n 1825, when classes were first held in the Rotunda and the Pavilions, Mr. Jefferson (nearly 82 years old at the time, and embarked on the last great adventure of his
life) expressed the hope that his new University would prove "a blessing to my own state, and not unuseful perhaps to some others." In the past year, his University has
proved a blessing not only to Virginia, but to the world.
In ways that strike me as imaginative and remarkably selfless, students and faculty members work continually to make the world a better place—designing sustainable
housing, developing non-invasive surgical techniques, revealing the link between poverty and disease, preserving our cultural heritage, creating works of art that
challenge us to face difficult issues. Their efforts stem from the conviction that with the gift of learning comes the obligation to apply what we know to serve the
One faculty member recently observed that the University is a place where rigorous scholarship addresses the sort of problems that dog our days and haunt our dreams
at night. This observation seems right and profound to me as I look back on a year in which members of this community received two Rhodes Scholarships, a MacArthur
Fellowship, and even a Nobel Prize—the first held by one of our faculty since William Faulkner walked the Grounds nearly five decades ago. These achieve ments reflect
the deep desire in our students and faculty members to confront problems that others find intractable. Their drive and determination benefit each of us.
John T. Casteen III, President
By vigorously addressing the needs of a global society, we fulfill one principal goal of the Virginia 2020 planning process. Indeed, we are making significant headway
in all of the Virginia 2020 areas, as this report makes clear. To elevate programs in science and technology, we have made the first of ten planned appointments of
world-class researchers and begun construction of new laboratory space for the medical sciences. In the effort to create an ideal environment for the arts, we are
completing the makeover of Fayerweather Hall for art history, moving forward on construction of Ruffin Hall for studio art, and planning the museum and concert
hall—the center for the arts—that will form a new gateway to the University. Tracking the Virginia 2020 report on international initiatives, we are expanding
study-abroad offerings, bringing diplomats and other distinguished leaders to the Grounds, developing collaborative research programs with universities worldwide,
and (through membership in the global consortium known as Universitas 21) using new technologies to extend further our programs around the world.
Developments in Richmond this past year will enable us to sustain such achievements with greater efficiency and accountability. The Restructured Higher Education
Financial and Administrative Operations Act of 2005, passed by sizeable majorities in both houses of the General Assembly and signed into law by Governor Mark Warner,
redefines in historic ways the relationship between the University and the Commonwealth it serves. It acknowledges that excellence matters in Virginia’s public colleges
and universities and that the functions of higher education that work best are those regulated least. For the first time in two generations, the state Code affirms what
Jefferson intended in our founding statute of 1819: that the Board of Visitors conducts its affairs as a public corporation with the authority to own and manage its
assets; to manage its personnel, procurement, and real estate functions without pointless intrusions; and to determine the charges made to students. With this measure,
the University will be better able to protect the public interest in higher education, even under the recent political custom of minimal state financial support for the
public colleges and universities, support that now accounts for a bare 8 percent of our revenues.
Jefferson argued powerfully that knowledge should not belong only to persons of wealth or privilege in a republic and that freedom depends on the promulgation of
knowledge among all the people. The prices charged to students have been matters of special concern in this era after the states, including Virginia, elected to transfer
costs from the general tax funds to students and their families. Recognizing this, the Board of Visitors has worked to ensure that these costs pose no barrier to education
here at the University. AccessUVa, the innovative financial aid plan introduced in 2003–04, has grown this year so that students from families with annual incomes below
200 percent of the federal poverty level (about $37,700 for a family of four) receive grants covering the full cost of attending the University. In the fall of 2005, 201
first-year students met the criteria for a loan-free education, almost triple the number who entered in 2004. As peer institutions strive to remove financial hurdles
faced by their students, AccessUVa provides an example worth following. I have met the extraordinary young women and men who are benefiting from this program. Each has
an inspiring story to tell. Each has overcome obstacles that others would find daunting. Their faith in the value of learning and their refusal to let hardships defer
their dreams are inspiring.
Much of the University’s vitality in our time derives from its integrity in dealing with even the hardest issues, among them lingering racism and discrimination
against those who were historically denied place or respect in universities of our kind. William B. Harvey, who joined us this year as the first vice president and
chief officer for diversity and equity, shares our commitment to making the University an inclusive and supportive community for all who work, live, and study here.
The arrival of Mr. Harvey, who has served for the past five years as vice president of the Center for Advancement of Racial and Ethnic Equity at the American Council
on Education, fulfills a key recommendation of the President’s Commission on Diversity and Equity, which issued its report in October 2004.
For progress toward these and many other goals, we owe a debt of gratitude to our Board of Visitors. Through their actions and advocacy, the Visitors have taken the
University in bold new directions while upholding the values that define its quality and character. We are fortunate that Gordon Rainey (College ’62, Law ’67), who
stepped down after a wonderfully effective term as Rector, has agreed to head our new campaign. As chair of the Campaign Executive Committee, he is leading a
distinguished body of alumni, parents, and friends in an endeavor that will position us where we belong—in the company of the world’s best universities. Now in
its nucleus phase, the campaign has already raised more than $850 million toward an anticipated $3 billion goal.
As we celebrated achievements this year, we also celebrated anniversaries. The Curry School of Education, created by a visionary president, Edwin Alderman,
observed its centennial. The Darden Graduate School of Business Administration and the University’s College at Wise, the legacy of another visionary president,
Colgate Darden, both marked their fiftieth anniversaries. Madison House, the organization through which thousands of students engage in volunteer service,
turned thirty-five. The Miller Center of Public Affairs is celebrating thirty years of shedding light on the American presidency. The Jefferson Scholars Program,
which has brought us some of our most capable student leaders, is now a quarter-century old. Today, each of these schools and programs is thriving, and each adds
immeasurably to the blessings Mr. Jefferson hoped his University would provide.
JOHN T. CASTEEN, III