Special Programs

Lecture Series

These lectures are free and open to members of The Commonwealth Society.

ZOOM Conversations with the Fashion Department: Jackie Mullins, Mrs. Bleick, and Sandy Wilkins

Part 1: Friday, August 28th at 12:00pm

Part 2: Friday, September 18 at 12:00pm

We do hope you can join us for this conversation as we review some familiar and some new-to-you designers. Sandy Wilkins will join us as she and Mrs. Bleick will share details about their time at VCU Q.

Discussion with Rachel Beanland: Tuesday, September 8 at 12:00pm

Please join us on September 8, 2020 at 12PM via ZOOM for a discussion of a recently published debut novel, Florence Adler Swims Forever by its author, Rachel Beanland.


At its core, FLORENCE ADLER SWIMS FOREVER is a brilliant depiction of a bygone era of the Jersey Shore, a great novel of big dreams and loss. Based on a true story of her great-great aunt, and told in the vein of J. Courtney Sullivan’s Saints for All Occasions and Anita Diamant’s The Boston Girl, Beanland’s family saga is a breathtaking portrait of just how far we will go to in order to protect our loved ones and an uplifting portrayal of how the human spirit can endure—and even thrive—after tragedy.


Rachel Beanland writes essays and fiction and is the author of the debut novel, Florence Adler Swims Forever, which was released in July of this year by Simon & Schuster. The book was selected as the Barnes & Noble Book Club pick for July, and was named a Featured Debut by Amazon and an Indie Next pick by the American Booksellers Association. It has appeared on the summer must-read lists of Good Morning America and Parade magazine, and was recently named one of the best books of 2020 by USA Today. Rachel’s essays have appeared in Lit HubBusiness InsiderCreative Nonfiction, and Broad Street, among other places. She has an MFA from Virginia Commonwealth University and lives in Richmond, Virginia with her family.