Dec. 14, 2001-Jan. 10, 2002
Vol. 31, Issue 40
Back Issues
‘Let there be light’
Casteen assesses state budget
Executives talk about the heart of leadership
Nurses convene congress to strengthen their voice

African-American Affairs office has charted successful, 25-year course

Building community: Peer advisors offer support
Take our Advice ... Tips for office security over the holidays
No quick fix for Virginia
Tuition assistance and reimbursement requests due soon
New Faces -- Top posts to be filled at U.Va.-Wise
Jan. 4 forum: Ask your local legislators
IATH proposals due Jan. 30
Gone but not forgotten
Happy holidays from ’Hooville

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’Let there be light’
Lighting of the Lawn
Photo by Andrew Shurtleff
Thousands of students, staff and faculty gathered Dec. 5 for the University’s first-ever Lighting of the Lawn, initiated by the Class of 2002 in what is hoped to become an annual tradition.

By Matt Kelly

University electrician Ralph Himelrick is retiring with a splash, or maybe a flash.

His last big project, the first-ever Lighting of the Lawn, consisted of stringing 21,600 white light bulbs attached to about two miles of wire around and along the pavilion columns and the top railing of the balconies and balustrades, as well as outlining the pillars at the Rotunda.

Portman Wills honors Ralph Himelrick
2002 Class President Portman Wills (right) honors U.Va. electrician Ralph Himelrick.

The lights were turned on Dec. 5 in an event that included tours of pavilions for students and community members, a performance by the Virginia Gentlemen, and basketball coach Pete Gillen reading a student-written poem about an epic clash between the Grinch and the Cavalier.

Portman Wills, president of the Class of 2002, introduced Himelrick to the crowd, which responded with cheers and sustained applause.

“I was so pleased with all the work and with the crowd’s reaction to Ralph,” Wills said the next day. “I saw Ralph this morning and he was still teary-eyed.”

Wills estimated the crowd at between 5,000 and 6,000, and said he was happy with the mix of students and local people.

Himelrick, 67, has worked for the University for 1312 years, coming here as a union electrician after working a variety of construction jobs in Maryland and Virginia.

“I never had a better job,” he said. “I am so proud to be here. Anyone who has had a job in the real world knows this place is paradise. I leave with a lot of feelings.”

Himelrick said while he supervised the crew putting up the lights, he avoided going over in the evenings when they would test them, so he would see them for the first time the night they were turned on for the public. Himelrick’s crew, primarily Wayne Russell and Shawn Wells, spent two weeks stringing lights on the Lawn.

The project ballooned in the past two to three weeks, starting out as a small event for fourth-year students that expanded to include the entire University community. Full story.





© Copyright 2001 by the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia

News Editing Team

News Publications Editor
Dan Heuchert

News Graphics Editor
Rebecca Arrington

Senior Editor
Anne Bromley

Director, News Services
Carol Wood

News Writing Team

Robert Brickhouse
Charlotte Crystal
Jane Ford
Matt Kelly
Fariss Samarrai

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Karen Asher

Seamane Flanagan
Brianne Jones
Jane Meade-Dean
Catherine Wolz

Send questions or story suggestions to Dan Heuchert or Carol Wood or call 924-7116.

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