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VCU hires new vice president for university relations from Florida Southern

VCU hires new vice president for university relations from Florida Southern


Virginia Commonwealth University has hired Grant J. Heston as its vice president for university relations.

Heston comes to Richmond from Florida Southern College, where he was vice president for communications and marketing last year. There he crafted the university’s crisis response plan to handle the pandemic, and he led marketing campaigns to help maintain the school’s enrollment.

From 2007 to 2019, he was the vice president of communications and marketing at the University of Central Florida. He received an undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of Florida and a master’s degree in business administration from the University of Central Florida.

“Grant is an excellent addition to the leadership team at VCU,” university President Michael Rao said in a release. “He brings a wealth of higher education communications leadership experience and strategy, which is essential to strengthen and advance the unmatchable story of the VCU enterprise brand.”

As vice president for university relations, a Cabinet-level position, Heston will be the head of external and internal communication at VCU and VCU Health System.

“Thanks to its commitment to enrolling and graduating students from all backgrounds, VCU is at the vanguard of redefining higher education in America,” Heston said. “With its world-class academic, research and health care enterprises, VCU is leading higher education into the future. For a storyteller like me, there’s no better place to be, and I’m honored to join the university.”

Heston replaces Pamela Lepley, who was promoted to senior adviser to the president. Lepley was vice president for university relations since 2014. Heston begins Monday.

(804) 649-6109

Twitter: @EricKolenich


Eric Kolenich writes about higher education, sports, coronavirus and protests for the Richmond Times-Dispatch. He joined the newspaper in 2009 after graduating from the University of Virginia with a degree in English. (804) 649-6109

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