President's Report: 2003-2004 University of Virginia
From the President
Thinking Boldly, Acting Wisely
Leaders for Our Future
University of Virginia
A Commitment to Action
Discoveries That Define Our Times
Models in Medicine and Nursing
University of Virginia
A New Academical Village
One for the Record Books
2004-2005 Financial Report
University of Virginia
Leaders for Our Future
Our students have never been more diverse or more gifted or more committed to the common good.

Since 1819, the University has fufilled its founder’s expectation of being a national institution, drawing students from every state as the country expanded.Today the University’s reach extends around the globe, and the diversity of talented young women and men now tempted by the cup of knowledge at Virginia goes well beyond geography.

The Class of 2008, which moved into the first-year residence halls this fall, reflects the student body’s geographic, demographic, and academic breadth. Virginians make up 67 percent of the undergraduate class, which also includes students from Korea, China,Turkey, India, and Canada, among other countries. African American students and black students of other nationalities make up 10 percent of the 3,096 new students who enrolled this year, up from 9 percent last year. The percentage of Asian, Asian American, Hispanic, and Latino students also increased.

Sean Patrick Thomas

Actor Sean Patrick Thomas (College '92) is raising national awareness of AccessUVA.
These students are as academically gifted as they are diverse. The combined SAT scores of the middle 50 percent of the entering class ranged from 1,250 to 1,430, an increase of ten points on each end of the spectrum over the previous entering class. Eighty-three percent of incoming students ranked in the top 10 percent of their high school classes. Now that we have drawn these extraordinary young people into our community, we bear a great responsibility.We must provide them with abundant opportunities for developing their intellects and their leadership abilities, as well as a nurturing and welcoming environment that respects and celebrates the tapestry of backgrounds and heritages they represent. We also must ensure that they have the means to take full advantage of all that is now before them.

This year the Board of Visitors unveiled AccessUVA, an unprecedented financial-aid program designed to keep a University education affordable for all students who qualify for admission. The board has committed $17.9 million annually to the program, which will address the needs not only of low-income students, but also of those from middleincome families increasingly squeezed by rising tuitions and other costs resulting from decreased state support.

AccessUVA provides loan-free financial-aid packages for students with the greatest need (those whose family incomes are 200 percent of the federal poverty level or lower), and it places a cap on need-based loans for middle-income students who qualify for financial aid, making up the difference with grants. Under this limit, no baccalaureate student will graduate with a debt burden greater than one year’s total in-state cost of attending the University, this year about $16,000. Simply put, AccessUVA is one of the most far-reaching financial aid programs on any public campus in the United States.

With its emphasis on grants and limited loans, AccessUVA will enable all students to take an active role in extracurricular and leadership opportunities and will give them greater freedom to pursue graduate study or public service careers. The University has mounted a national awareness campaign for the program, with actor Sean Patrick Thomas (College ’92) generously contributing his talents as spokesperson. Known for his roles in such films as Save the Last Dance and Barbershop, he benefited from need-based aid as he pursued his drama degree at the University.

The class of 2008 joins a student body noteworthy for its intellectual curiosity, personal initiative, and commitment to the public good. These qualities are clearly evident in the students who won prestigious scholarships this year. David Buckley (College ’04) will enter a year of graduate study at Queen’s University Belfast as a George J. Mitchell Scholar. A Jefferson Scholar, Mr. Buckley majored in political and social thought and international relations, with a minor in religious studies. The second Mitchell Scholar from the University in as many years, he will study comparative ethnic conflict.

Kurt E. Mitman (College ’04) will pursue a master’s degree in physics at Oxford as the sixth Marshall Scholar from the University. An Echols Scholar and the winner of a Goldwater Scholarship, Mr. Mitman received a Harrison Research Award to investigate the neural basis of cognition. He was also a Lawn resident and a member of the University Guides.

Marshall Scholarship winner Kurt Mitman

Marshall Scholarship winner Kurt Mitman worked with neurosurgery professor William B. Levy, at right, to explore the neural basis of cognition.
Third-year student Markus Weisner received a Truman Scholarship, a federal award for students who plan to pursue a career in government or public service. A systems and information engineering major, Mr.Weisner received $30,000 to complete his undergraduate studies and to pursue graduate study and leadership training.

Young Women Leaders

In elementary school, girls believe they can be anything they wish, but by middle school they begin to lose confidence. Unattainable body ideals projected by the media can be particularly harmful. Peer pressure can lead to unfortunate lifestyle choices, such as drug and alcohol abuse. To combat these problems, the Women’s Center and the Curry School of Education developed the Young Women Leaders Program, which matches middle-school girls with college-age mentors.

Since it was established in 1997, the program has trained more than 550 University women to nurture competence and leadership potential in adolescent girls from area schools, many from minority backgrounds. The program has been so successful that seven other universities have adopted it, most recently historically black Fisk University. With gifts from the Alcoa Foundation, Scott McDonald (McIntire ’86, ’90), and other donors, the Women’s Center recently developed a new space for the program, equipping it with computers and other learning resources.

Women's Center

At the Women’s Center, student mentors boost confidence in adolescent girls.
Four more students received Goldwater Scholarships for study in mathematics, science, and engineering. Bringing to forty the number of University students to receive the award, they are Brenda N. Goguen, a third-year double major in biochemistry and biology; Arsalan Tavakoli-Shiraji, a third-year double major in computer science and economics; Margaret E. Samra, a third-year Jefferson Scholar with a double major in biology and Latin American studies; and Yogesh Surendranath, a second-year double major in biochemistry and physics. Each will receive up to $7,500.

Gregory Smith, who enrolled in the University in 2003 as a 13-year-old graduate student, was named to the Hall of Fame for Caring Americans, receiving a $2,000 scholarship. He is founder of International Youth Advocates.

Typically the preserve of faculty members and their graduate assistants, research has become an integral part of undergraduate education at the University. Undergraduate researchers work side-by-side with some of the University’s most distinguished faculty, conducting sustained, indepth investigations of complex problems under rigorous standards. In the School of Engineering and Applied Science, research for the fourth-year thesis has been a key component of engineering education at the University since Dean William M. Thornton introduced the requirement a century ago. The best of this work is recognized each year in the school’s Undergraduate Research and Design Symposium. The symposium’s most recent first-place winner was Neda Cvijetic (Engineering ’04), whose research focused on overcoming the "last mile" problem, when data carried by fiber-optic networks hit traffic jams just before reaching homes and offices. She examined the pros and cons of using pulsed laser arrays rather than wires and cables to bypass these snarls.

To encourage students across the University to engage in academic inquiry, the College of Arts and Sciences created the Center for Undergraduate Excellence, or CUE. In addition to helping students identify faculty mentors and develop research proposals, CUE administers a number of funding programs, including the new Double ’Hoo Research Awards. Distributed for the first time in April, the awards support pairs of undergraduate and graduate students who work jointly on a research topic. The eight winning projects range from archaeological investigations of Roman Britain and southern Benin to experiments involving tungsten dearomatization reagents.

CUE also oversees the Harrison Research Awards. Launched in 1999 with a gift from the late David A. Harrison III (College ’39, Law ’41), the Harrison Research Awards today are sustained through the generosity of his family. In 2003–2004, they provided a total of $160,000 for forty-three student projects.With nearly a third requiring work in a foreign country and 25 percent involving community service, the projects are helping to fulfill key Virginia 2020 goals.

Wynn Lei Nyane

With a Harrison Research Award, Wynn Lei Nyane revealed the plight of displaced Burmese children in Thailand.
Edward Benson (Engineering ’05), a computer science major and Jefferson Scholar, received a Harrison award for his project "Video Surveillance and the Privacy Arms Race." His study took him to London and Washington, D.C., where he interviewed police officers, government officials, store owners, and people on the street. Using maps of several camera networks, he also took walking tours to experience the effects of video surveillance in everyday life. Wynn Lei Nyane (College ’04), a native of the former Burma, used a Harrison award to document the plight of displaced Burmese children in Thailand, where they suffer from squalid living conditions, lack of food, and woefully inadequate health care and education.

As it fosters a superb undergraduate experience, the University is working to enrich graduate life in comparable ways. Graduate students are vital partners in the academic enterprise, and by increasing funds for fellowships and graduate services, we will improve the University’s teaching and research programs. Expanding our capacity to recruit the best graduate students enhances our ability to retain the best faculty, who in turn raise the University’s stature and its ability to compete for the most promising students, both graduate and undergraduate.

Montana McCormick

Curry graduate student Montana McCormick conducts research on adolescent literacy and has refined literacy instruction for preschoolers.
With fellowships provided by generous benefactors, graduate students are making their mark in every academic discipline at the University. Ross Altheimer, who received the Architecture School’s Nix Travel Fellowship, explored more than 500 kilometers of subterranean Paris for his thesis, which focuses on ruptures caused by old quarry spaces beneath the 14th Arrondissement. Montana McCormick, who received the Curry School’s Jean R. Butcher Fellowship, supervises student teachers and conducts research on adolescent literacy. She also is helping refine the University’s Phonological Awareness Literacy Screening (PALS) pilot program for preschoolers. PALS is a screening tool used by 98 percent of school districts in Virginia to assess reading problems.

Rob Stevens, the William Ballard, Jr., Fellow in mechanical engineering, uses lasers to study microscale heat transfer, measuring resistance to the flow of energy at the interface of two heated materials. Creative writing student Nick Taylor is using an award from the William R. Kenan, Jr., Endowment to conduct research for his short-fiction series, 52 East Lawn: Stories from the Academical Village, told through the eyes of students who occupied the same Lawn room at different points in the University’s history.

Jeffrey Corwin

Faculty such as Jeffrey Corwin, left, an expert on the restoration of hearing loss, routinely work with undergraduates in their labs.
The University consistently ranks among the top producers of Peace Corps volunteers, with more than seventy alumni now serving in foreign posts. This reflects the long tradition of public service in our student culture. The most visible manifestation of this volunteer spirit is Madison House, the organization that channels student energy into programs that benefit the community. This past year, Madison House volunteers worked at some 120 sites, ranging from area schools to migrant camps. In all, they touched the lives of 17,000 individuals.

The ethic of public service is deeply inculcated in the Law School, where students lend their aid in such programs as the Volunteer Income Tax Association. Participants help lowincome citizens prepare their taxes, ensuring that they receive all the credits and deductions to which they are entitled. Reaching across international boundaries, members of Nursing Students Without Borders are raising funds to build a clinic in El Salvador, and the students who formed a chapter of Engineering Students Without Borders traveled on environmental service missions to Mexico and southern Africa. These students are applying what they learn in the classroom to realworld problems around the globe.


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