John McGurl, M’93 (right), hosted the inaugural Medical Student-Alumni Supper Club in April, welcoming a small group of students to his home to enjoy a meal and conversation.
John McGurl, M’93, remembers well the hustle and bustle of medical school. Days (and nights) were filled with studying, exams, rotations, more studying, group meetings, even more studying. So when he had the opportunity to provide a group of current medical students with a little relief (and mentorship), he didn’t hesitate.
This spring, McGurl volunteered to host the School of Medicine’s inaugural Medical Student-Alumni Supper Club in the Richmond home he shares with Michelle Gluck. The event’s concept is simple: small groups of students can sign up to have a meal and conversation with Richmond-area alumni to share ideas, seek career advice and build relationships.
“It was the most fun we’ve had in a long time,” McGurl says. “We loved spending time with the students, learning their backgrounds, hearing what areas of medicine they plan to focus on, and just getting to know them and what medical school is like today.”
Students were also eager to hear about McGurl’s experiences as a doctor — from his medical school and residency days to his current job as an internist at the McGuire Veterans Affairs Medical Center.
“It was a wonderful event and I’m so glad that VCU School of Medicine is helping its students build their professional network, gain exposure to potential mentors and engage us to be more willing to give back to our school in the future,” one student attendee shared in a post-event survey.
Designed for first- and second-year students, the inaugural supper club’s 10 available slots filled within 24 hours of the invitation’s delivery. Afterward, 100 percent of the students who attended the event said they would like to attend another supper club in the future.
McGurl would be happy to welcome them. “I’d love to host more events like this soon,” he says. “I would have had another one the next day.” The event lasted well past its 8 p.m. end time as the group continued to share stories, some even about life outside of medicine.
“Alumni play a significant role in the student experience,” says Thomas Maness, M.P.A., the medical school’s associate dean for development and alumni affairs. “Connecting with current students and providing valuable guidance can help shape the careers and lives of future fellow graduates.”
The Medical Student-Alumni Supper Club is a unique opportunity for alumni to engage with their alma mater.
Supper Club events can be held in alumni homes or at local venues near the MCV Campus. Medical school staff will assist with all of the arrangements to make hosting easy and convenient.
To be part of the Medical Student-Alumni Supper Club, contact the Office of Development and Alumni Relations at (804) 828-4800 or MedAlum@vcu.edu.
Just stopping in town for a visit? Development and alumni relations also can help alumni schedule tours of the MCV Campus or connect with students.
By Polly Roberts