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The Pace Center is an inclusive, multicultural, VCU community. Pace is a place where students feel their unique stories and gifts are valued. As a collaborative ministry of the United Methodist, Episcopalian, Presbyterian (USA), United Church of Christ, and Lutheran Church, we believe all are created to live in deep relationship with one another, not in isolation. We also believe every individual has been created with infinite value and an important role to play in their community. 


Our Mission

to equip and empower servant leaders

Our Vision

A Christ-shaped body where students help build community by discovering their purpose, others' purposes, and by establishing a life rhythm that enables that purpose to thrive.

Our Values

As a ministry of the United Methodist Church, Pace believes The Kingdom of God is a reality to be experienced by all. It facilitates this with an emphasis on the following values:

  • Every individual is created with infinite value and lives more fully in the Kingdom when they are empowered to use their gifts to help their communities thrive.

  • All are created to live in deep relationships with one another, not in isolation.

How do we build community?

Pace uses an Asset Based Community Development (ABCD) strategy to develop communities at VCU where people’s gifts are valued. ABCD builds on the assets that are already found in the student community and mobilizes individuals to come together to build on their assets instead of concentrating on what students need. VCU students do this by first identifying the assets of their community through a series of listening interviews. Once they discover the assets and passions of their diverse community, individuals are matched with people or groups who have an interest or passion in that asset. For example, many students love cooking and cuisine. A group of students who enjoy cooking might come together to make a weekly meal. The key is to use the gifts that VCU students possess to create student-led programming and build a stronger, deeper VCU community where students hold the power.

here's how pace students describe ABCD:




Pace’s semester-long Fellowship program is designed to foster community leaders. Pace Fellows devote 6-10 hours/week to the program and receive training in strengths-based community development practices, learning how to uplift the strengths of others. Through listening surveys, Fellows discover the dreams, passions, and gifts of other VCU students. They work with interested students to develop programs that bring those strengths to life, including open-mic night, mindful art projects, serving at food pantries, Community Cafe, and many other projects. 


By leading student teams, Fellows learn communication skills, problem-solving, project management, how to delegate based on strengths, time management, and working with people from diverse backgrounds. Pace’s Fellows are primed to enter the professional workforce and have the tools necessary to build community in Richmond and beyond.


Pace’s Mentorship Program helps students explore their desired career path, by connecting with professionals in the Richmond community. Pace mentors help guide students' professional and civic aspirations and enhance their networks. In 2020, more than 30% of VCU students were the first in their families to attend college and 32% qualified for Pell Grant funding. Low-income and first-generation college students obtain strong first jobs and enter graduate school at much lower rates than other students. Research shows building social capital is a key element in helping students make the most of their college education. 


The Mentorship Program relies on partnerships with local churches, Rotary clubs, and other community groups to provide mentors who have experience and networks throughout Richmond. Mentors help students access networks that might otherwise be unreachable to Pace’s significant population of first-generation and low-income students.  


Student Circles provide an intentional space for holistic care and an opportunity for students to develop a relationship with a non-student adult who they can rely upon for guidance and support as they navigate college life. Student Circles enlists the help of qualified adult volunteers who have prior training in working with students and diverse populations. These Circle leaders meet for one hour each week with a small group of dedicated students in the Pace community. 


Many VCU students fail to develop a connection with a VCU professor or advisor that they can turn to for guidance. In 2020, more than 30% of VCU students were the first in their families to attend college. Academic and socioeconomic factors, exacerbated by the pandemic, can plague students from this demographic and lead to increased dropout rates. By introducing students to a welcoming, experienced adult and a supportive peer group, Pace provides an intentional community that can be used for help and advice.



keeping pace

Sign up for our newsletter to find out how students are building community at VCU and beyond!

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At the Pace Center we have always strived to be an open and affirming community for people of all religions, genders, cultures, sexualities, and backgrounds. It is our fundamental belief that God's grace and love is available to all and we affirm that all people are valued children of God with no exceptions.



OUr Staff


Rev. Katherine Gooch


Rev. Katie B. Gooch (she/her) is the Director and Campus Minister of The Pace Center. She is an ordained pastor in the United Methodist Church and has a passion for setting the stage for relationships and community to thrive. Prior to Pace, Katie B. served as the Executive Pastor of Reveille United Methodist Church. During seminary, she served as a hospital chaplain at Duke University and as a pastor in both Durham and Mamers, North Carolina. In an earlier life, Katie B. was a communications consultant in Washington D.C. and a Division I field hockey player. She is originally from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma but has grown to love Richmond!


Jean Linnell

Associate Director

Jean Linnell (she/her) is the Associate Director at Pace, working in the background to ensure everything runs smoothly.  Jean has a degree in Environmental Studies from VCU and is interested in farming, food, and community.  She is constantly amazed by people’s ability to unite and create. Jean currently serves on the board fo the Friends of the James River Park - a nonprofit dedicated to protecting, conserving, and enhancing the James River Park system in Richmond. 


Rev. Russ Kerr

Student Engagement Coordinator

Russ Kerr (last name, “car”) (he/him) serves as the Student Development and Engagement Coordinator. He is an ordained P.C.(USA) teaching elder (minister). He has served congregations in North Carolina, Virginia, and Tennessee. He is a graduate of Emory & Henry College and Union Presbyterian Seminary. His first degree (and love) was theatre. He is passionate about community building, storytelling, and unlocking creativity. On the weekends you can find him somewhere outdoors and/or with a good book in his hand.

Our Board


Selma Ait-Bella


VCU Student


Rev. Matt Bates


Personnel Committee (Chair)

Centenary United Methodist Church, Senior Pastor

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Bailey Blake


VCU Student

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Page Bradford


Property Committee

Trinity United Methodist Church (Richmond)

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Erin-Marie Brown


Strategic Planning and Evaluation Committee

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Kevin Bruny


Nominations and 

Governance Committee,
Strategic Planning and Evaluation Committee

Reveille United Methodist Church

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Carolyn Center


Fundraising Committee (Chair)

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Susan Custer


District Superintendent

Woodlake United Methodist Church


John Fuller


Board Treasurer,
Finance Committee (Chair)

Good Shepherd United Methodist Church

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Samantha Haines


VCU Alumni

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Rev. Alan Layman


Nominations and Governance Committee (Chair)

Trinity United Methodist Church (Chester), Senior Pastor


D'Arcy Mays


Board Chair,
Personnel and Finance Committee

St. Andrew's United Methodist Church


Tobi Ojo


VCU Student


Lynn Pelco


Strategic Planning and Evaluation

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Elizabeth Roderick


Property Committee (Chair),
Nominations and Governance Committee

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Leigh Anne Ross


Fundraising Committee

Reveille United Methodist Church

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Rachel Zahradka


VCU Student,

Strategic Planning and Evaluation Committee

Tabernacle Baptist Church



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700 West Franklin Street 

Richmond, VA 23220


PO Box 5161

Richmond, VA 23220


We are located across from Monroe Park, next door to Brandt and Rhoads Halls.


Tel: 804-658-4064



Franklin Street: free parking (3 hr max)


Pine Street: metered parking (Mon-Sat 8 am - 8 pm)  $2/ hr (3 hr max)

West Main Street Parking Deck: $2/ hr ($16 max)

QQ Lot: $2/ hr ($16 max)

Yellow Lines indicate streets to park on 

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