On June 5, the MCV Foundation recognized individuals who serve VCU Health through giving hearts and selfless devotion — visionaries who lead quietly but with monumental fortitude.
The foundation’s four annual awards, given in honor of people who have left indelible marks across the health system’s MCV Campus, recognize deserving administrators, faculty, staff and volunteers for their relentless fundraising pursuits and broad impact that uplift and support patient care, research and education in our community and beyond.
This year’s recipients include a tireless advocate for Parkinson’s disease research and care whose efforts changed the scope of neurology care at VCU Health; an administrator described by peers as the strong hub of a complex, spoked wheel; a longtime board member whose fundraising has shaped VCU Health and Massey Cancer Center in bold ways; and a beloved and innovative administrator whose unbridled enthusiasm pushes the MCV Campus to be a national leader in health care for all.
W. ROBERT IRBY, M.D., AWARD
RECIPIENT: ROBERT A. WINN, M.D.
Arriving during a worldwide pandemic in 2020, Rob Winn, M.D., took the helm of VCU Massey Cancer Center with a flourish, immediately instituting changes that helped the cancer center achieve something it had been seeking for decades — designation as a comprehensive cancer center from National Cancer Institute.
Dr. Winn is the director and Lipman chair in Oncology for the cancer center, senior associate dean for cancer innovation, and a professor of pulmonary disease and critical care medicine at the VCU School of Medicine. He is the first African American to lead a cancer center to achieve comprehensive status.
Dr. Winn’s efforts have led to more recruitment of talented researchers and physicians from all over the country, more opportunities for clinical trials, significant increases in grants and funding, and all with an eye toward dismantling health disparities through creating a community-focused health care system that seeks out and treats the most vulnerable patients.
Established in memory of Robert Irby, M.D., an MCV rheumatologist who was devoted to securing financial support for campus, this award is presented to a faculty member who has assisted with major fundraising efforts.
MICHAEL B. DOWDY AWARD
RECIPIENT: CHARLES F. BRYAN JR., Ph.D.
A foundation trustee for 12 years, Charlie Bryan, Ph.D., was instrumental in raising $5 million — which was matched with another $5 million from the VCU School of Medicine — to establish the VCU Parkinson’s and Movement Disorders Center in 2011. His efforts served as a catalyst for changing the landscape of neurological care and research at VCU Health. Dr. Bryan, who suffers from Parkinson’s disease, remains the founder and nucleus of the Movers and Shakers, a group of community partners and donors who share his vision and who collectively have raised millions of dollars that drive life-changing neurological research and patient-focused care at VCU and VCU Health.
Established in honor of Mickey Dowdy, who served as president of the MCV Foundation from 1993 to 2006, this award recognizes a volunteer who has played a lead role in fundraising for the MCV Campus at VCU Health.
DR. EUGENE P. TRANI AWARD
RECIPIENT: CHARLES CRONE
Few associations run as deep as that of Massey Cancer Center and Charles Crone.
He has been an MCV Foundation trustee since 1993 and has served Massey nearly as long as an advisory board member in several leadership roles. Crone, a cancer survivor, and his wife, Ginny, were instrumental in creating a fundraising 5K run in Williamsburg to benefit Massey. Crone is also a founding member of the Massey Club, an annual donor society that celebrated 30 years in 2022.
He conceived and helped launch the MCV Foundation Discovery Series in Williamsburg in 2013, eliciting a new cohort of friends, partners and donors and making it among the most impactful initiatives in recent years.
Established in honor of Eugene P. Trani, Ph.D., who served as president of VCU from 1990 to 2009, this award recognizes exceptional dedication and support of the MCV Campus.
JEROME F. STRAUSS III AWARD
RECIPIENT: JAY BONFILI
Jay Bonfili has been called a connector, a strong hub, a brilliant problem solver and a conduit for organizational effectiveness. Within his role as senior associate vice president for health sciences - finance and administration for the Office of the Senior Vice President for Health Sciences, Bonfili is often the connector among the six health sciences school deans and their respective chief business officers, VCU Health leadership and others. He is a tireless advocate for all who keeps the organizational mission at the heart of every decision.
Bonfili’s expertise spans finance and governance to collaboration and team building. With an innate ability to listen and care about people, he is often called upon to provide invaluable institutional knowledge and steady guidance to leadership when decisions are made about everything from large capital projects to programming and faculty recruitment.
Established in honor of Jerry Strauss, M.D., Ph.D., former dean of the VCU School of Medicine, this award is presented to a VCU administrator, faculty or staff member who has demonstrated extraordinary service and stewardship to MCV Campus alumni, donors or other members of the community to show support and advance the mission of the MCV Foundation.