agency.

Don’s move must have seemed reckless at the time, but today we might think of him as prescient, since both the bank (which became Wachovia) and Circuit City are no more and The Martin Agency is thriving. Fortunately for students, Don Just left the agency after helping grow it to a nationally respected firm. He has become a fixture at the VCU Brandcenter, where he teaches students the business of advertising and creative brand management.

Here’s the article by Louis LLovio of the Richmond Times Dispatch: http://www2.timesdispatch.com/rtd/business/local/metrobusiness/article/COVR21_20091220-180402/312661/