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Class of 2015 Joins the University Family

On the third weekend in August, our students and their families traveled from their homes across the Commonwealth, around the nation, and all over the world, converging on Charlottesville for opening weekend of the fall semester. This is always an occasion of great joy and promise for the coming year.

Our students are among the nation's brightest and highest-achieving young people. Although they could have gone to any college or university of their choosing, they chose to come here. Many of them make this decision because of the distinctive qualities that define the student experience at the University of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson designed the Academical Village to create a culture of shared learning and collaboration among professors and students. These close connections still define life and learning here today.

In addition, our students participate in long-standing systems of self-governance and honor. On opening weekend, our first-year students sign the University's honor pledge. The pledge is a literal contract, but it is a symbolic promise as well. By signing, our students commit themselves to building a community of trust. This community includes our faculty and staff members, who share the students' commitment to creating a caring community based on common values and mutual responsibility.

U.Va. is a great institution, but it is also a family. Students, parents of students, faculty and staff members, and alumni and friends--together we form a family whose members are scattered far and wide. Many members of our University family faced anxieties and hardships in recent days as the eastern part of the country was struck first by an earthquake and then by a hurricane. I hope that those of you who have been affected by these events have found refuge from the harsh conditions, and that you and your families are safe and well. I am pleased to report that students, faculty, and staff in Charlottesville are fine, and that all of our buildings--including the Rotunda and Academical Village--were unscathed by of the earthquake and the hurricane.

As we start this academic year together, I am grateful for the privilege of serving as president, and I look forward to all that we will accomplish together.

Please click on this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5U5HBCT6hgA to see some images and videos from opening weekend.

Teresa A. Sullivan