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The State of the University

John T. Casteen III
April 14, 1999

This year's report assesses progress made since 1990 as we have worked together to sustain excellence and to build new centers of strength following the historic reduction in state tax support; it posits moral convictions about our common work and values; and it explores intentions for the next five years. The work plans adopted by our four planning commissions are companion pieces to this report. They detail strategies for benchmarking our work against peer institutions, and for improving our accomplishments in disciplines and activities that are essential to our future as an acknowledged leader among the nation's universities --in science and the technologies, in the fine and performing arts, in public service, and in international activities.

* In every measurable sense, 1998-99 has been a good year for the University, indeed, one of the best years in its history. Yet cautionary signs are evident. Prudence requires that we understand the limits of current strategies, examine new options for the future, and act on the principle that to be in a good position, even an excellent position, at this time is not the same thing as to be assured of the same successes in the future.

Great universities live in history, not in the political or opportune moment. Their leaders continually need to replan, rethink, restructure their work. We move across a moving landscape. Other universities of our scale and general structure are not standing still. Nor does the society we serve. Planning and managing change are signs of vitality. In this decade, planning and management have sustained the quality of our endeavor. In the next, they can support dramatic advances in most of the University's core endeavors.

Perhaps current concern about Y2K and the end or beginning of a millennium defines an artificial sort of milepost. Yet Y2K has had a beneficial effect--if only because it has forced us to realize that criticizing and reinventing the technologies are essential, and that the job of building innovation into work is never finished.

The academy has learned that technological advance breeds technological advance, which in turn changes even the most traditional disciplines. Our work changes even as our tools change. For what are perhaps serendipitous reasons, we have just now an opportunity to reinvent technologies and disciplines with an eye toward both the near horizon and the longer-term--perhaps the next twenty or so years.

* This year, we remain the top-ranked public university in the popular rankings, but this year's rankings tell a subtler story. First, against the entire index, we are about where we were at the start of the decade. Our progress so far has consisted of two accomplishments: damage control, as we have approached self- sufficiency in an era of dwindling state tax commitments; and targeted progress (in the Law School, physiology, Architecture, Education, the Darden School, and other schools and disciplines) as we have found new sources of revenue to support new work.

These accomplishments must be told cautiously, because other states have now restored the tax dollars taken away from their flagship universities in the years when we were the only, or one of the few, public universities in the popular listings of the nation's best universities. This year, for the first time, US News & World Report has the University of California at Berkeley ranked evenly with us, and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill one space behind us, with UCLA and Michigan only a few more spots behind. These other publics have in common that they receive (by any scheme of measurement) more generous tax appropriations than we receive, and they are moving upward largely because their states are making large new investments of tax moneys and the universities are using their new resources wisely.

Partly because of the Capital Campaign's success and partly because of sound management in the schools, we have both refinanced the University and made tangible progress on faculty resources and expenditure-per-student (the two measures on which we have been weak since 1991). In the last two years, Virginia has begun making progress toward repairing some of the damage done to faculty and staff wages by the budget cuts of the Wilder era. Even so, the aggregate tax appropriation will be smaller in 2000 than it was in 1990--a fact that becomes more significant when the effect of inflation is considered. The Governor and the General Assembly have restored a measure of lost tax support for faculty and staff salaries. Needless to say, we are deeply grateful for this support.

In addition, next year's state budget replaces some 20 percent of the tuition now paid by in-state undergraduate students with tax dollars. This transaction has no net effect on the University: it neither increases nor decreases support for instruction and research. On the other hand, this appropriation repairs some of the damage done to the group of our neediest students by the tuition increases of the Wilder era by reducing in-state tuition for all undergraduates. On paper at least, it will increase the state's proportion of the total instructional budget.

U.S. News & World Report's measures have changed over the years. This year's methodology is not last year's. The methodology for calculating faculty resources has changed in especially important ways. Faculty salaries and resources to support faculty remain important, but about half of the total weighting now involves the deployment of faculty within courses of instruction. The arithmetic is such that one can advance in the rankings either by increasing the number of courses faculty members teach, thereby achieving a smaller faculty-student ratio per course, or by increasing the raw number of faculty.

The Senate's leadership and the provost's will want, I think, to reexamine how we index against other institutions in this metric and others. For better or worse, US News & World Report's numbers are the best available index of how faculties actually use the resources available to them. Thoughtful consideration by faculty leaders now may be the best strategy to assure that faculty define the conditions of change as change occurs. Otherwise, the hazard exists that other entities, not committed to excellence in teaching and scholarship, may emerge to do destructively what we can do constructively.

* Other rankings tell different parts of the story. One popular magazine makes us the second-best educational value among state universities. Another has us tied with Princeton as the tenth-best value in all of higher education. No one appraisal tells the whole story. It is clear, however, that for in-state undergraduates the University is once again the bargain it was prior to the Wilder years. Even for out-of-state students, most of the rankings consider the University of Virginia a bargain.

There are other rankings. One analyzes administrative costs in Virginia's public colleges and universities. A recent State Council calculation of those costs (for 1996-1997) shows that the University incurred the lowest administrative cost factor of any institution in Virginia -- 8.4 percent of total cash flow. That figure is within the normal range for comprehensive research universities. But it is noteworthy for another reason: buried in it are the incremental operating costs of the Capital Campaign, costs incurred only in the last six or seven years. US News continues to describe us as the most efficient university among the nation's top twenty-five.

* Several of the schools and departments have received high marks of their own. My list is not comprehensive, but perhaps it will suggest the range of these distinctions. The School of Law , which for the last four or five years has been the top-ranked public law school in the country, and is so now, is seventh among all law schools in one recent ranking. The Darden School is listed as eleventh overall. The Curry School has moved up six places this year. It is now ranked thirteenth, with both its innovative 4+1 curricular model and its growth in policy studies cited as reasons for its continuing growth in stature.

Specialties within the Curry School merit note because of their steady progress in recent years into the top tier of the rankings. Special education, counseling, elementary teacher training, secondary teacher training, core programs that serve the needs of public and independent schools--are now at or near the top of the relevant comparison groups.

Advances in the School of Medicine deserve attention both because they reflect the value of stable leadership and because they result from uncommonly rigorous systems of external assessment. Three departments (cell biology, pharmacology, and physiology) now rank in the top ten. If one thinks strategically about how schools of medicine improve their work over time, those three departments matter because they represent the scholarly foundation on which one can build clinical futures. If one could have only three in the top ten, and if one intended to continue improving, these would be the three. That said, the Medical School itself now ranks twenty-eighth, and this too merits note because, historically, the national private schools and public schools related to massive urban health centers have dominated the rankings. The Medical School's progress into the top tier reflects national recognition of the special excellence of work done here.

* Progress toward meeting the need for adequate physical facilities has continued this year. The Clark Hall renovation and expansion, a project budgeted at approximately $30 million and combining private and state money, is moving ahead. Governor Allen committed part of the surplus at the end of his term to give us a head start with this project. A substantial anonymous gift made recently supports it as well.

We continue to work on infrastructure. The East Precinct Parking Garage will open in August. This is a $20 million project intended to relieve much of the traffic pressure around the hospital and to simplify access for employees.

Work on the Scott Stadium expansion is now in the second of three phases. This project and related projects, including a parking garage to serve faculty and staff on normal work days and space beneath the end-zone seats for a new student placement office, will involve a total expenditure of about $79 million. The work should be completed next year.

The last week has seen dramatic progress on funding for the new Special Collections Library. Assuming that ongoing negotiations are successful, an anonymous donor will provide $10 million to complete the funding for this project. Other funds have come from private gifts and from a generous appropriation from the state's General Fund surplus. We face several logistical problems, not least the need to relocate Admissions from Miller Hall, which will be demolished in the early phase of this project. In addition, immediate concerns about continuity for student enterprises located in Peabody Hall, and larger concerns about whether we are making optimal use of Newcomb Hall, will require attention as this project proceeds. Any project in the Central Grounds poses complex problems. Solving these problems may well improve the uses of an area that is essential to almost everything we do.

* This has been a year of innovations in academic programs. The new M.S. program in Management Information Systems in the McIntire School holds great promise, both in its initial offering here and in the potential for future offerings in regions where shortages of technologically capable executives exist--in Northern Virginia, for example. The Division of Continuing Education's work with the College, The School of Engineering, and the McIntire School on the Bachelor of Interdisciplinary Studies degree program for part-time adults students has generated appropriate media attention. The BIS program addresses an ancient deficiency in the state's provisions for adult learners in this region. Design work continues on a major program in media studies and related academic programs to be built around the Robertson chair, currently located in the College. Each of these innovations represents a milestone in faculty work.

A new program of a different kind is taking shape in negotiations about the proposed campus in State of Qatar on the Arabian Gulf. The Board of Visitors has approved the preliminary memo of understanding. At the Governor's recommendation, the General Assembly passed legislation enabling us to develop this campus. The Governor has signed the legislation, and he has provided important support with regard to implementing it. With the support of Sheikha Mozah, who has visited Charlottesville to examine our programs and to meet with Board members and faculty, the Qatar Foundation has agreed to build the campus and finance its operation. The board has tentatively agreed to develop University of Virginia programs under the oversight of our provost. Mr. Low continues to work with the Qatar Foundation on a final contract. The relevant University administrators and faculty members have begun working here and in Qatar in direct partnerships with their counterparts there.

Both the Qatar Foundation and this administration intend to make the new University of Virginia Qatar a model of successful international collaboration in building a university of the finest quality. The issues are substantial. Charlottesville is not Doha. Our cultures and traditions differ in fundamental ways. Yet we agree on the role of a soundly conceived and rigorous university in building a nation, and we share commitments to values developed here. In addition, the Qatar proposal affords us the opportunity to develop new scholarly capacities in petroleum geology, geophysics, and related disciplines. This is a signal opportunity for the University, and it holds real promise for Southwest Virginia and for other parts of the state where commerce with Qatar and its neighbors is vital to Virginia's economy. The Qatar Foundation also intends to create a school of medicine. Needless to say, we would like very much for our School of Medicine to undertake that enterprise.

The faculty's engagement with a larger world has received much notice this year. The conference of Nobel Peace Prize Laureates held here in the fall and the recent conference on Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings attracted global attention, and indeed became the topic of major television productions. These conferences reflect contemporary scholarship's capacity to examine the scientific bases of our analysis of historical events and to identify links between scientific and what one might call spiritual ways of approaching contemporary issues.

There is more to come in the fall. A national summit on Internet technology will take place in November under the sponsorship of the Virginia 2020 planning initiative. Other national conferences next year will address public service as a component of both instruction and the research enterprise and the international activities of American universities.

* These national or international gatherings and the various rankings define essential qualities of faculty work in this era: it is entrepreneurial, and it is bold. Medicine's basic science programs and engineering's applications laboratories matter in the world of science as much for the ingenuity of the faculty members who work in them as for their facilities or formal programs. Individual faculty members' work -- Brad Cox's propositions about time-reversal symmetry violation: the argument that time may, in fact, be unidirectional; Charles Wright's articulation of a new matter for American poetry in Black Zodiac and other recent works; Anita Jones's international leadership in computer science in defining Internet II and in setting national science policy; Janis Antonovics's election to the Royal Society -- defines or identifies the modern University as surely as do the Honor System or Thomas Jefferson's drawings or notes on the curriculum.

In the process, faculty members are changing the practice of their disciplines. Ahmed Noor, the Perry Professor in the School of Engineering and the director of the Center for Advanced Computational Technology, is using a conference at NASA, Langley, to advance new models for just-in-time workforce training. Ed Ayers's work in the Virginia Center for Digital History -- the "Valley of the Shadow" project, which uses digital technology to assess the effects of the Civil War on two cities matched up on either side of the conflict -- stands nationally for ingenious uses of new technologies to explore history's complexity. These and other faculty members are reshaping the most basic rules of our disciplines and revitalizing the academy itself.

The student body remains one of the strongest and most diverse in all of American higher education. Entry and exit credentials remain uncommonly strong, as does the demand for admission. The overall graduation rate exceeds 90 percent. The graduation rate for African- American undergraduate students remains the highest in the country in a private or a public university -- a bit above 89 percent. And the University has enrolled more African-American students in the last decade than has any other university of our kind and scale.

This community understands and treasures its diverse faculty and student body, perhaps especially so in the last fifteen years as we have seen the products of hard work that began in the 1960s. About a fourth of our undergraduate students come from minority racial or ethnic backgrounds. Women continue to comprise in excess of 53 percent of the entering class. Asian and Asian -American students are about 11 percent, a proportion slightly above the 10 percent or so African- American students in recent years. The number of Hispanic students is growing, but slowly. It reflects the population of our region. About 2 percent of the student body and about 4% of the undergraduate entering class are international students.

* All of that said, those who read Inside UVA know that I have profound concerns about both the biased terms of the ongoing debate about affirmative action and its possible impact on our student body and on our faculty. There are several points to be made. One is a fundamental historic fact that few nowadays want to remember: This state spent some twenty-five years in and out of court asserting that it would not adopt affirmative action as policy for admission to its public colleges. In the desegregation plans endorsed by every governor since 1970, and indeed still in the state budget, Virginia committed not to affirmative action, but instead to equal opportunity in recruitment. Why does the point matter? It matters because management by goals and timetable, which is the mechanism of equal opportunity, as opposed to affirmative action quotas and deadlines, has in truth been Virginia's approach from the beginning. The debate about affirmative action oversimplifies both Virginia's legal history and the fact of what has been done here to build success in the last quarter century or so.

Second, a morally responsible view of Virginia's history, and specifically of actions taken by the state itself in defiance of law, must acknowledge a second reality of Virginia's actions in our time: Alone among the American states, the Commonwealth of Virginia seized, closed, and locked public schools in 1958 rather than desegregate those schools in accord with orders of the United States Supreme Court. The General Assembly abolished the compulsory attendance law, disbanded lawfully elected local school boards when they attempted to comply with the law of the land, and made grants from tax dollars to allow students to attend segregated private schools (the so-called corrugated academies) --all with the articulated goal of keeping black children and white children from attending school together. In one school district, the schools remained closed for six-and-a-half years.

So a unique question needs to be addressed before anyone assumes that our Virginian concern about academic access for minority students is the same as all others: What effects linger across generations when children grow up in a culture where as a matter of defiant law the General Assembly and the Governor chose to close schools and deny education over allowing those children's parents or grandparents to study in classrooms open to every child, regardless of race?

Activists may make any legal argument they choose at this point. No one knows what the law is because the Supreme Court has not addressed the question. Regardless of lawyers' debates, however, the moral imperative is that Virginia and persons who care for her and her children, all of her children, must assume an ongoing commitment to remedy the consequences of actions well within living memory. This moral imperative belongs peculiarly to Virginia. No other state did what Virginia did. And until Virginia finds a moral resolution to its history of denying education itself, much of the national debate is all but irrelevant to Virginia's moral problem. The message about access to education is a mixed message if it is given to a child by a parent or grandparent who lived through Massive Resistance.

This is not easy. Legal guidelines are all but hopelessly ambiguous, and the most recent case involving racial preferences compounds the ambiguity. A federal court finding against the NCAA's initial eligibility requirements actually rejects a system that does not deal differentially with SAT scores and similar credentials -- a finding directly contrary to the preferences of legal activists who advocate private actions against school officials who practice affirmative action.

Regardless, we have a powerful moral motive to take every lawful step to assure that the stream of talented, highly qualified, successful minority women and men who have moved successfully from here into Virginia's and the nation's mainstream, continues to flow. These students are an asset of value to the University, to the Commonwealth, to the nation.

* More generally, the measures of student success remain telling. Jeffrey Manns is our most recent Rhodes Scholar, now one of forty-three, the largest number produced by any state-supported institution. Allan Moore is our latest Truman Scholar, the sixteenth such scholar. Few universities have produced so many. Dan Cunnane and John Schafer have both won Mellon Fellowships in Humanistic Studies this year.

This has also been a good year in athletics. Peggy Boutelier, an All-American field hockey and lacrosse player, was named the NCAA Woman of the Year. Both the men's and women's swimming teams won ACC championships, and Shamek Pietucha is Virginia's first national champion in men's swimming. Debbie Ryan is only the sixth women's basketball coach in the country to have posted 500 wins at the same school. Women's crew, the varsity eight, is ranked second in the nation; the lightweight eight is ranked third. This is a valued part of education here. It speaks to excellence in complex endeavors and is congruent with our founder's aims to educate and strengthen the body as well as the mind and spirit.

* A brief report on the Capital Campaign. Through February, gifts totaled $852 million. We have passed the original goal of $750 million in cash gifts and pledges alone, without considering gifts-in-kind or other types of gifts. Five years ago, many thought that a half-billion dollars was ambitious. We know now that $1 billion dollars is not only a probability, but in significant respects, a goal about which to be cautious. Total receipts well above $1 billion are available if we have the wisdom and discipline to seek the larger support that is essential to the University's academic future. Thoughtful people are now cautioning us not to set our sights too low, cautions that have special meaning to the deans and others who are now finding success in funding their own programs. We expect to pass the billion-dollar target before the closing date of this campaign -- December2000--and perhaps several months early.

* Momentum is everything in a major capital campaign. I mentioned the anonymous pledge for the Special Collections Library. Within this development is another that suggests just what can be accomplished. The same anonymous donor is well along in his consideration of providing the funds (some $20 million) to pay for the concert hall proposed in the Carr's Hill precinct plan. The Darden School, the School of Medical, and others are actively engaged with prospective donors who can support projects of this scale.

The combined endowment now exceeds $1.6 billion, roughly four times the amount when we began this effort. The campaign continues to be focused on academic priorities, with endowed professorships, endowed scholarships, academic buildings, endowed fellowships, and other academic endowments the chief beneficiaries.

* Other indicators provide valuable information about the University's finances. Few similar institutions have such diverse sources of revenue as the University has. In the year 2000, for the first time since 1990, the state appropriation per student will rise to equal the average for the southern states. That figure is $5,642, which is well below the national average for peer institutions, but well above the lowest we have seen. In the year 2000, roughly half of the total state expenditure for education and general purposes will be tax money. This is important because it reflects the Governor's intent to shift costs from student payers to the taxpayer, a shift that may well eventually provide a rational basis for allocating tax funds among the state's various priorities.

* Benefits of the restructuring of the middle years of the decade continue to accrue. The proportion of the total budget spent on administration remains reduced, and the proportion spent on academic goals, instruction, research, and so on, remains increased.

Other changes are yielding results. Process simplification in management continues to cut costs. The varieties of codified autonomy afforded to the Darden School, the law school, and in 1996 to the Medical Center continue to let those programs thrive despite reduced state support. The Medical Center now has local responsibility or authority with regard to its purchasing, personnel, and other systems. System cost savings alone amount to $100,000 a year. We have learned, and the state has generally agreed, that it is indeed cheaper to do business in one place than in many.

The expenditure for instruction in the academic division has increased since restructuring by 26.5 percent. The administrative cost increase in the same period is 22.5 percent. The difference between the two rates of growth is a measure of the value of reallocating resources from lower to higher priorities. Over some five years, the increase in academic support expenditures (libraries, computers, infrastructural costs for academic work) is 53.5% percent. Private money now provides core support for faculty salaries. Both funds under the controls of the Board of Visitors and funds required to be generated by the school deans now help fund the salary account.

The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching in 1998 cited the University for its unusual record of improving support for undergraduate teaching. This recognition reflects the success achieved by the Teaching Resource Center and the Teaching and Technology Initiative Partnership between Mr. Low and Ms. McClure. Much of the venture's success derives from making the computing system a fundamental service that supports faculty and student work in every sense.

* These successes are about hard work, about planning, about diversity, and about awareness that the University is a public entity now able to sustain a substantial part of its operation without tax support comparable to that allocated by other states.

* Institutions may sometimes do battle with their own histories. In general, these battles involve the notion that all change is bad and this change, whatever it may be, is worse. The University has perhaps done fewer of these battles in the last ten or fifteen years than it did in the more distant past. Change has been a benefit, not a cost. Faculty and Board members have actively reconsidered many of the basic assumptions of education, and the emerging results are exciting. The previously mentioned Bachelor of Independent Studies program and the new graduate program in Management Information Systems in the McIntire School are faculty inventions. They reflect faculty creativity and openness to change as well as the faculty's and the Board's determination to expand the popular franchise in the University -- to make the University more accessible to broader populations.

These Grounds are ground-zero for the formation of public educational policy and especially for liberal learning as Thomas Jefferson envisioned it. We have a major stake in developing sound models for emulation elsewhere. These new programs represent important steps.

* New technologies, a different work place, consumer activism, students' reasonable demands that they be given the best we can generate -- these are good reasons to change. Last year we began working on the changeover from the aggressive Capital Campaign posture of the last seven or eight years to the more normal times that will come after the year 2000. We began this work because the University cannot back away from the work of building private support and operating self-sufficiently. We have the capacity to raise the dollars. We know how to spend them efficiently. The mandate for this time is to move forward, not to say we've done enough.

The Virginia 2020 Agenda, the beginning of planning for the University's third century, marks the beginning of this transition. Each of the four commissions has now published its work plan. These commissions are making thoughtful progress. Their timetables are both realistic and somewhat hardheaded. The Chairs are producing written reports and will continue to do so through about 2001. In some instances, the work will take longer. Their charge is to plan actions and to base those plans in facts, including hard facts about how other institutions have achieved excellence. This is a data-driven planning enterprise. We are determined not simply to believe our own myths, but to test them and modify them as we learn. Budgeting, making choices, setting priorities, surveying the environment dispassionately and with aggressive intentions -- these have been the hallmarks of our planning in this decade, and they are very much the hallmarks of the work now in progress.

One outcome of this work may well be a new approach to raising private funds. We have begun to approach the limits of what can be done with a campaign that is fundamentally school-based. We find now that donors are broadly interested in what are for us new topics -- the technologies and core facilities that are University-wide in their impact. Virginia 2020 may well teach us how to make better use of private resources. Fundraising may need to evolve from our current mode, which is school-based, to some new mode that will permit us to address, for example, science or the fine arts in a broad way, and not restrict us to seeking simply a particular endowed chair for a particular department. I am convinced that today's and tomorrow's opportunities are simply different. Donors are excited about these commissions. They want to help, both in the work of the commissions and in financing the initiatives the commissions are describing.

* Federal research support has increased by about 3.6 percent in the first three quarters of this year, and industrial support, which has historically not been strong, is growing. In addition, the number of large science grants from major foundations is growing. Biomedical engineering has received a Whittaker Award totaling $10 million. The Keck Foundation is supporting the new Advanced Cellular Imaging Facility. These grants represent investments both in facilities and in faculty and student expertise, and the Whittaker grants, in particular, are important for the way they draw together components of the University. One of these grants supports integrating an Engineering structure into the School of Medicine. When one thinks about the growth of interdisciplinary initiatives, common laboratories are often a start.

* Student orientation will change this year. Students entering this fall will find extensive new programs beginning in the summer. Eleanor Sparagana, the new director, has scheduled a summer program lasting two days and one night. The first session begins on July 6, and the last, on August 2. During these sessions, new students will take placement tests, meet academic advisors, meet faculty, and register for classes.

* We have seen progress this year with regard to abuse of alcohol by students. As you know, a year ago a task force reported that we had a serious problem and the University responded in several ways, not least the Dean's decision to move fraternity rush from fall to spring. The year has seen a reduction of roughly half in the number of students treated in the Emergency Room for alcohol abuse on weekends, with a particularly dramatic drop on the weekend of the last home football game.

Sororities and fraternities, Dean Canevari, faculty members who now serve as fellows in the houses, and deans who go out of their way to support improvements in residence hall and fraternity life share measures of credit for this improvement.

* The Faculty Senate has continued to exercise greater influence on University life than it did formerly. Mr. Ayers's leadership with regard to intellectual life in the community built successfully on the work done by his predecessors. The senate's forums on technology in teaching (the last one entitled "Should Technology Change U.Va.'s Priorities?") have been especially crucial discussions.

The Faculty Senate has taken over the selection process for the Harrison Fund Awards, which are focused this year on undergraduate advising. Some 249 nominations have been received, and about 30 awards will be made. The program continues to provide exciting incentives for excellence in teaching and related endeavors.

* The high points of this year's General Assembly session were actions on our budget requests and the Qatar legislation. This year, as sometimes in the past, faculty salaries turned out to have a broad coattail that brought in salary improvements for administrative personnel and for classified personnel. Stuart Connock, Leonard Sandridge, and Colette Capone deserve credit, as does also Nancy Rivers, who has assumed responsibility for internal analysis of legislative issues.

The low point was perhaps the controversy about the change of the name of Clinch Valley College to the University of Virginia's College at Wise. We perhaps learned things we needed to know, most notably that the General Assembly's concern for the College and for the names of its institutions is profound and unified. That said, let me add that the relationship between Wise and Charlottesville has never been better. Ruhi Ramazani has just spent a week in Wise as the first of a series of Charlottesville faculty who will teach, lecture, and address public sessions on that campus. The College continues to show extraordinary growth in enrollment and in fundraising.

* I want to mention the Living Wage Campaign because I obviously would like to see it succeed. As you may know, authority for the wages that are in question belongs to the state. The state's personnel department reaffirmed that authority recently in response to a question about the University's authority. We supported legislation in this session that would have required a study of the adequacy of our lowest wages. This legislation failed, but alternative legislation creates a commission on reform of the classified compensation scheme. This is an appropriate vehicle for the General Assembly's deliberation on the issue, but it is neither quick nor foolproof. Similar studies in the past have sometimes been found defective.

For the General Assembly to resolve this issue, hard issues need to be addressed. One is that from many legislators' points of view, the $8 per hour figure is misleading. It was developed by rounding up a smaller number, and it is based on federal guidelines for defining poverty in a family of four. Many legislators understand and make note that family size is not per se a consideration in setting wages, and indeed that activists have not disclosed how many employees earning the lowest state wages actually support families of four or of any specified number.

The campaign has raised consciousness. We heard during the session no direct hostility to the campaign's fundamental appeal for adequate wages for the lowest-paid state employees, and our local legislators were active in supporting this effort. On the other hand, the decision makers are not in direct contact with individuals who support the campaign. To succeed, the campaign will almost certainly have to get its numbers absolutely right and justify its use of the poverty guideline for a family of four as its yardstick. The General Assembly's salary actions this year have helped. The number of potentially affected employees is smaller by roughly a third because of routine wage increases.

* Some of our strongest and most experienced faculty members and administrators have retired this year. Each has distinguished herself or himself while here. Some have had extraordinary influence on students. Some have been great scholars who also had an engagement with the community. Others have had primary interests in teaching or in service to the community. Remarking these departures is not so much a statement of loss as an acknowledgment of excellence. For very different reasons, Robert Canevari's retirement from the position of dean of students after some thirty years of distinguished service and Polly McClure's resignation from the position of vice president and chief information officer merit special mention. The best and most wholesome qualities of student life here bear Bob Canevari's mark. Polly McClure invented modern academic information technology and management here. She redefined and built a remarkably effective work force whose technological creativity benefits every faculty member, staff member, and student. We will miss both. We are grateful to both.

* Let us acknowledge another debt of gratitude to the extraordinary numbers of friends and alumni who support the University with their personal means. The latest listing shows 120,000 different donors to this Capital Campaign. Some very, large checks are included in the total value added to the University by this effort. So are tens of thousands of smaller checks that represent the commitments of women and men who support the University because of personal and private attachments -- to a faculty member or a department or school, to a physician or nurse who added humane values to the practice of medicine, to deans and advisors and many others. These attachments bode well for the future.

In this period, we have witnessed what may be the nearest approach to genuine self-sufficiency ever achieved by an American public institution. This newfound self-sufficiency has made us no less accountable in any sense for the moral and intellectual quality of our work, but it has given the University, Virginia's elected officials, and a large public good reasons to reconceive accountability in new ways. We are first and foremost a public institution, and we rely on the state in many ways. Indeed, the concept of the public university began on these Grounds. Our public mission is as viable and as important today as it ever has been.

Our stakeholders are many -- generations of alumni and faculty; those 120,000 persons who have supported us in a time of financial revitalization; citizens who look to us for moral and intellectual leadership, for scholarship second to none; taxpayers who support us, and elected officials who allocate state moneys; and the women and men who come to Charlottesville, to the University created for the purpose of forming America's character as a nation of free people, to pursue their own educations; and many, many others. Our task, indeed our privilege, in this time is to define futures worthy of the past that gave us shape and being.