Finals Weekend Special Edition
One Goal, Many Paths
By Rebecca Pace Arrington
Graduates embark on caring, creative courses
Some 5,000 students will graduate from the University on May 22. Their paths to college were many, but their goal one — to earn a degree from one of the top public universities in the country. Now as they prepare to leave the Grounds, they again share an ultimate goal — making a meaningful mark on the world — and they again will take many paths to achieve this.
A number of students will start careers at such places as IBM, Morgan Stanley, the Foreign Service Institute, Fox News and the Brookings Institution. Others will enter graduate school.
Some students, including physics and education major Heather Welch, recipient of a national science award worth an estimated $50,000, will become teachers.
U.Va. also will send 126 doctors into the field, among them the Class of 2005 Humanism in Medicine Award recipient, Paul McIntosh.
U.Va.’s 157 nursing graduates will help fill the critical shortage of health care providers nationwide. Among them are Randy Jones, who is earning his Ph.D., and Lan-Anh Thi Phan, a Vietnamese immigrant, who mastered English her first year in the States by lugging a 5-pound dictionary with her everywhere she went, and who is today a standout scholar.
Other students who want to give back before starting their careers have signed on with such organizations as Teach for America (21 graduates are participating) and the Peace Corps. The Curry School’s Michael Townes is among this year’s Peace Corps volunteers. He is bound for Jordan, where he will teach for the next two years. U.Va. is No. 1 among schools its size for the number of its students who enter the Peace Corps.
Roughly 360 students will earn J.D. degrees from the Law School. Not all will work for large firms, though. Keva McDonald, who established the school’s chapter of the Innocence Project, which strives to exonerate the wrongfully convicted using DNA evidence, will become a public defender in Washington, D.C., following a Superior Court clerkship.
Some students are budding filmmakers. They include those who produced the documentary, “Rising Up,” about Virginia’s Civil Rights “foot soldiers,” and Burim Jung, a Korean-American drama and art major, who has created several short films.
Other students took a circuitous route to Mr. Jefferson’s University, such as Commerce School transfer student Matt Bulloch. He fought fires and attended two other schools before finding U.Va. While here, he joined the National Guard following the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and took a leave midway through U.Va. when called to duty in Cuba.
There also are those who will put their faith into action: students such as Tyler Tuite, who founded the Nicaraguan Orphan Fund and will stay in Charlottesville another year to get the organization on its feet.
We invite you to read these and other graduates’ stories on the following pages, and to reflect on how life for the Class of 2005 has come full circle: from many paths, to one destination, to many paths again.