Our Story

In 1943, MCV Hospital employed its first professional chaplain, The Rev. Dr. George D. Ossman. Fifteen years later, in 1958, The Rev. A. Patrick L. Prest, Jr. was hired to establish an accredited Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) Program. Pat Prest was a visionary who sought to be inclusive. The very first CPE group, in 1959, included George Polk, an African American clergyman, who went on to become a CPE Supervisor. Two years later, Nora Calvert from New Zealand, became the first woman to take CPE at MCV. Since then, the department's commitment to inclusive excellence has been embodied in the selection of faculty, students, and chaplaincy staff.

We were the first CPE Center to integrate a year of CPE into a Master of Science in Patient Counseling so that our advanced CPE students receive both a MS from VCU and CPE units registered with the Association for Clinical Pastoral Education.

The program has benefited from the generosity of benefactors. In 2010, two major endowments were received, creating the Rev. Robert B. Lantz Chair and the Katherine I. Lantz Professorship of Patient Counseling. Other significant endowments include the John and Jessica Loftis Memorial Bereavement Fund (2003), the Alexander F. Tartaglia Scholarship Fund by an anonymous donor (2013), and the Alexander F. Tartaglia Supervisory Education Fund (2014) by Ann Sidney Charlescraft. We are also deeply grateful to the ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation's sponsorship of a Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Chaplain and to the Children's Hospital Foundation for their support of a Pediatric Chaplain.