Finals Weekend Special Edition
Students Lead Us’
The Class of 2004 arrived at the University of Virginia in August
2000 at a pivotal time in world history.
The new millennium had arrived only eight months earlier, and
these incoming students were excited by the potential inherent
in attending this exceptional
institution and in the promise of the new century itself.
Little did any of us know that only 13 months later, on Sept.
11, 2001, their excitement would be replaced by disbelief
as agents of terror claimed thousands
of lives, toppled national landmarks, and damaged the physical heart of our
Before many of our students had finished their morning cups
of coffee that day, their sense of the world they would
soon inherit as educated adults
and irrevocably changed.
Another group of students might have hidden behind the serpentine
walls of the University, and understandably so.
But not this group. The Class of 2004 stepped forward, showing
their courage and their determination to effect change.
During their time here, they boldly owned the institution,
leading the discussion on diversity, equity, sexual health
and education. They
ivory tower to critically examine the world stage, raising our awareness
that affect all of humankind, such as the plight of Burmese refugees
and the victims of war in Iraq. They challenged our stereotypes about
and disability through their accomplishments. In short, they taught
as well as they
In 1819, Thomas Jefferson wrote a letter to Judge Spencer Roane,
a Virginia statesman involved in selecting Charlottesville as the
of the University
He wrote, “The generation now in place … are wiser than we were,
and their successors will be wiser than they.”
This timeless truth is particularly apt of the multicultural,
multigenerational kaleidoscope of women and men who are
pictured here and profiled
on the following pages. They not only leave a remarkable legacy
come after them,
but they set a standard to which all of us can aspire.