Ask Sam Kaufman, '99, University of Richmond Alumni Association (URAA) president, what makes UR special, and he can sum it up in one word: uniqueness.

“UR is a place unto itself,” said Kaufman. “Not many universities can boast about being academically elite while also having top-notch athletics programs. Richmond is also becoming increasingly diverse, bringing in more students of color, international students and students who are the first in their families to attend college. How can we not be proud of all of this?”

Harnessing all of that Spider pride to lead the URAA, Kaufman will focus his presidency on engaging alumni and current students. In addition to attending Homecoming and Reunion, Kaufman encourages alumni to connect with their regional alumni group or become involved in the Alumni Recruitment Committee to help promote the University to prospective students.

“Alumni should also be thinking of ways they can encourage their companies or organizations to hire Spiders or offer internships to students,” he said. “We have alumni all over the world, and the Spider network is only as strong as we make it.”

By encouraging alumni to become involved with the University, Kaufman hopes to remind them  about their time at Richmond and what made it so special. For Kaufman, a former Spider football player, his memories all tie back to people.

“My best friends to this day are my teammates from the football team, and it seems like every day with those guys was an adventure,” he said. “And the opportunities I had as a Leadership Studies major were extraordinary - I got to meet Cornel West and General Schwarzkopf.”

Kaufman credits his time at UR with preparing him for life after college, allowing him to learn to balance work and play in a safe, nurturing environment.

“Those four years at Richmond are the only time in life when you can explore all manners of academic discipline, sports and social/cultural activities while making friends from all corners of the world,” he said. “I encourage students to take advantage of it all.”

Filled with fond memories and energized by his fellow alumni, Kaufman looks forward to the year ahead and to working with the University’s leadership during an exciting time on campus.

“The University has adopted a vision that will continue to make UR the most unique place of higher learning in the world,” he said. “The Richmond Promise keeps in place all that is great about UR, while at the same time propelling us forward in ways that are truly transformational.  It is a great time to be a Spider!”

To learn more and get involved, visit alumni.richmond.edu.

Kaufman is a partner with Owen & Owens PLC in Midlothian, Va. A Virginia Super Lawyers “Rising Star,” he is the past chair of the Chesterfield Chamber of Commerce. Kaufman previously served the University as co-chair of the annual fund.