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President's Report: 2004-2005 University of Virginia
From the President
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University of Virginia
Seeking Challenges, Serving Others

By virtue of the education they receive, students at the University of Virginia feel a deep obligation to use their remarkable talents and abilities for the public good. Furthermore, they are driven to break new intellectual and creative ground, both in the classroom and through independent work. The results are reflected in the many With imagination and commitment, our students make their mark on Grounds and around the world. honors they received this year for their personal and academic achievements.

Learning through Service

For the seventh time in its history, the University has produced two Rhodes Scholars in the same year. Meghan E. Sullivan (College ’05) and Justin B. Mutter (College ’03) both won the opportunity to study at the University of Oxford. They bring the number of Rhodes Scholarship recipients from the University to forty-five, the highest total for any state institution in America.

A Jefferson Scholar and chair of the Honor Committee, Ms. Sullivan is continuing her studies in philosophy at Oxford’s Balliol College. As an undergraduate, she used a Harrison Research Award to travel to Belfast, Northern Ireland, where she studied the impact of restorative justice groups that seek to achieve restitution for victims and reconciliation between victims and offenders in cases of antisocial behavior. She also

Justin Mutter Meghan Sullivan

Justin Mutter (shown with his goddaughter in Haiti) and Meghan Sullivan were among the thirty-two new Rhodes Scholars chosen to study at the University of Oxford.
served as a volunteer for the Legal Aid and Justice Center in Charlottesville.

Mr. Mutter, who majored in modern studies and religious studies, moved to Haiti after taking his degree. Working in a rural hospital operated by Partners in Health, he was involved in numerous projects aimed at alleviating the severe poverty at the root of health problems in Haiti, particularly the spread of HIV infection and tuberculosis. Also a student at Oxford’s Balliol College, he is pursuing advanced studies in political theology.

Jonathan L. Robbins (College ’05), who will spend a year in Asia as the winner of a Luce Scholarship, shares Mr. Mutter’s interest in global health and the

Rotunda

Rotunda, 2004. From an Arts 271 class taught by Richard Crozier, McIntire Department of Art.
international AIDS crisis. When he was fifteen years old, he visited a South African AIDS clinic with his father, a counseling psychologist. That experience made an indelible impression, inspiring Mr. Robbins to learn more about the barriers to adequate health care in the developing world. With support from the University’s Center for Global Health and Institute for Practical Ethics, he spent a summer in Botswana studying community home-based care for HIV-infected patients. He also was one of two delegates from the University to the World Student Summit Society and Health Committee in Singapore, and he founded Student Interpreter Services, which trains undergraduates as clinical interpreters in Spanish for the U.Va. Medical Center.

While working as a volunteer for the Charlottesville Fire Department, Markus Weisner (Engineering ’05) discovered an interest in improving fire safety and in improving the tools firefighters use on the job. A systems and information engineering major, he founded the Association of Student Firefighters at the University and started his own business, Fire Hardware LLC, to market firefighting equipment of his own design. These activities helped earn him a George J. Mitchell Scholarship from the U.S.-Ireland Alliance, with which he will pursue graduate study at Trinity College in Dublin. He is the third University student in consecutive years to receive the Mitchell Scholarship and one of only twelve Americans to win the honor this year. Mr. Weisner, who also won a 2004 Truman Scholarship, took time off from the University to work for DaimlerChrysler in Germany and later spent a semester at the Universität Konstanz, where he took all of his systems engineering classes in German.

Some of the most promising service opportunities involve collaborations with organizations off Grounds. Thanks to a new pro bono partnership between the School of Law and the firm of Hunton & Williams LLP, volunteer lawyers and law students will work together to provide free legal services to low-income residents in the Charlottesville area. Some twenty law students will take part in the initiative. Another case in point is the EcoMOD project, a collaboration that involves the School of Architecture, the School of Engineering and Applied Science, and the Piedmont Housing Alliance of Charlottesville. With the guidance of assistant professor John Quale, students and faculty are working together to design and construct inexpensive and compact modular homes that minimize damage to the environment and appreciate in value. The first house was placed in Charlottesville’s Fifeville neighborhood to expand the community’s affordable housing stock.

Learning through Discovery

Catherine S. Neale (College ’06) has found her University experience so absorbing that she intends to make her career in higher education. Winner of a

Catherine Neale

Catherine Neale, the twenty-fourth Truman Scholar in the University’s history, will pursue a career in higher education and law.
Truman Scholarship, awarded to exceptional young leaders committed to careers in government or the nonprofit sector, the fourth-year history and American studies major plans to attend law school in preparation for a career as a legal scholar and college administrator. Eventually, she hopes to become a university president. As the 2005–06 student representative on the Board of Visitors, she is gaining an insider’s view of the workings of a top public university. She also has delved into its past. With a grant from the William R. Kenan, Jr., Endowment Fund for the Academical Village, Ms. Neale researched the role of enslaved persons in the construction of the University’s original buildings and examined their positions in the everyday functioning of life on Grounds.

Ms. Neale is among the growing number of undergraduates who are complementing their coursework by pursuing independent scholarship. An estimated 50 percent of undergraduates take part in some form of research; many present their work during Research Week, an April event that features workshops, panel discussions, and "fireside chats" with faculty at the Charles L. Brown Science and Engineering Library. This year the University also hosted an international conference on undergraduate research, sponsored by Universitas 21, a consortium of leading research universities in ten countries. Undergraduates from around the world came to Charlottesville to discuss their work and to forge connections with their peers. As a result, five University of


Sharon Davis

Taking a Global View of Women's Issues

Twelve students traveled with Sharon Davie, director of the University’s Women’s Center, in June to join the 2,000 participants in the Ninth International Interdisciplinary Congress on Women. Assigned to interview prominent activists among the delegates, the students explored such topics as violence against women, the rights of women workers, and the economic realties for women in both the developed and developing worlds.

Virginia undergraduates were invited to participate in a special two-week Universitas 21 summer seminar, "Sustainable Development of a Global Society," hosted by Lund University in Sweden.

More than 100 students applied this past year for the Harrison Undergraduate Research Awards, which provide $160,000 annually for independent scholarship. Made possible by the family of the late Mary A. Harrison and David A. Harrison III (College ’39, Law ’41), the award enables a student to work one-on-one with a faculty mentor on a complex research problem. The forty-three projects funded this year ranged from neuroscience ("Differential Innervation in the Anterior Olfactory Nucleus") to philosophy ("The Externalist Reply to Skepticism") to political and social thought ("Resettling Refugees after 9/11").

The quality of the University’s research programs at the undergraduate level also is evident in the number of Goldwater Scholars chosen each year. Given to students in science, mathematics, and engineering who intend to pursue careers in these fields, this year’s Goldwater Scholarships were awarded to students selected from a field of 1,091 nominees nationwide. Beth I. Brenner (College ’06), James M. Edwards (College ’06), and William C. Yang (Engineering ’06) received 2005–06 Goldwater Scholarships, which brings the number of Goldwater winners at the University since 1989 to forty-two.

Learning through the Arts

Anne Reynolds Holt (College ’06), winner of a Beinecke Scholarship for graduate study, is an impresario in the making. With the assistance of faculty in the drama, history, English, and music departments, she has fashioned an interdisciplinary major in dramaturgy, the study of the theater as a historical, cultural, and literary force. And she has taken every opportunity to go beyond coursework to immerse herself in the field. Co-founder of the Opera Club at the University, Ms. Holt worked on two projects as a research assistant for Marita McClymonds, professor emeritus of music. One was a study of eighteenth-century librettist Mattia Verazi; the other was a definitive score of an eighteenth-century Italian opera, La Schiava Liberata (The Freed Slave) by Nicollo Jommelli. She also directed a production of Henry Purcell’s opera Dido and Aeneas at Wilson Commons in Garrett Hall.

Learning through Dialogue

One of the most powerful tools for breaking down the barriers that divide us as a society is conversation. University students have been using this tool through an organization known as Sustained Dialogue, which promotes the structured exchange of viewpoints as a way of addressing racial tensions and similarly difficult issues. In the four years since the first Sustained Dialogue group formed at the University, students have created twenty others for carrying on such exchanges, including one devoted to Arab-Jewish dialogue. This year, the University hosted the second annual Sustained Dialogue conference, which brought student leaders from seventeen other schools to the Grounds to share their experiences and learn how to make the Sustained Dialogue process even more effective.

building for our future

McGregor Room

The renovated McGregor Room offers students a comfortable new place for reading and study in Alderman Library.
COMPLETED THIS YEAR

It’s not their parents’ cafeteria, where the food preparation (and perhaps the food itself) was often

Observatory Hill

Catherine Neale, the twenty-fourth Truman Scholar in the University’s history, will pursue a career in higher education and law.
mysterious. For today’s students, the all-new Observatory Hill Dining Hall offers seven state-of-the-art food stations, with open kitchens in full view of the diners. An area called Center Stage, for example, features a shiny copper exhaust hood over the cooking station and presents a changing menu of entrees. With its multistory dining areas, the $23.5 million facility holds 905 seats indoors and 204 seats on an outdoor terrace with mountain views.

The McGregor Room in Alderman Library has been transformed into one the most inviting places to study on Grounds. Built in 1939 to house the Tracy W. McGregor Library, the McGregor Room was kept dark to protect the rare books and manuscripts on display there. With the opening of the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library last year, the room could be restored to its former warmth and grandeur. The walnut paneling and parquet floors were refinished, the furniture was reconditioned, and the shutters removed to bring in daylight. Now the room is filled with beautiful carpets, comfortable seating, wide tables, and students, who have flocked to the space. The renovation was made possible by a $200,000 grant from the Detroit-based McGregor Fund.

IN DESIGN

Built in the 1960s to accommodate growing enrollment, the Alderman Road and Observatory Hill dormitories are showing their age. Plans call for replacing the structures in phases to avoid creating a shortage in student housing. In Phase I, two dormitories will be constructed in the area, making it possible to begin removing the older structures.

 

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