September 30, 2023

UMW Dean of Student Life Named ‘Living Legacy’

University of Mary Washington Associate Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Student Life Cedric Rucker was awarded the Richmond Public Schools (RPS) Living Legacy distinction Friday, April 29. He was recognized as an inspirational leader who exemplifies an extraordinary life.

C. Rucker

Cedric Rucker

Rucker was honored along with a handful of other alumni of Richmond Public Schools (RPS), including former NFL linebacker Willie Lanier and retired Virginia Senator Henry L. Marsh. All the recipients were described as “giants” in their fields.

“RPS prepared us to work hard, and to imagine a world anew,” said Rucker, reflecting on his journey within the Richmond Public School system, and specifically his alma mater, John Marshall High School.

He cited his parents and his grandparents as inspirational foundations, and he pointed to UMW alumni in the audience as “innovative leaders” whom he leaves as his legacy.

“We stand on the shoulders of those who came before us,” he added, “and we have a responsibility to uplift the next generation.”

Known for his infectious laugh and brightly-colored bow tie collection, Rucker ’81 has spent more than three decades at Mary Washington. He started out as the school’s first residential African-American male student.  After earning his masters at U.Va., and filling a brief stint there as assistant dean of admissions, he returned to UMW. He is a highly visible and beloved administrator, as well as teacher of sociology classes.

The annual Living Legacy program, now in its fifth year, is presented by the Richmond Public Schools Education Foundation, a nonprofit organization that partners with the school district to improve student learning and achievement in preparation for success in college, career and community.

For more information about the award, visit


  1. Jessica McGraw says

    Congratulations! Such wonderful news. Keep making the world beautiful Dean Rucker! UMW is lucky to have you. 🙂