Part of the fabric of University life
Three members of the University community — known for their deep, and often
behind-the-scenes commitment to the University — will receive Algernon
Sydney Sullivan Awards at Valediction May 15.
Belue and Justin Steele, both fourth-year students, were nominated by fellow
students, who wrote passionately of their leadership qualities
to touch and change lives. Alice Handy, U.Va.’s recently retired treasurer,
was heralded for her concern for the University’s long-term financial
welfare and her dedication to protecting the institution’s standing
as one of the best in the nation.
Alice Handy never intended to become one of the primary stewards of Thomas
Jefferson’s vision. Helping to keep the University fiscally
sound during some very tough economic times was something that she
Handy joined the University in 1974 as its first investment officer in
the midst of a stock market drop that had taken U.Va.’s endowment from more than
$80 million down to $60 million. She dedicated her career and used her experience
and expertise to guide the University’s endowment into the ranks
of the five largest among public institutions and among the 25 largest
of all colleges
When she stepped down, the endowment had reached a then all-time high
of $1.9 billion.
University President John T. Casteen III has on more than one occasion
credited the success of the University’s endowment to Handy’s
But Handy’s impact on the University community extends far beyond
what she has accomplished as a superb administrator and investor. She
the mission of a public university, most especially this one, and the
passion and allegiance that it inspires, her nominators wrote. She also
has been both
role model and mentor to women colleagues and women students.
may have done more to promote the professional advancement of women at the
University than anyone else,” University Librarian Karin Wittenborg
said. “Her superb intellect, her unparalleled performance, her influence,
her generosity to others with her time and talent, her quiet determination, and
her humility have set the standard — even if few of us can meet
Handy said she was both surprised and touched by the Sullivan
University has played a special role in my life for the past 29 years,
but this year is particularly significant.”
Handy’s daughter, Jenny, will receive her U.Va. degree this weekend.
a fourth-year American Studies major, is known for her compassion and common
sense. Her nomination letters
and enthusiasm for everything she has become involved
in at the University — from
the Lighting of the Lawn, an event she chaired, and the Virginia Belles,
she was president, to Chi Omega and the Inter-Sorority Council, organizations
she helped lead.
Belue also has been an active participant in student
affairs and government, serving as a senior orientation
and as a Class
of 2004 trustee.
Throughout her four years, she has immersed herself
in the life of the University — so
much so, that Belue now plans a career in higher education.
were very pleased when she said she will be pursuing student affairs,” said
Laurie Casteen, assistant director of orientation and new student programs. “She
has maturity and wonderful common sense. Jess is tremendously deserving
of the Sullivan Award.”
Belue credits her mother, a high school guidance counselor
back home in Florence, Ala., as her inspiration. “Watching my mom in action has influenced the
work I want to do in colleges and universities,” she said.
She also credits several faculty members — English professors Steven Cushman
and John Sullivan and religious studies professor Gerald Fogarty, a Jesuit priest — for
helping shape not only her life at U.Va., but her career decisions.
year, Belue will work with a Jesuit volunteer corps in Atlanta
before enrolling in a master’s degree program in education. “It’s a way to do
some challenging things in America,” she said, “and
also meet a community with a faith component.”
Like Belue, Justin Steele has been active in a broad
range of programs — including
the Office of African-American Affairs’ Peer Advisor Program — almost
since his first day on Grounds.
His commitment to improving race relations has
shaped many of his activities, and he has been
one to reach
community at times
when dialogue and understanding were most needed,
those supporting his nomination
said. Steele was someone who brought people
together and promoted the concept of a community of
in 1925, Sullivan Awards are given to distinguished students
community members at a handful of
universities across the country in memory
of the late New York lawyer, businessman and philanthropist,
Algernon Sydney Sullivan, who was said to have “reached
out both hands in constant helpfulness.” After his
death, the New York Southern Society, of which he was president,
the award to perpetuate the excellence of
character and humanitarian service