Dec.8, 2000-
Jan. 11, 2001
Back Issues
Arts & Sciences gets $20 million gift
Ernie Ern to bow out with the year 2000
After Hours - Off U.Va.'s clock, surgeon operates as sculptor

Not just small talk about the weather

Religious Studies has multiplied like loaves and fishes at U.Va.
Fogarty part of Vatican's study of pope's role in WWII
Ochs urges Jews to take a fresh look at Christianity
In Memoriam
President's Report now available
Hot Links - "Censored: Wielding the Red Pen"
President John T. Casteen III's Holiday Open House
Notable - awards and achievements of faculty and staff
Lemons' legacy: Wise leader with a personal touch
West's quest: cultural continuance of Native American peoples
Ernest H. Ern
Ernest H. Ern

Ernie Ern to bow out with the year 2000

The University's
changing leadership

By Anne Bromley

Few people have become as beloved in the University community as Ernest H. Ern, whose retirement "is hard for many of us to comprehend," said President John T. Casteen III at Fall Convocation in October. "Like the Lawn and the pavilions and the Rotunda, we thought he would be here forever."

When Ern came to U.Va. almost 40 years ago, the student enrollment was under 5,000. Over his term as vice president of student affairs, that number doubled. When Ern retires in the coming weeks, he leaves a student population of more than 18,000.

"But it's remarkable how the basic fabric of the University has remained strong," he said.

Each job has had its own delights and its own challenges, said Ern, a geologist who joined the environmental sciences department in 1961, was dean of admissions from '67 to '73, then served as vice president for student affairs for 20 years, and was named senior vice president and University Professor in 1993. He has devoted much of the last seven years to working on the Campaign for the University.

Through all of these roles, he focused his efforts upon students and enhancing student life. "Our students are talented and capable. You can turn them loose on projects," said Ern, who has lived on the Lawn for 12 years.

When he and his wife, Petie, took up residence in Pavilion X, "it took about 20 minutes to get acclimated," Ern likes to tell people. "It's been a life-modifying experience to become part of this community. We keep an open-door policy. It's a true village experience that extends your family," said the father of two grown children and five grandchildren.

Ern was interested in the admissions job because he wanted to be involved in the efforts to bring in coeducation and affirmative action. He took on the challenges of enhancing student life as their numbers doubled, and he has found his recent work with alumni "most energizing."

"The devotion of our alumni is unparalleled," Ern said.

Their support has helped the University reach a new level of excellence. To maintain it, U.Va. "has to continue to be innovative and creative" to successfully attract and retain talented students, competing with the top private schools, he said.

Ern plans to shift his creativity to some of his many hobbies: he said he'd like to spend more time gardening and working on antique and classic cars. "I don't plan on slowing down too much, and am truly excited about the next chapter."


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