May 26-June 8, 2000
Vol. 30, Issue 19
Back Issues
Students and families jubilant at U.Va. commencement
U.Va. MERCI Project recovers $18 million in medical supplies
U.Va.'s 2000-2001 holiday schedule

Ronald Taylor named Inventor of the Year

University of Virginia scientists who have won patents since Jan. 1, 1999
'The need is overwhelming': Law student takes lead in providing volunteer services
Machinist grinds out long career, piece by piece
Lacrosse team celebrates Finals a day late
In Memoriam
U.Va. CMC Telethon set for June 3 and 4
Flanagan leaving the University
Notable - awards and achievements of faculty and staff
Hot Links - Electronic Text Center
A new library exhibit aims to delight the child in all of us
New pay plan employee information sessions

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graduating students
Peggy Harrison
Graduating students gather on the north side of the Rotunda around Thomas Jefferson¹s statue before processing down the Lawn. (Trees obscure University Avenue in the background.)

Students and families jubilant at U.Va. commencement

By Nancy Hurrelbrinck

A few snapshots of Finals 2000:

A graduate hefts a huge sign that says, "Loretta Is Right Here."

An usher lifts a blue rope so a white-haired woman in a wheelchair can scoot under it, her gold lame bag swinging gaily behind her.

"Well there was a bald head ..." mutters a man trying, like many parents, to take a photograph of a graduate without other people in it, despite the crowd of 30,000 on the Lawn.

Balloons of all shapes and colors bob above the sea of black mortarboards -- a butterfly, a silver crescent moon, a bunch of M&Ms, dozens with the Labor Action Group's trademark $8 sign.

A loud, deliberate Spanish voice wafts by -- a woman translating the program for her mother.

Hearing his school called during the ceremony, a graduate shakes his fist in the air, then reaches up to straighten his tassel.

Blessed with a cool, gray morning that turned sunny just after the ceremony, 4,437 graduates processed down the Lawn May 21 for U.Va.'s 171st graduation. Besides the throng on the Lawn, over 600 people watched the ceremony from four remote locations, such as Newcomb Theater.

University Rector John P. Ackerly III introduced the guest speaker, Nasdaq president Alfred R. Berkeley III, who graduated in 1966 and recently confessed to having placed a cow on the roof of the Rotunda in 1965. (Students mooed upon hearing this.)

Berkeley touted the "knowledge explosion" that has made people throughout the world more interconnected, thereby creating "a proliferation of free markets."

He said the world needs groundbreaking research like that done on computers and genetics in the 1960s that have made the Internet and advances in genetic engineering possible today.

"Nasdaq is benefiting from the explosion of knowledge through the creation of new companies," he said. "There is no other country like ours that will let an entrepreneur with an idea come forward and get public money to put that idea to the test."

He also stressed the importance of basic education.

"We have a crisis in this country that we're not educating a large percentage of our population," he said, adding that an essential body of knowledge needs to be taught nationwide and praising English professor E.D. Hirsch's Core Knowledge Foundation.

Berkeley ended his brief speech by exhorting graduates to "get involved," and become advocates for basic research and education.

"I don't want you to take advantage of opportunities without having a concomitant sense of obligation," he said. Full story.

U.Va. MERCI Project recovers $18 million in medical supplies

By Catherine Seigerman

When U.Va. nurse Helen French completed her first inventory of trash in the 19 operating rooms at the Medical Center in 1992, she discovered "gold" -- dozens of clean, unused medical supplies, such as surgical gloves, face masks, gauze and sutures. They were being incinerated along with the used supplies.

"People thought that everything in an OR was infectious. What I saw were all these clean supplies that were unwrapped but never used," said French, who has spent 11 of her 26 years as an operating room nurse at U.Va. As a result, French founded the Medical Equipment Recovery of Clean Inventory Project at U.Va., which donates the clean, unused medical supplies to charities. Recently the project's donation total surpassed $18 million worth of recovered supplies.

"MERCI has provided more than 80 tons of recovered supplies to humanitarian missions," she said. Full story.


© Copyright 2000 by the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia

Managing Editor
Anne Bromley

Online Web Editor
Karen Asher

Staff Writers
Rebecca Arrington
Dan Heuchert
Nancy Hurrelbrinck

Robert Brickhouse
Charlotte Crystal
Catherine Seigerman
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