New welcome mat rolled out
for graduate students
by Andrew Shurtleff
Dean of African-American
Affairs Sylvia Terry (far left) assists U.Va. graduate
students during a resource fair Aug. 26. The event was part
of the first-ever University-wide graduate student orientation
By Matt Kelly
became family day Aug. 26 as children sat in strollers and crawled
on the floor of Newcomb Hall Ballroom while their parents
newly arrived graduate and professional students gathered
information about local services at a resource fair.
is the first thing weve been to, and its been very
helpful and convenient, said law student Jonathan Cannon,
who carried his 17-month-old daughter, Bryn, on his arm.
schools and departments have traditionally conducted their own
graduate-student orientation, this marks the first year the University
has offered an institution-wide orientation specifically geared
toward graduate and professional students. The orientation provided
information on child care, spouses employment and financial
aid issues, as well as receptions to meet other graduate students.
ballroom was abuzz as students and their families moved from station
to station, registering to vote, filling out motor vehicle paperwork
and collecting information about University services and activities.
thought it was useful to get all the paperwork in one place,
said Sophia Coudenhove, wife of first-year law student Jeremy
Weinberg. Im trying to get a drivers license
and its nice not to have to go to the DMV.
Laurie D. Casteen, a graduate student and assistant director of
the Office of Orientation and New Student Programs, was happy
with the turnout.
There has been a steady stream since the doors opened,
she said. The DMV had a ton of people picking up forms and
ITC had nonstop traffic.
student orientation opened Aug. 25 with University President John
T. Casteen III and other University officials welcoming about
130 graduate students during a short session in Old Cabell Hall.
He offered a brief history of the University and how Thomas Jeffersons
devotion to useful science played a role in creating
also cited a darker side of U.Va.s history the struggle
to admit women
you come from another state or another country, let me emphasize
that the struggle to open the University, the legal struggles,
the personal struggles involved in those lawsuits, have a fundamental
place in the history of this institution and also the history
of American education, he said.
urged the students to be serious about their time at the University.
sense of graduate education is that it reflects a decision you
made about the life you want to lead and the type of person you
want to be, and I cant imagine a half-hearted way to do
that, he said. So I urge you to throw yourself into
it heart and soul.
Casteen, R. Ariel Gomez, vice president for research and graduate
studies, spoke about research opportunities at U.Va.
way of life you have chosen is to become a discoverer of knowledge,
a generator of new knowledge, Gomez said. In doing
so, you become a continuing learner. A researcher is a student
who cannot find the answers in a book, so he has to discover it
for himself and in doing so, creates new knowledge.
Hark, a fourth-year doctoral student at the Curry School of Education,
said he wished the general orientation had been in place when
he started his graduate work.
think it is important to hear from the president that we are welcome
and valued, he said.