The leaders who became presidents of the University of Virginia have not had to be Mr. Jefferson; they have just needed a bit of Mr. Jefferson in them. Whether once a school teacher, a professor, or a governor, each has needed that part of the University’s founder that was dedicated to the principle of universal education. They have all believed in the ability of education to free minds, and they have believed education to be a human right and an obligation of government. Dedicated to the advancement of public education in general, and the public education offered at the University in particular, University presidents and their families lived on Grounds in the growing academical village while professors increasingly moved away. With fewer members of the faculty living among students, the University’s presidents successively became more important as stand-ins for the missing faculty, and Carr’s Hill, an increasingly significant location for community gathering. It was to become, over the years, the eleventh pavilion, in that presidential families served students, faculty, and alumni not only in public places around the Grounds, but in the public places in their own home.
Read more about each of the University of Virginia presidents: