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Remarks at Family Weekend

John T. Casteen III
October 23 , 1999

I think that almost all of us are in the auditorium now, so I want to say good morning and welcome. I'm John Casteen. I'm the President of the University. Some of you I know are repeaters or recidivists,so let me acknowledge that some of you know about as much about what we're going to do this morning as I know. I have notes that are intended to give you a status report on the condition of the University, some information about educational issues that are alive here. There are some sections of the notes in which I intend to ask, as I have in prior years, for your assistance or for your advice.And then there will be time for comments, for questions, for answers,but to leave that time I've got to move pretty fast through the notes. I could talk about four hours with these notes and my intention is to talk for 30 or 35 minutes, so forgive me for speed and when I finish, there are a lot of people here who can help in responding to everything I don't know that you want to talk about and I don't know exactly when we are to adjourn. It says we adjourn at about11:00 o'clock, so I may run a little beyond 35 minutes with these first remarks.

A number of people have come today to take part in the events. Vice Presidents of the University, a number of our deans, student leaders, persons who have direct dealing with your daughters or sons. I'm not going to try to introduce everyone at the very start, but there are a couple who may be important to you as the day goes on. I've lost sight of Leonard Sandridge who is somewhere up here. There's Leonard Sandridge. Leonard is the University's chief operating officer.He actually oversees all of our financial and business and housing and food and so on operations, so many of the questions that might occur to you in a sense run back to Leonard. The Vice Presidents who are responsible for our computer systems, for student life,for general administration of the University, and for budget and so on work on a daily basis with Leonard, report to Leonard. Others I will introduce as we need to do so. I hope you'll have a chance in the course of the day to talk to the Chair of the Student Honor Committee, to the President of the Student Council, to the Chair of the Judiciary. All of those are here and many others who head other kinds of student organizations.

A word about where we start. This institution, as you know, spends a lot of time meditating on its history. Some of the meditation is more or less valid. A good bit of it is folklore or mythology. To put it differently, a lot of it really ain't so. However, what is so is something like this. Jefferson's notion as an old person was that he could create an institution capable of sustaining the sort of republic that he had worked to build. Now, one of the realities about the modern university is that it is different from the one that Jefferson imagined. It enrolls women. It enrolls African American student and Asian students, students from the continent of Africa and students from all over the world. Essentially every foreign country you could name is represented by at least one student in the student body and some of them by many more students than you might imagine. I can remember a year when we had nine students in the first year class from Malaysia and in recent times six or eight from Turkey has not been an unusual number.

A complicated and very cosmopolitan student body. Complicated further, made more cosmopolitan, by the fact that northern Virginia which is nowadays the source of the lion's share of our in-state students and in-state students generally speaking run to about two-thirds of the student body, but northern Virginia is itself a very fluid community with a lot of movement in and out, with the presence of the World Bank,of diplomatic service families and so on. We have thought that that was a real value, that the conception of a university capable of sustaining a democracy or a republic is extending in some interesting ways when the population of the University begins to resemble the population that it attempts to serve in terms of the backgrounds from which people come and the worlds to which they intend to go.

Students come here to study all sorts of things and my conception of our role in students' lives is that we are to be used, that students make choices, that the choices are important choices to be made by the students, and so we take very seriously the notion that we serve, that teaching is a form of service, that the research we conduct to make our teaching important is itself a form of service,that the public service that we attempt to yield in the way of assisting industries with developing new patents or assisting hospitals with improving the way they manage themselves, that that kind of service is a fundamental part of what the University is all about.

Now,to come back to the issue of your daughter or your son in this picture,we conceive a place that has from its beginning a very high purpose.It has a distinguished history which is part of the education that it offers. Students come here and, like it or not, every single one of them has some sort of confrontation with founding principles.Now, the confrontation can be very very complex. Our students, our faculty, scholars from all over the world, have convened in this room on several occasions to hear the scientific evidence having to do with the kinship between the family of Thomas Jefferson and the family of Sally Hemmings--one of the most significant ways in which science has moved into the area of social history, family structure, our understanding of democracy, of ourselves as a people,one of the most significant events of our lifetime, perhaps of the nation's entire history. Not that anyone claims to have absolute certainty about what happened or didn't happen, but that we've beg unto understand that the way we define ourselves as Americans has to be, on scientific grounds, rethought. That it's time to come to terms with ourselves as complex people and not as a bunch of different people who happen to occupy the same continent.

Now,that part of the process of education has interested me doubly because also in this room at a number of those discussions or debates have been people whose name is Hemming's. Thomas Jefferson does not have descendants whose name is Jefferson, but people whose names are the names of Jefferson's descendants--Shackelford's and others who have come to take part in that discussion because they believe that it is important to come to understand ourselves as a people better.Now, that's education, but it's also something that is here for students to use. People polarize on issues like this. Jefferson argued that in this place we had to allow anything to be said. He said, allow any error to be asserted so long as reason is free to combat it, so whatever the rights and wrongs of an argument, it has been important in this place that students have the chance to confront the complicated issues, to move into the years of adulthood,the years in which they take control of the world that you and I live in on the basis of this complicated confrontation of the hardest things that we know. That, I think, is the modern version, the contemporary version, of a good bit of what was imagined about this place when it began.

The University is bigger in some ways than it used to be. It's bigger in terms of enrollment. It has sprawled to some extent physically.We struggle to get that under control. We're working now on a strategy to try to pull together what we call the North Grounds, the area where the new Darden School and the Law School are. We tried to find ways to encourage traffic back and forth, a complicated sort of issue that's likely, we hope, over time to give students and faculty members an excuse to walk as opposed to riding buses or driving cars. It's not that far away if you have a way to get there.It's a long way away if the route looks like this on the map, but a relatively straight line properly landscaped becomes a very logical way for people walking or on bicycles to travel back and forth.

It's extended in other ways. Our library has become a major center of scholarly publication but in a funny way. Its Electronic Text Center is one of the most important publishing houses in the scholarly world today, but what it does is not publish books of the hard bound type. Instead, it puts materials on line. In particular, raw materials of the kinds that scholars must have in order to get behind whatever was written by Thomas Jefferson, by William Faulkner, or by a scientist working on a particular theorem or whatever. The attempt is to put the raw materials into the hands of students, of scholars, frankly of you. If you want to learn how to get access to that kind of material,your daughter or your son can sit down at a terminal and in about three minutes show you exactly how to do it. There are further tricks if you're not used to using a computer. Tell your daughter or son to bookmark the sites you're interested in and then you have a one click process to get from turning the machine on and wondering what it does to looking at exactly the pages you want to see.

We're expanding abroad. In addition to this electronic expansion, there's physical expansion. As you know, for a number of years our students have studied in places like Spain and Italy, France and so on. This year as in the last three or four years, we're seeing larger numbers of students who study in Asia. I have run into students this fall who tell me that they spent the summer or part of last spring in Africa and not all of them are undergraduates doing the customary third year abroad type of study. Medical students are going to hospitals with which we have affiliations or indeed hospitals we manage in Africa, in South America, and learning something face-to-face about medical realities in other cultures. Nursing students are doing the same sort of thing. Business students are learning what's involved in building free market economies in Eastern Europe by going to Prague and working under faculty direction there, by going to other places of that sort and beginning to have a sense of what their own careers are likely to be as our world becomes increasingly interdependent in an economic sense.

We're working on ways to expand foreign study opportunities. When allis said and done, very fine programs do not attract nearly as many of our students as we think they ought to. I'm told that only about15% of this year's graduating class will have studied abroad in the course of their four years here. My sense is that we ought to do a good bit better, that we ought to push students into new experiences just as we ought to draw them into spaces like this room to look at the hardest realities that science can tell us about. We need also to push them beyond our boundaries, to get them to go to the places where America will have to do business in their time and learn what it takes to cope with foreign cultures.

Internal growth is, I think, in some ways the most satisfying to watch, so let me talk a bit about changes that are in progress. Thanks to a remarkable gift from David Harrison who has been one of the leaders of our Capital Campaign and frankly perhaps the best friend our students ever had because of this concern about the quality of teaching within the University. There are Harrison teaching professorships all over the University that in a way capture the philanthropic view of education that his late wife and he have had. The new Special Collections Library includes a component that is the Harrison Institute and it's an Institute for the study of American civilization. It uses materials from our rare books and manuscripts collections.It uses materials from Mr. Harrison's own collections which are probably the best in the world of the artifacts of the initial confrontations between Native American settlements and incoming English and other settlers. Mr. Harrison has been the sponsor of one of the largest archeological projects that's ever been conducted in early American settlement down at Flower Dew Hundred on the James River which is one of the 1619 settlement sites. The kind of collection, as it rotates out of a museum, Mr. Harrison supports at Flower Dew comes from time to time to us, gets mingled with such things as the original working papers that are related to the drafting of the Declaration of Independence, Madison's correspondence having to do with the shaping of the Constitution, diaries and notebooks that have to do with the experiences of families or individuals at major intervals in the course of our history, or, for that matter, the kinds of documents that the late Willie Lee Rose assembled for her really monumental study of Nat Turner's Rebellion. Those documents, those artifacts, the physical things that people held in their hands,begin to give students a more holistic, probably a more authentic picture of where we came from than they'll ever get from reading a book or simply hearing someone like me do a lecture. We believe that a different kind of education begins to emerge as the Special Collections Library itself becomes a central part of students' education and the Harrison Institute is fundamental to the vision of what we'll do.

In the process of that, we're going to renovate Peabody Hall. That building has had a very peculiar history. I was Dean of Admissions in the late 1970s and I've always thought this was a celebration of my arrival, but in any event, one night someone who was working night duty and didn't like being there or did like being there and was told to move or something--I never got the whole story straight--located a 55 gallon drum of cleaning fluid in the front hall of the building and lit a match and for a number of years the building had an unanticipated skylight that gave an entirely different view of what it was all about. It has been renovated, restored on one occasion since then. A major restoration is anticipated in the next several months.

Miller Hall, the current Admissions Building will come down. A wonderful building in the Tuscan style that Jefferson admired when he designed the Colonnades along the Lawn will become the Harrison Institute.The Small Library, named for Albert Small, a great collector. Albert owns the most significant collection of materials related to the drafting of the Declaration and that becomes part of the library.But the Small Library will be underground. There'll be a huge box dug in the ground in front of Alderman Library starting, I think,next summer. The Library itself will be located well below the surface and the reason for that is that it provides a number of advantages with regard to climate control and that sort of thing for rare or special documents that are there.

I think tomorrow's library is going to have a different look and because the library is very simple to what goes on here, I want to take a second to explain it. On the second floor of the Clemons Library is the undergraduate readers library that's adjacent to Alderman.It's the library back behind the flying man. Underneath that library,in the second floor, is the Robertson Media Center which is the physical site of a new emphasis on what is called Media Studies.If you think about what we mean by media, it's a very fluid term--printed books, hardbound books, are in a sense, media. Television is in various ways media. The media that we use to communicate are elaborate;with digital communications they become visual. They become auditory.If you've seen streaming video on your home computer, you're beginning to see a change that we believe is very fundamental. Moments of time can be captured on streaming video and retained digitally with an ease and with a kind of ease of access that we've never seen before. You don't need a special machine to pull up a streaming video version of some great moment of history. So we intend to teach students how to use those media. We intend to help them not just because we think some may be professionals in the media. Some may.But because we believe that educated people in the future will need to be as adept at using these digital technologies as you and I May or may not be in using books. I've always been more adept at using books that have letters in them than using books that have numbers in them, for example. There will be different levels of command of those technologies but the Robertson Center is where we start. Johanna Drucker, who is one of the leading critics of the media, a real expert on how the media developed, has become Robertson Professor of Modern Media Studies and is herself becoming the human center of the academic enterprise that will be built in and around the Robertson Center on the second floor of the Library.

I mentioned the Electronic Text Center earlier. I have one way to tell you how substantial a factor that is in national life. As you know, people who keep track of the use of computers count hits, that is, how many times did somebody open a page. This year the E Text center is averaging 1.6 million hits per month. The use of what is there is a phenomenally important part of the University's communication with the world and you can measure it quantitatively--1.6 million times people went into that archive.

A number of new academic programs this year, so let's start talking about issues that might involve your daughter or your son in choosing a major. There is a new computer science degree in the School of Engineering that joins the other kinds of degrees, so if your daughter or son is an engineering student with an interest in computers,there are new options. If your daughter or a son is a first or second year student and believes that engineering might be the more appropriate way to pursue a degree, this is the time for your student to walkover to the Engineering School and find out what the new degree program is all about. Transfer is not necessarily easily, especially if students have not taken the tough courses in science and mathematics that match up between the two schools, but for most students who have taken the kinds of courses we recommend, it is within reach so this is the time to explore.

There's also a remarkable new course, Computer Science 112, that's a joint Engineering and College of Arts & Sciences course. We don't have many of those, but it's a joint course designed to promote computer literacy for everybody. To put it differently, it's the kind of course that you or I might like to take so that we could catch up with our children in using computers. It's intended, among other things, to provide a kind of platform or stage on which student scan build in the future. It's a foundation course so it teaches the basic architecture. It teaches the kinds of concepts that one has to understand in order to learn new systems as they come along.

In the College, we are expanding the Environmental Sciences Department. A relatively new creation in the sciences that puts together elements of what we used to call geology and geography, chemistry, biology,physics and begins to provide a basis for students with an interest either in the practice of environmental science or in science policy,in national policy having to do with the environment and so on. A number of important new senior hires in that department, probably our fastest growing science department, but I will explain to you later on in these remarks that we're also looking at the sciences overall because we believe that it's time to make new investments in the science and complementarily in the fine and performing arts because we don't believe that we are at the point of excellence that we should've achieved in those areas.

A number of interdisciplinary programs are emerging. I mentioned the Media Studies Program. There's a new program on Philosophy, Politics and the Law that carries forward a theme that's been in the curriculum for about 25 years, but offers a more formal approach to it. We're implementing an interdisciplinary major program in Jewish studies. There's also an American Studies M.A. in the works. We've gotten interested in the fact that with the loss of the concept of the M.A. as the finishing degree for a person who might seek a broad liberal education before doing something else, we have missed out on or we have failed to provide some of the things that we believe are useful in the culture. When I finished the baccalaureate degree,I earned a master's degree in English, an M.A. I guess to the extent that I would describe myself as having been educated, the M.A. is where most of the educating went on, and then in the 48 hours before exams, but in any event, and sometimes the 24 hours before, but in any event, the M.A. has had a long and very honorable history,not simply as a bridge to the Ph.D. which it has been for some people,but perhaps more significantly as the degree in which we provided a kind of mature finish to the body of knowledge, the techniques and so on, that people learn as undergraduates. This American Studies Program seems to me to be an important step in the direction of testing whether or not we need to reemphasize the M.A. as a credential. Incidentally, that program is combining American studies with study of the computer and it has the purpose of giving students in addition to the academic education a practical background to go to work in the public sector, working for profit or non-profit organizations that are computer-based but also heavily engaged with our culture. I think it's promising.

There are other new degree programs for the first time in our history. There's a structured way for a part-time adult student to earn a baccalaureate degree here. That may seem like a late invention.It is. This has always been a places whose undergraduate students were almost entirely full-time students pursuing degrees in four years. There's also a new program that's a Master of Information Systems program that resembles an executive M.B.A. It's intended to give persons who've completed undergraduate study and perhaps a couple of years of work executive credentials to run high tech companies. We've offering it this year here in Charlottesville.We have every intention of exporting to places where there is area need such as northern Virginia just as soon as the program has a full academic structure. And I should tell you also that we are ready to export the Bachelor of Independent Studies Program to other areas as need develops and it's clear that we can do a good job. We don't intend to compete with other institutions in their home regions, but there are distinctive features of some of our programs that we think do have value elsewhere.

Some words about physical changes within the University. I mentioned the Special Collections Library work. You will see, if you have not seen, that we're doing a good bit of work on the stadium. We've closed in the southern end of it. It's going to be a horseshoe-shaped stadium when it's finished. It'll seat, when it's all done,something above 60,000 people. It will include a parking garage that we hope will relieve a lot of the pressure on our neighborhoods and our streets on football days. At the moment, you can get a good sense of what it will be all about simply by looking at what's there,but give it another six or eight months. It'll be all finished by the time the next season starts unless some disaster happens. Right now it's ahead of schedule. I think that's important for a number of reasons, not least that we come very close to that level of capacity--60,000or so--three, four, sometimes five times a year. I'm struck by the fact that at the moment that's the only facility in the University where if the occasion presents itself the entire student body can gather. It happens to be also the only place we have where a major public event, say a speech by the President of the United States,or to stay in what unhappily is the same category in terms of demand,a performance by the Rolling Stones. That's the venue that we have for such events as that, so it really does need to accommodate people and the horseshoe-shaped end is particularly important. If you think about, bleachers on two sides of a stadium give you half of a setting when you have the kind of major address I was describing or a major concert, let's say, but the horseshoe-shaped end becomes a tremendous asset once you figure out a way to put up the staging and so on. We'll work through that.

We're preparing now the substructure for the second new building in the Alderman Road residential area. We're trying to provide a little bit of shape, if you will, to the exterior spaces over there in addition to adding housing. Authentic House where I hope some of your daughters and sons are housed is our first move toward a new type of residence hall or dormitory that is intended to carry state-of-the-art electronic communications. It's intended to provide a lot more in the way of amenities for group discussions, for special kinds of study spaces. It has a computer laboratory in its basement and soon. Similar in concept to Hereford College which was where we really started this kind of thing, but a much more advanced version of that. The new house that is now beginning will accommodate 140 first year students and we expect to open it next fall, so if you have younger daughter or son, that might be worth remembering.

We're currently housing about 110 first year students in upper class housing. I should tell you that I don't think that works very well if you do it on a random basis. We have found that putting first year students into Brown College or Hereford College which are the two residential colleges that now exist does work very well and we are developing a new international house that will be located where Mary Mumford and Gwathmey House are at the intersection of Emmet Street and University Avenue. I'm hoping the first year students will find their way into that housing area, but we are still working on how to deal with the fact that we seem to stay 100 or 110 students ahead of our real capacity. If your daughter or son is in upper class housing and reports feeling isolated, reports feeling cut off, have her or have him talk to one of the assistant deans in the Office of the Dean of Students or you talk to one of us and let us try to track your student down. I have found instances where a little bit of contact with an adult who could help to link the student up to others has gone a long way toward solving the problems that students report in that kind of housing, and I think you'll find that the deans in particular are very eager to help.

We're expanding the Observatory Hill dining hall. This is a big project that actually goes into the ground in the spring of the year 2000.It'll be completed by August of 2001. I've had occasion to eat over there a couple of times recently. It's a good place to eat. Institutional food, as you know, is eventually food you've seen before if you eat it every day and the students are very generous about telling me when they saw a given dish on the menu most recently, but I would say that the food is actually quite good and I'll say that knowing that students will jump on me. It's much better than Army food [laughter].It's not as good as what my mother used to fix, and that's sort of where you can expect it to be. My sense is that it's a happy dining hall. The expansion is actually an $11.5 million project that'll provide a lot more in the way of special spaces student scan use. I think a much better arrangement for students to be together in a communal setting at meal times. That's part of what we try to do with dining halls.

A little bit about financial matters--the operating budget this year including the Medical Center is about $1.2 billion. That's a lot of money.It has roughly doubled in the course of this decade. The grow this almost entirely in enterprises that are not directly supported by the state of Virginia and the reason is that in the course of this decade, we have been both encouraged by the state and supported by donors, alumni and others, but we've been encouraged to become as nearly self-sufficient as we can be. When I was Virginia's Secretary of Education about 20 years ago, a little less than that, the state provided just under a third of the University's total budget. Now,in a good year, it runs about 13.5%. What has happened is that we've developed other resources, rather dramatic other resources, to take up the slack and I think what we've been able to do is deal with some of the ups and downs in public finance in such a way as to maintain the quality of education despite a lot of pressures. I Don't frankly argue at this point with the state's logic. It's simply the truth that the state decided to reduce what it spends on higher education and did it very dramatically. But it did it a long time ago now--1990 is a long while back and we have learned how to sustain quality and do the work that we intend to do without that sort of support.

The state appropriation this year is about back to where it was 10 years ago. That is unadjusted dollars. It was about $170 million. It's back to about that level. A great deal of that frankly supports things other than instruction--medical issues. It supports Clinch Valley College or the University of Virginia College at Wise in southwest Virginia. The endowment is a little bit hard to estimate partly because the market, as you know, has been bouncing all around.The part that our Board controls is about $1.2 billion and the part controlled by related foundations is estimated most days at between$400 and $500 million. That's beginning to be a large endowment.It was about $400 million when we started the effort to become self-sufficient.Over the course of the decade, we've raised a good bit more than a billion dollars, but in the campaign we've raised at the moment just under a billion dollars. The campaign is largely about supporting academic programs. It's an attempt to raise money for endowments to support faculty salaries, support scholarships, to support improvements in the way students live. It has worked. I'll give you a little more detail as I go along, but I think I can tell you that we're at a kind of turning point where we have learned how to be self-sufficient and the test is to do that, to sustain that kind of effort, while also redoubling efforts to build strength in academic programs that we ourselves acknowledge are not as strong as they ought to be,so there're some areas of-- It's not exactly weakness. It's areas of opportunity we had not seized that we're working to seize and I'll talk about those in a second.

Other measures of what the University is--I'm told that we're now using589 buildings, most of which on a good day I could find. That we occupy 10.6 million gross square feet. Gross square feet means including the hallways and the bathrooms and the stairwells and all that stuff.That's a lot of space. We have 1,100 acres that we are using in the city and the county and then other land that is not under use.One peculiarity of this institution is that we own more historic buildings than any other American university does. It also happens that our buildings were built to somewhat less substantial standards than were the historic buildings in Cambridge or Hanover or other place where colleges do have large numbers of these buildings. Jefferson's buildings were small buildings. They were built, except for the Rotunda, to what I guess you would call a domestic standard of construction as opposed to institutional standards and we do work constantly with rebuilding those buildings. It's part of the process of education,by the way. Students are actively involved in that, but one we're working on right now, the way the pavilions are numbered, the odd numbers are on the west side, the even numbers on the east side. Number seven which is the Colonnade Club, the faculty club, is being gutted and renovated. I noticed the other day that they had not done a good job of covering the front windows so if you walk up there and look through the windows, you can see the work going on.What they've done is stripped the building down to the fabric that Jefferson and his workers built and they're now beginning to build the building back out from the bare structure. We have done now--That's the sixth of the pavilions. Most of the restorations were intended to stabilize buildings. Some of them, such as the restoration of number one and of number five were total restorations of the scale of the one we're doing on number 7, and you can imagine what you learn in the process of doing that kind of work. One thing that's fascinated me is that number five was always dark. Number one was not terribly dark, but we learned with number one which we did before number five that Jefferson had used windows in places where we've used walls. We've allowed people to wall up windows and in two of the pavilions now we've discovered that there were transoms that were half-circle shaped above doorways that were intended to bring light down into rooms that have always been very dark rooms and in a couple of cases, the glass work was actually behind the wall that was built over the glass work. No idea as to why they did that,but we are finding ways to make those houses better for instruction.You recall that classes have been taught in those houses now. Both for instruction and for the lives of the families that are there.It's expensive work. The state does not support our historic renovation work, but we have found very good support from alumni and others.

I mentioned planning for new academic programs. Let we move quickly through this. There is a program that we call Virginia 2020. We're trying to focus on the beginnings of the University's third century which is in the year 2020 and to produce plans that are both long-term,20-year visions of what we ought to accomplish and strategic--three to five year work plans for what we can accomplish if we generate the necessary resources and discipline our work. There are four areas we're working on. The first is the sciences and the technologies.The summary I would offer you is that we've done a very good job of making the campus or the Grounds electronically accessible. The spine cabling is in. The switches are in. The systems work well. Students have access to computing systems that are generally more than adequate in terms of what we now know. Where we have not done a good job is investing in younger faculty, the kinds of dollars they need to start their own programs of research and instruction.We have done a good bit of investing in buildings but not nearly enough. We are gutting and renovating Clark Hall which houses Environmental Sciences in this work cycle. We added a second chemistry building about five years ago. We had a second physics building about the same time. The biology building is, at this point, an ancient building.It was built when I was an undergraduate student and it was not a good building in those days so it's 35 or 40 years old and it needs substantial work. We will need to expand the amount of laboratory space fairly dramatically simply in order to guarantee that new generations of students have access to the very best that can be provided, so over the course of the next 10 years or so the Commission is already telling us we have to make dramatic investments in facilities and in people. Now, I think if you walk through the biology building the conclusion is a no-brainer. Look at the building and imagine what it would cost per square foot to replace it or to modernize it and you begin to get a sense of where we are.

A second commission is looking at the fine and performing arts. I won't play20 questions with you, but if you're asked who is the last important American artist to attend the University of Virginia, the answer to the question is Georgia O'Keefe. She was an illegal student.She came here at a time when women were not allowed to enroll here.She was allowed to enroll because she pretended that she was training to be a school teacher and she could not find adequate instruction elsewhere. She went from here to Amarillo and then on into New Mexico and developed that wonderful kind of color that preceded the beginnings of her shapes. I think it's great that she was here. I think it's awful that it's such a long line since her. We have a tremendous amount of interest on the part of students in drama and music, in painting and sculpture and so on, in architecture, in all sorts of aspects of the fine arts and the performing arts, and we have not provided the facilities.

Our studio building works hard. It is a former gymnasium. We've used pieces of the old geology laboratory studio space, but in the next two or three years you will find us announcing that we are beginning construction. We need to build a major performance hall. This is the largest performance space that we currently have. We need to build first-rate studio facilities so that students who have an interest either in professional art or in art as simply a part of their larger engagement in our culture will be properly served and you simply need to know at this point that we understand the problem and we're working to solve it.

This is a mark I think of something important that's happened within the faculty and the University community in this decade. As you know, through a good bit of the decade, we have been described as American's best public university. We may well still be that. There's some debate about how the numbers work but that may not be quite the point. We don't pretend that we are absolutely excellent in everything. We intend to identify areas where we have not developed or where we can become better at what we do and to work at them constantly.

The third 2020 Commission is working international programs and international studies comparing our student body to Duke's or our student body to Chapel Hill's or our student body to Princeton's or to Penn's.You see very similar numbers in some respects and one thing jumps out. We're sending about 15%, as I said, abroad for some part of their undergraduate education. Other places are sending a third to half of their students abroad. There is something fundamental about learning another culture in the combination of living in the country and studying in the country with proper academic controls that matters as young people grow up. We are not an insular country.We cannot neglect languages any more. We can't neglect international economies. If you have had experience with trading with European community countries in the last decade, you know in all sorts of ways that the rules are totally different. What you and I learned in undergraduate economics classes about foreign trade is not so any more, and so part of our mission is to see to it that students know what is so and that they know how to change as they go through careers that will inevitably bring them into constant contact with other cultures.

And the final area we're working on is public service programs. We're not a land grant college. We've never had the mission with regard to agriculture and industry and so on that, say, Virginia Tech has and fulfills superbly. But we do have tremendous strength with regard to computer science, with regard to biology, especially with regard to environmental science if you look at issues that are current in this region now, and we need to open up those facilities to outside forces. At the same time, you should know that the largest research enterprise is actually in the School of Medicine and we believe that in developing new drugs, in providing new kinds of support for clinical medicine as is actually practiced all over the world,telemedicine and so on, we have a lot of opportunities to do a better job.

Let me move to a few comments about the students. This year there are18,463 of them here in Charlottesville. If your student is a first year student, let me give you a bit of detail about the class of2003. There were 3,000 spaces in the class. There were 17,000 applications;60% of them graduated in the top 5% of their high school class;22% were in the top 1% of the high school class. In the class, there are 213 valedictorians. SATs scores are high. The College Board no longer accepts simply reporting an average as being statistically valid. They insist on a band that represents about one standard deviation as the proper presentation of an SAT score, but in any event, if one wanted to know what the mean is, it's a little over1,300. We had 11 students in this class whose score was 1600; 85who had 800s on the verbal; 98 with 800s on the math. Cultural profile--56%women; 291 of these students, something under 10%, African American students; 355 Asian and Asian American students. Representation of Asian and Asian American has been rising partly reflecting the growing population of Asian and Asian American students in northern Virginia and the representation of African American students was stable for a number of years and has begun to drop somewhat if this year defines a trend. I am concerned about that as I'll mention to you later. We're also seeing slow growth in the number of Hispanic students. There is a population of Hispanic families, especially in Arlington, that is now beginning to have children of college age, so we believe that we will see growth from in-state sources and we have always seen a good flow of Hispanic students who came from the southeast--Florida, especially families with Cuban backgrounds;from Texas, Chicano families; some from California, but we believe that there will be larger numbers of Hispanic students and that they bring some special and very valuable things to the University.

Among other things, the foreign language that students most want to take nowadays is Spanish and they want to take Spanish because they see immediate value in terms of the real world and being able to speak Spanish. Our students are very much aware of the growing economic value or strength of Latin America. They understand the ways in which we have been changed in our economic outlook by the EC's attempt to make Europe itself self-sufficient and so they are looking at other parts of the world--Asia and South America, especially.

It's been a good period for student honors. As you know, we have produced more Rhodes Scholars than any other public university. The current Rhodes Scholar is a young man named Jeffrey David Manns. He's from Winwood, Pennsylvania, a baccalaureate degree in 1998. We have seen student who earned Mellon Fellowships, students who've earned Marshall's,who've earned Truman's, Luce Scholarships and so on. The awards by which the nation, in a sense, marks the top graduates of undergraduate programs, come to students on a regular basis. They go on and they do all sorts of interesting things. They study politics. They study history. They go to law school. They go to business school. One of my favorites spent a period being a traveling evangelist. He was a young man whose family was very much engaged with its church culture and one of the things that he wanted to do was spend sometime preaching and so after his years at Oxford, he turned and did some other things as he began to develop later interests, it'll be [end of side a]

I like that, because they rank the programs not simply on winning and losing and we do okay there, but also on the academic accomplishments of students, on the overall integrity of programs and so on.

The NCAA Woman of the Year is Peggy Boutelier who was an All American Field Hockey and Lacrosse player here. Women's and men's swimming won ACC championships this year. We this year produced our first national champion in men's swimming. Shamek Pietucha is the student and we believe that there are others on the team now who will have similar success in the future.

Some changes in programs and personnel. We developed with leadership from Eleanor Sparagana a new summer orientation program under which I hope some of you've had occasion to come with your daughters orsons this past summer. Our intention is to begin the focus on the work that students do here during the summer and engage families in some of the planning, so we deliberately asked parents to take part in that discussion, partly with the understanding that after students enroll, for most students, the dialogue with family on academic choices grow less and that for many families the last chance to have a formative influence on the way students reason about their lives is in that period when they're choosing their first year courses. Frankly, we are trying to encourage students to perceive their years here as years of work, not because we object to or think we could stop the other parts of student life. Students' social life, frankly,is an important stage of growth, but rather because we believe that some students get lost when we don't provide good guideposts, good orientation, at the beginning and we have discovered that more students thrive if their families understand what they're doing, and feel a sense of participation at the start, and frankly, we think that students do well if you come back to events of this sort, so we see the chance to meet with you on a weekend of this kind as an ongoing process of collaboration with our families.

Penny Rue, our new Dean of Students-- Penny, where are you? Penny came to us from Georgetown University this fall. Penny is in charge of Rugby Road [laughter], but also of other things that actually respond to some leadership. Let me say that I have tremendous respect for the way students run their affairs. That always when you have young people both exercising leadership and learning it, you can expect rough spots and while I will occasionally make a joke about issues involving Rugby Road, if you have not been there, it's the fraternity's neighborhood. In the end, I am very sympathetic to what they do and I believe that the issue is generally for us to remain engaged as adults with them while they become fully independent adults and to recognize that growth goes on every day, that what a young person might get wrong in one week, she or he may have exactly right the next week. That they continue to move with startling speed in these years. Penny has been working previously, and now with us, on what is called service learning. These are credit-based academics programs that have to do with students involvement in community or public life. We believe that public service is a natural byproduct of education here so we like that.

I want to say a few words about some issues that have been problems this year, not that I have solutions to all of them, but let me start with one that has been much in the news and that is the debate about affirmative action and admissions to college and, in particular,about our own population of minority students. Part of the reality of this place is that along with a handful of other colleges, we took on in the early '60s the job of repairing the damage that was done to educational structures, to families and so on in Virginian a very peculiar episode that occurred following the 1954 Supreme Court decision in the case of Brown v. Board of Education, the decision that desegregated public schools. Virginia's legislature decided to seize public schools from school boards that complied with the Supreme Court order and it closed those schools. It closed schools that enrolled altogether about 17% of the students in the state and in one case, the schools remained closed for something like62 (??) years. The state rescinded its compulsory attendance act.It provided tuition grants to students who wanted to go to segregated private schools and in general, performed in a way that communicated to generations of Virginians a perception that is still there, that in the end, Virginia cared more about racial exclusion than it cared about schooling. Now, that is simply a reality in which we have worked.

Some of us know one another because in the late '70s and early '80s,I had responsibility for recruiting students here for a period of seven or eight years. I can tell you that was a constant issue,not so much because I was dealing with young people who had been excluded from school. I was dealing with their children and nowadays still deal with their children and their grandchildren and the problem is to demonstrate good faith with regard to the fundamental proposition that the University intends to cultivate all kinds of human talent.

We got into the affirmative action debate in a very odd way. [The state of ] Virginia was required, beginning in 1969, to take actions at the state level to remedy the damage done to its people by this closure of the schools and by the general history of de jure or legal segregation in its colleges. U.Va. was both desegregated ando-educated by virtue of legal actions brought by our faculty against the state, so there's a history there of struggle with regard to inclusiveness in the student body. The state of Virginia refused to accept affirmative action in its 1969 court compliance and instead developed something called equal opportunity that was the subject of a lot of skeptical discussion at the time. It was basically anon-quota-driven system of trying to desegregate the colleges. I Don't know how well it's worked overall, but the system has worked well here. It's involved what is called holistic examination of students' credentials. Students have all sorts of different qualities that come to bear. There is an active national debate now about the "use of race" -- and that's a term of art--use of race in admission sand there is some discussion here about it. My own personal view,and I present this only as my view, is that it is almost silly to describe "use of race" as a characteristic of this admission system.What it has done is work hard to develop a diverse student body with all kinds of qualities--children of alumni, athletes, youngsters who play the piccolo well, students with extraordinary ambitions.

I will tell you that when I was dean I admitted students for reasons that may seem capricious and I stuck with them because I wanted to see what happened. One of my favorites was a very small boy who came from a high school over on the West Virginia border down in the coal fields and I admitted him for the following reason: he was basically okay in the sense that he had taken the hardest courses his school offered. They weren't very hard. They were the hardest they offered. He tested well enough that I knew he could read and write. He was being interviewed by a student committee for a scholarship and one of our students, without having any grasp of this boy's background, said, "have you traveled much?" and the boy said, "yeah."And our student said, "where've you been?" He said, "well, yesterday I went to the VPI and today I'm here". My sense of it was that he was going to somewhere else and he has. He's a lawyer down in a place called Gate City, Virginia, but the point about that young man is that he had a kind of a vision. He didn't have any pretensions about what he was. He simply came at this as the work he was going to do in the course of the years that followed his admission and I felt good about the decision that we made with regard to him.

We have this complex history. We work in one of the most unstable political climates I've ever seen because the courts can't decide what's right and what's wrong. I don't pretend to have any notion of the long-term acts the court may take and I think the Supreme Court really does have to decide what the law of the land is, but I do believe that education here is better because of the diverse nature of the student body and I believe that on personal grounds. I was here when it wasn't a diverse student body. I was a student in classes that were all male, although I will tell you we always had surreptitious women who kind of crept in around the edges. I was a student in a class where only one of the students in the entering class was a black student and where that student was absolutely isolated in the classroom,where professors did not recognize the complex kinds of issues that he faced because there was no critical mass of youngsters with similar backgrounds to his around him. Having watched the way the place has changed I start with a kind of moral conviction that a state that did to its people what Virginia did, with seizing and closing public schools and a state that had over such a long period of its history, by law excluded people from education, is simply hypocritical if it acts as though it does not have ongoing obligations with regard to the overall educational well-being of its people. I think we have made a lot of progress.

When first began working with students, I worked with a man who told me that support for education was a mile wide and an inch deep.Now that's not exactly right any more. I think people understand the empowerment that comes with education, but I think no one who cares about young people -- and you do or you wouldn't be here --regardless of how we feel about the national debate about affirmative action, regardless of how we feel about the Supreme Court's eventual decision, no one of us wants to walk away from the proposition that a culture, a civilization, a nation, a state, that fails to educate all of its young people to the highest extent possible and to open opportunity on a broad basis to every young person who wants to do the work of learning and, again, it is work. It is a job. Any state that fails to do that is selling out its future and it's selling out its citizens one by one, and so I am determined that this institution,within the law -- and we have every intention of performing within the law -- that this institution will see to it that equality of opportunity remains the fact that it has been here over the last quarter century or so. That's why the issue matters so much to me.It has to do with education.

Thank you. Second, some words about student life. Carl Jung in one of his essays about child rearing, the one that has to do with helping children develop healthy personalities, says if there's anything that we wish to change in the child we should first examine it and see whether it is not something that would be better changed in ourselves. Let me talk first about alcohol use in that context. We've seen a good bit of progress with regard to student abuse of alcohol since you as parents began to work with us on trying to give students better education about that, a better sense of what is healthy to do and so on. The number of students who turn up in the emergency room with aftereffects of alcohol abuse has dropped a good bit. In general, I think we believe that students are seizing the problem as they should. There is no permanent fix on that problem.We have tried to be responsible in engaging in families in some of this effort because you have a substantial investment in young people, but we also recognize that every young person is going to make some mistakes. Our problem is to see to it that the mistakes are mistakes from which the young person can get up and keep moving and the fact that we have seen students die in the course of this decade because of unintended alcohol abuse is one of several reasons why we're determined to stay with it. I will tell you that this is not a hostile matter so far as the student body is concerned,but your daughters and your sons have recognized very clearly what's wrong with dying because of drinking too much. We are continuing to struggle with the notion that students ought to drink a full fifth of whiskey before they graduate. I will tell you that no one in this room can do that and walk away. They need to know that also,that it's simply a myth that the human body can deal with that kind of alcohol consumption. We're concerned about student safety. A rape occurred in August. Through some very good police work there has been a set of charges brought against a man who's accused of having committed the rape. The rape occurred off-Grounds in a house that students intended to share. Penny and others are working now with landlords and the city because we believe that we can do much better job with the city of building safer environments for students who live off Grounds, but one of the reactions to the problem that has developed with regard to student safety is ongoing kind of pressure from parents to develop more housing on the Grounds and we think that may also be an appropriate response to the problem.It's simply easier to maintain safety on the Grounds. This is not a hostile environment, but we do see trends. There was a time when we saw a fair number of attacks against students on the part of persons who were not students. For reasons I can't explain to you,in the last couple of years we've dealt with a fair number of attacks on students by students and we're trying to get a handle on that problem and stop that from becoming an entrenched part of the culture.Part of what has to happen here is that people have to learn enough respect for one another not to engage in that kind of conduct, and to surround protectively the person who's a victim, so we're working on that problem. We're using various academic approaches. We're working with organizations such as the fraternities, the sororities and their central organizations. They have been very cooperative.It is not that we never see an alcohol-related problem in, say,a fraternity house. It is that the problems are less now then they used to be and the students are responsive when we try to find ways to solve the problems. There is a good bit of controversy about the Honor System right now. I don't know that I can explain the whole issue to you in a short time. The Honor System is student owned and operated. It has only one penalty for an offense. This is the lying, cheating, stealing prohibition and that penalty is dismissal, permanent dismissal. It is a complicated system at best.It changes a lot. The students and the Board members-- Our Board of Visitors oversees the Honor System directly. It does not run through me, but the students and the Board members who are working on the issue seem to me to be doing a good job, but I cannot promise you that we've solved every problem. I am especially concerned about the possibility that minority students, especially black students,may be more often accused than other students are. I'm struck by the fact that in the outcomes of trials that the pattern does not hold up, but we always watch for evidence of what is called in criminal law spotlighting--the tendency to identify the person who stands out because of appearance as the probable offender when something has happened. The only solution to that that I know about is constant education of the community and the good news there is that the conviction rate suggests that the pattern does not hold up when the system actually moves forward. Finally, I want to thank the Parents Program in which many of you have been active, the Parents Committee, for extraordinary leadership over the course of about, at this point guess about 20 or 25 years. This year's chairs are Margie and Jeff Webb who are here. Would you all stand for just a second? They and the others who work with them on their committee raise money and commit money to a number of different enterprises within student affairs. Jeff told me that they spent something like five hours yesterday afternoon in their finance committee looking at something like 60 proposals that have to do with improving student life. Not all get funded. Some simply are not good proposals. In some cases,they don't have the money. In other cases, we can find money from other sources to help with some of the projects, but without the kind of leadership that Margie and Jeff and others have provided,we would not have a lot of the amenities that students do enjoy here and I'm very grateful to all of you who've taken part in that effort. To sort of wrap this up, this has been a good decade for us. Your daughters, your sons, belong to the strongest student body we've ever seen. They have had the chance to work with faculty members who have dealt with tough times, economically tough times and tough times in other senses, and who've come out of that period with tremendous morale and with a great sense of commitment to what they do. We have, I think, seen ongoing determination within the faculty and among the deans to build strength in the University regardless of what happens to state appropriations to become more and more self-sufficient, and we've seen an appreciation of what is and what is is largely human. I learned a lot of what I know about running universities from a man named Henry [Rosovski] who was the dean of the faculty of arts and sciences at Harvard and was the author of Harvard's core curriculum, and at one point, when Henry was trying to describe what ought to be the effect of a university education, he said that most of the things we talk about are beside the point, that most of what we learn to make our livings, we learn after we graduate, that most of what we learn about democracy we learn by living democracy, that most of what we learn about a lot of things comes after the period of formal education, but he made this observation. He said one of the things that characterizes universities is the vast range of human effort that goes into the work of the university and you will hear me emphasize that proposition that studying here is work, that teaching here is work. It may be pleasant work. It may be a great way of life, but it is work, and Henry says that if the outcome of education is not that we individually learn to respect the work done by other people, we've missed the point--that when you have engineers and physicians and people studying poetry and architects and so on, this vast range--a 100 and some different disciplines, pursued within the institution, to fail to understand the importance of human work and to respect what people do as their work is to miss, in the end, the basic lesson of education and the lesson has to do with respecting the things that people do with their minds, with their hands, and so on. It's not a matter of who we are before we come. It's not a matter of necessarily where we are going after we leave. It's a matter of the work that holds this place together as a community while they're here. Your daughters or your sons do extraordinary work. You should be proud of them. You should feel a kind of confidence in our country because of what they are, but help them as they proceed through here to do so with a basic respect for the work that other people do and in the process, I think you'll also teach them to address their own work as a thing of first importance in their lives. They're not children any more. They don't call you up to ask you before they make their biggest decisions. I can promise you that as you and I do, they will get it wrong about half the time and that in the end, human dignity and democracy and the other values that we see from education will proceed from the work that they do and not from the kinds of things that we argue about in our families. We don't argue about whether or not your daughter or son should learn the Wordsworth Coleridge prelude to "Lyrical Ballads." A professor takes care of that. Your child, your son or daughter, learns that or gets a bad grade, but on the other side, the larger issue having to do with what kinds of people they are gets defined in dealing with the work and that, I think, is the part where we can collaborate to honor the work, to respect what they do. Thank you for coming.

John T. Casteen, III
President