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UVA Finals 2012: A Time to Celebrate and Remember

May 25, 2012

Dear colleagues in the University Community:

We enjoyed postcard-perfect weather in Charlottesville for graduation last weekend. Students and proud parents basked in the sunshine as we awarded 6,411 degrees to our graduating students. The Class of 2012 includes recipients of Truman, Goldwater, and Carnegie scholarships, as well as 19 Harrison Undergraduate Research Awards, 10 Undergraduate Awards for Arts Projects, seven Double-Hoo Research Awards, and three Critical Language Scholarships from the U.S. State Department. These individual awards are indicative of the broad achievement of the Class of 2012. We also had two extraordinary members of our alumnae speak at graduation -- Katie Couric at Final Exercises and Val Ackerman at Valedictory Exercises. You can click on this link (http://www.virginia.edu/majorevents/finals/archives/2012/) to listen to their remarks and to view a slide show of images from graduation, in addition to perusing a full archive of video, audio, and news chronicling the weekend's events.

As we say farewell to this year's graduating students, we look forward to welcoming the Class of 2016 in the fall. The entering first-year class promises to be as distinguished as the Class of 2012. Our admitted students are some of the brightest in the nation. About 96 percent of them are in the top 10 percent of their high school classes, and they have an average combined score of 1,395 out of a possible 1,600 on the math and verbal sections of the SAT. Those scores are the highest ever for admitted students here, which means fall's entering class will be the best-qualified in University history.

Even with the academic year drawing to a finish, essential work goes on here. At the time of this writing, I am preparing to leave on my first international trip on behalf of the University with stops in Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai, and Singapore. On this trip I will be joined by deans, faculty, staff, and students who will be in the region this summer teaching and working, and I will visit partner universities, meet with government officials, and participate in receptions for alumni, students, and parents in each of the four cities on the itinerary. Through this trip we will enhance the teaching, learning, research, and engagement capacities of the University while building U.Va.'s brand awareness in a region that has become increasingly important in the global economy. We will return from Asia just in time for Class Reunions on the weekend of May 31-June 3. Reunions weekend is always a festive time in Charlottesville, as alumni and their families of various ages return to re-connect with old friends and make new ones.

These two back-to-back events--our trip to Asia and Reunions Weekend--are characteristic of the University's dual position in the 21st century. U.Va. is both global and local, both vigorously engaged with the world and intensely connected to its origins in Thomas Jefferson's buildings and Grounds, as well as his founding ideals. In this global century, we will reach out to every corner of the world, but we will never lose our sense of place.

Faculty and staff of the University allow us to pursue our aspirations through your daily support and personal commitment. I am grateful to all of you for all that you do to sustain and strengthen the University, and I send my very best wishes as you make plans for summer vacations with families and friends.

Teresa Sullivan
President, University of Virginia