Seeking an Extraordinary Individual to Lead the Institution
into its Third Century
Thomas Jefferson's version of a great university founded on educational principles never before applied on this continent became a reality when the University of Virginia opened its doors in 1825. He had struggled toward this end for almost half a century and had surmounted tremendous personal, political, and financial obstacles. With his many-sided genius, Jefferson had not only created an institution that was unique but had also provided it with a classical group of buildings that has evoked the admiration of the world . . . If Jefferson were to return, he would find his stunning "academical village" almost exactly as it was in his day.
- from Mr. Jefferson's University: A History by Virginius Dabney, 1981
The University Grounds: A Sense of Place, A Community of Trust
Jefferson's original buildings at the heart of the University's Grounds seem little changed. But the University's founder never intended the institution to stand still in time. In fact, he would have railed against such a notion.
He was ambitious-even revolutionary-in his vision for his fledgling university and set a high mark when he described it as the "future bulwark of the human mind in this hemisphere."
The University's eighth president must be equally ambitious in embracing our founder's vision of the vital role a public university plays in America today. The president must not only share this vision, she/he must articulate it with exceptional clarity and lead us in adapting this vision to the ever-changing nature of our society and its needs. The president must also ensure that the University community has the intellectual and financial resources required to produce scholarship that informs and enlightens society and educates citizens.
By many measures the University is now among the finest institutions of higher education in the United States. We have faculty who are innovative in teaching and entrepreneurial in seeking research partnerships worldwide; students who are engaged in their work in the classroom and dedicated to public service outside the classroom; medical professionals who provide the finest patient care and seek new ways to prevent, diagnose, and treat disease; staff who bring creativity and devotion to their work; and alumni who play active roles in business, the arts, the sciences, and public life-and are uncommonly devoted to their alma mater.
The University has achieved this stature not because it stood still but because it has continued to evolve under the guidance of individuals who became extraordinary stewards of our singular legacy. Perhaps some of the most dramatic progress was made during the 20th century, starting with the appointment of Edwin Alderman, already a two-time university president when he became the University's inaugural president. Other names stand out in our history: Newcomb, Darden, Shannon, Hereford, O'Neil, and Casteen.
Moving Forward, Building on the Past
The University of Virginia's evolution mirrors that of our nation-for both good and ill-from its beginnings as a small school for young men to the highly diverse global university it has become, generating excellence, taking on difficult issues, and finding remedies to some of the world's most pressing challenges.
The University's decades-long effort to make this place a genuine cross-section of what we are as a nation has begun to bear fruit, and we have discovered the ways in which all of us enrich our community.
This year's entering class is the most diverse in the University's history with a total of 34.7 percent minority students. In the first-year class, 13.3 percent of our students are Asian, 8.7 percent are African American, and 5.6 percent are Hispanic. Fifty-six percent are women.
Five years ago, the University launched AccessUVa, a comprehensive financial aid program that addresses not only the need among low-income families but also that of middle-income families. Overall, 32.1 percent of the student body now qualifies for financial aid, up from 23.8 percent in AccessUVa's first year.
All of this is a reflection of the commitment and hard work by members of our University community over many years. It also reflects Jefferson's belief that knowledge should belong to all people in a republic, not just those of wealth and privilege.
The University has never been bound by its traditions but has taken the best of what has defined it and combined it with the best of what is new and forward thinking.
The Lawn remains at the center of Jefferson's Academical Village. It is here we gather to welcome first-year students to the University, where professors hold classes on warm, sunny days, where students play Frisbee or flop down to study, where they bring their friends to experience the beauty and the heartbeat of the University. It is also a place for student charity fundraisers, class events, trick-or-treating for faculty, staff, and community children, important announcements, and solemn vigils. Finally, it is down the Lawn, in the most beautiful and celebratory of events (regardless of the weather), that our students walk to take their degrees.
Many aspects of the University, when taken collectively, distinguish it from its peers. The elegance of Jefferson's architecture. The community of trust. The Lawn. Long-held core values and traditions. Academic excellence. Graduation rates among the highest in the country. Rankings: top-ranked professional schools; a top 100 hospital; a top 25 national university. The Honor System and student self-governance. Service. Alumni who possess a common learned value of academic and personal integrity.
The classrooms and research labs tell the stories of the committed young women and men who are ready for the academic rigor that is expected of them here. Our undergraduate students study daily under the direction of the most senior members of the faculty. They seize on opportunities to work independently and conduct research. They learn early to discover and to synthesize.
At the University we also have demonstrated in this digital era that new technologies and the humanities make for extraordinary partnerships. In fact, our University has been at the leading edge of embracing the digital humanities.
Undergraduate and graduate students learn and live with the responsibilities and the freedoms built into the Honor System. Here honor is defined both as a code of personal and civic responsibility and as the foundation for student freedom within the University. Students have the right and the responsibility to enforce their own prohibitions against lying, cheating, and stealing.
Student self-governance is a core value. Few universities in the world afford students the unique combination of responsibility and personal freedom that they are allowed here. We are a distinctive community of trust.
Even as they learn the ethics of their fields of study, our students learn the ethics of living principled lives. Employers note the combination of moral soundness and personal confidence they value in our graduates. Personal principles and personal competence come to define young people as they progress through their course of study.
We are also a community of teachers and learners collectively cultivating scholarship, innovation, new ideas, great literature and the arts, science, research, and creativity. We preserve, analyze, and teach the best of the past while forging ahead with new concepts and new knowledge.
Jefferson was not content with knowledge as an end in itself; he also dreamed of a university that would produce educated citizens who would become leaders in their communities, in their nations, and in the world.
A Legacy of Extraordinary Leadership
The University of Virginia has been fortunate to have extraordinary leadership for the past 20 years in John T. Casteen III and his team of vice presidents and deans. Together, they have guided the University well, moving boldly to set the institution's direction for the next decade and laying the groundwork for institutional change-and new leadership.
They have implemented strategies to further distinguish the University in teaching, research, faculty and student life, the arts, global programming, opportunities and obligations related to the University's public mandate, and service to the commonwealth and the nation.
The University has moved forward despite accelerating financial challenges. Over the past 20 years, we have seen the percentage of state support in our budget plummet from almost 25 percent to a low of 6 percent in the current fiscal year. Just since the 2007-08 fiscal year, the University's appropriation from the state general fund has been cut four times by a total of $51.5 million or 31.8 percent.
Despite these cuts, the University is on firm financial ground. Our stability is due in large part to the generosity of alumni, parents, and friends of the University and the financial expertise of University administrators who have exceptional capacity to manage the University's assets and to understand global economics. Our $4.2 billion endowment is currently ranked among the top 20 among all universities.
The University's diverse revenue stream-state support, philanthropy, endowment, patient and auxiliary revenues, tuition, and federal grants-has helped cushion the impact of the weakened economy. We are less dependent on state support than most public institutions and less dependent on endowment support than many privates. The diversity of revenue sources has helped us consistently maintain AAA bond ratings from the top three rating agencies. We are one of only two public institutions to achieve that status.
Despite the challenges of raising funds in the country's deepest recession since the 1930s, the University met the $2 billion mark in its $3 billion fundraising campaign in September, only a few weeks behind its original projections. This achievement reflects the loyalty, generosity, and tenacity of the University's alumni, parents, and friends.
Donors to the campaign, which was launched in October 2004 and will conclude in 2011, have supported professorships, scholarships, graduate fellowships, research, and academic programs and buildings.
Their gifts have touched all 11 schools, the University Library, athletics, the Health System, the College at Wise, and a wide variety of centers and institutes. In the past 20 years, private support has helped transform the Grounds, contributing in part to the construction or renovation of more than 100 buildings.
In addition to financial and fundraising successes, a number of other accomplishments should be noted.
- Planning initiatives have focused on building excellence in three key areas: the undergraduate experience; international programs; and science, research, and technology.
- The University worked with Virginia governors and legislative leaders from 2002 to 2006 to achieve a new partnership with the state-Virginia's Higher Education Restructuring Act-that has been imitated and adapted elsewhere in the United States.
- The academic enterprise has focused on excellence and growth, while preserving the University's "it" factor. We are a research university-large when compared to privates, small when compared to publics-that provides an unparalleled undergraduate experience. We are home to eight outstanding schools of targeted strengths and three of the nation's very best graduate professional schools-law, medicine, and business.
- The U.Va. Health System provides outstanding patient care, and as a nationally renowned academic medical center is also committed to educating tomorrow's health care leaders and discovering new and better ways to treat diseases. The Health System has been recognized for excellence by such publications as U.S. News & World Report, Abstractors, and Good Housekeeping. Currently under construction are a hospital addition and the Emily Couric Cancer Center. The hospital serves patients from Charlottesville and the surrounding communities, as well as from Virginia and throughout the southeastern United States.
- University Athletics focuses attention on the success of its student-athletes in the classroom as well as on the playing field. Last year, 225 students were named to the ACC Honor Roll, which recognizes varsity-level athletes who attain a grade point average of 3.0 or better for the full academic year. U.Va.'s graduation rate for student-athletes who have exhausted their eligibility remains high at 93 percent. Our Olympic sports-12 intercollegiate teams for men and 13 for women-won more than 64 percent of their contests in 2008-09 to capture the 31st annual Virginia Sports Information Director's Association Division I All-Sport championship. U.Va. also ranked eighth in the 2008-09 Division I Learfield Sports Academy Directors' Cup, which is a national ranking based on the combined performance of men's and women's sports during the year.
The University's leadership team has provided our next president with the broadest possible range of future options. Our new president will be able to build on many achievements, but the issues ahead will be complex and challenging.
In an uncertain world, where globalization, rapid communications, advancing technologies, and changing demographics are altering rules and assumptions, the value of higher education becomes ever more certain.
Our New President's Greatest Challenges: Dependable Financial Resources and a New Model for Higher Education
There are many challenges facing today's institutions of higher education. The greatest challenge here consistently circles back to unreliable and often erratic state funding sources.
Many believe that because of the competing priorities and needs in the state, higher education will never reclaim its favored funding status of some 20 years ago. Because we anticipated the state's economic challenges, we are better positioned than most institutions to weather the current financial situation-and plan for the future.
In fact, many in the higher education community are looking to the University of Virginia to create a new financial model for public higher education.
Funding-or lack of it-will continue to be a challenge to supporting these institutional priorities:
- College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. We are committed to strengthening our core and look to the new president to build on the performance of historically strong undergraduate and graduate programs.
- Diversity. While we have made great strides, opportunities remain to increase the breadth and depth of diversity, in all its aspects among students, staff, and faculty.
- Advancing the Sciences, Technology, and Engineering Strategically. Everyone understands that this institutional priority will take a great deal of creative thinking and tough decision making-as well as formidable resources. We must acknowledge and leverage our strengths, even as we prepare to make hard choices about where best to invest.
- AccessUVa. The University's financial aid program has been extraordinarily successful. In 2009-10, the University's unrestricted contribution to AccessUVa will be almost $30 million, up from $16 million five years ago. In September 2009, President Casteen launched an AccessUVa fundraising initiative in an effort to endow the program and relieve the stress on the University's budget.
- Tuition. While our in-state tuition continues to be a good value when compared to our private peers, because of public pressure on higher education to keep in-state tuitions low, the result is ever-increasing out-of-state tuition cost. Out-of-state students currently fund 160 percent of their education and subsidize Virginia students. Tuition also goes to support AccessUVa.
- Faculty and Staff Compensation. Gains made in the previous five years have been eroded by state salary freezes of the past two.
- Graduate Support. We need to recruit and retain the best graduate students by giving them adequate financial support and time to conduct their research.
- Faculty Demographics. Many of our most respected teachers and researchers are nearing retirement. We will need the resources to recruit the very best to replace them.
- Opportunities for interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary collaboration. They are enhanced by easy access to all University schools. In addition, proximity to both the state's and the nation's capitals opens exciting opportunities for partnerships
Important Characteristics for our Next President
The Committee on the Nomination of a President invited members of the local and University communities-including students, staff, faculty, alumni, and parents-to participate either online or in public forums to discuss the qualities needed to lead our University in the next decade. Hundreds of individuals offered their thoughts on the institutional challenges and opportunities as well as the qualities and characteristics of our next president. Members of the committee have been inspired by the pride, eloquence, and thoughtfulness of the accumulated responses.
It is widely believed that our next president should be a distinguished scholar and teacher who understands the academy, engages with students as a visible participant in the life of the University community, and translates Jefferson's vision into 21st century realities. In addition, our next president must have a great passion for leading a public university.
The eighth president of the University of Virginia should be an individual who:
- hires and develops great people and builds effective teams that demonstrate a commitment to continuous improvement and an appreciation for diversity;
- articulates positions and builds consensus around a clearly and persuasively presented vision and ensures effective implementation;
- recognizes the importance of collaborative relationships on both state and federal levels of government-as well as in the local community-and understands the political environment in Virginia;
- comprehends the complexities and challenges of leading an academic medical center;
- speaks out on the higher education challenges in the commonwealth and in the nation-diversity, access, affordability, accountability, and the urgency for a new funding model to ensure financial stability;
- sees the transformative opportunities of linking the richness of academic capital to the international challenges we are facing in the 21st century;
- leads a campaign to identify and secure private resources to support the fundamentally important roles of teaching and research;
- understands the increasingly important role of the University's College at Wise;
- supports a balanced view of intercollegiate athletics that focuses on academic success, extraordinary sportsmanship, and athletic prowess; and
- embraces the culture and core values of the University-academic rigor, honor, civility and mutual respect, diversity, public service, and the student experience.
Reflections from University Faculty
Members of the Special Committee on the Nomination of a President understand that one person cannot possess all of the qualities and characteristics that have been laid out but look to the new president to build a team that will incorporate all of these qualities. We believe, however, that it is instructive to hear how our faculty consultation group summarized the qualities it would like to see in our next president:
"We need above all a person of courage who is not daunted but energized by the dynamic tensions that currently characterize this University: its unique combination of public mission with private initiative; its commitments to educational breadth and to the rigor and intensity of highly focused research; its dual needs to innovate freshly, even radically, and to sustain its finest traditions. The next president will best advance the University of Virginia into the new century who most fully grasps that these polarities, equally Jeffersonian, are ultimately complementary and that our future here hinges on their frank confrontation and creative resolution."
Procedure for Candidacy
Recruitment will continue until an appointment is made. Nominations, applications, and letters of interest should be submitted to R. William Funk & Associates via mail or e-mail. Confidential inquiries and questions should be directed to Bill Funk.
R. William Funk & Associates
100 Highland Park Village, Suite 200
Dallas, Texas 75205
The University of Virginia is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer strongly committed to diversity.
About the Board of Visitors and the Special Committee
The University's corporate name is The Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia. The Board of Visitors is the governing board of the University and its chair is the Rector of the University. The board is composed of 16 members appointed by the governor of the commonwealth, subject to confirmation by the General Assembly, for no more than two terms of four years. In addition, the Board of Visitors may appoint for a term of one year, a full-time student at the University of Virginia as a nonvoting member. Among other duties, the board selects the president of the University upon recommendation of the Special Committee on the Nomination of a President, which is chaired by the rector and includes at least five Board of Visitors members.
Eleven schools and the College at Wise
On April 12, 2007, Frank Batten Sr. made a $100 million gift to create the University's first new school in more than 50 years. The Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy will enable the University to address critical policy issues in Virginia, in the nation, and around the world. The primary goal of the school is to supply the nation with visionary leaders who can drive the policy innovation process, energize organizations, build inclusive coalitions, and translate good ideas into action.
The Batten School joins 10 other University schools: the School of Architecture; the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences; the McIntire School of Commerce; the School of Continuing and Professional Studies; the Curry School of Education; the School of Engineering & Applied Science; the Schools of Medicine and Nursing; the Darden School of Business; and the School of Law.
In the 2010 U.S. News rankings, the University was named No. 2 public and No. 24 among all national universities, both public and private; the McIntire School was ranked No. 6 (earlier it received the No. 1 spot from Business Week); Law ranked No. 10; Darden, No. 15 (Forbes ranked it No. 9, and The Wall Street Journal, No. 10); School of Nursing, No. 19; School of Medicine, No. 24, and Curry School, No. 24.
Here is a sampling of additional U.S. News rankings of the University's top-25 programs for 2010:
- McIntire School of Commerce: Management, 6; Finance, 8; Marketing, 8; and Accounting, 13.
- Law: International Law, 8; Tax Law, 11.
- Engineering: undergraduate programs in Biomedical Engineering, 18, Chemical Engineering, 23; graduate programs in Biomedical Engineering, 12, and Materials Science, 25.
- Darden: Management, 8; Executive MBA, 15; Marketing, 19.
- Curry: Graduate Programs, 24; Special Education, 4; Elementary Education, 5; Secondary Education, 6; Curriculum and Instruction, 10; Educational Policy, 13; Higher Education Administration, 19; Administration and Supervision, 24.
- College: English Department: Ph.D. Programs, 10; American Literature before 1865, 4; 18th-20th Century British Literature, 6; American Literature after 1865, 11; Medieval and Renaissance Literature, 11; African-American Literature, 12; Gender and Literature, 17. History Department: Ph.D. Programs, 20; U.S. Colonial History, 6; Modern U.S. History, 8. Psychology Department: Ph.D. Programs, 23; Developmental Psychology, 4; Social Psychology, 10.
Complete lists of University rankings can be found online at: http://www.virginia.edu/Facts/Glance_Rankings.html
The College of Arts & Sciences-the intellectual heart of the University as well as its largest school with more than 10,000 students and 750 faculty members-offers more than 50 undergraduate majors and concentrations and more than two dozen graduate programs, stretching from the study of the birth of the universe to the latest scientific and technological advances and encompassing the literatures and languages, history and arts, economics, and politics of the world's cultures.
The College is also the most reliant on state support. Darden and Law, on the other hand, worked closely with the University's administration several years ago to create a self-sufficiency model and no longer rely on state funding for their operations.
The College at Wise, formerly Clinch Valley College of the University of Virginia, is the only four-year, state-supported college in far Southwest Virginia and the only branch of the University of Virginia. Situated on 367 acres in Wise County, the College at Wise is an incredible example of the determination and perseverance of the Southwest Virginia region. Before the College was created in 1954, higher education was simply out of reach for most residents there. The college is now a vibrant senior institution ranked by U.S. News as one of the South's top public liberal arts colleges.
The College at Wise offers 29 majors, 29 minors, seven pre-professional programs and 23 teaching licensures. It currently enrolls 2,000 students and has 140 faculty members. For five consecutive years, students at the College at Wise have graduated with the lowest debt load of any public liberal arts college in the nation, according to U.S. News.
The Student Experience at U.Va.
"So what's in the water down in Charlottesville?" This headline in Fortune magazine several years ago about the University of Virginia speaks to the unique ethos that characterizes the student experience. Talented students enter the University as undergraduates and are expected to become involved, both in and out of the classroom. They are expected to go to office hours, to take advantage of the exceptional professors teaching their classes, and to seek out opportunities for undergraduate research. Outside of class, they are invested with the authority to run student government, community service, residential life, and the Honor and Judiciary systems, in addition to hundreds of student organizations that shape student life on the Grounds. They are responsible for and accountable to their peers in a way that is unmatched in higher education.
The systems in place, however, are rigorously upheld by staff who understand the careful balance of authority and accountability that is necessary for students to successfully fulfill their responsibilities. That balance allows U.Va. students to develop the character and leadership capacity recognized by graduate schools, top firms, and public service agencies across the globe.
In particular, self-governance and honor distinguish the student experience at the University from that of our peers. By electing to come here, all students are part of the Honor System and are expected to adhere to its underlying value-a system based on a "community of trust" that facilitates ethical conduct and decision-making, integrity, and civility in their daily actions and is enforced through a student-run Honor Committee, whose only sanction is expulsion.
At the University, students pursue opportunities that are defined by the core values we consider essential to citizen leadership: honor, self-governance, academic rigor, public service, diversity and multiculturalism, and health and wellness. We want these core values to define how they act and engage with others while here and to influence how they act and engage with others once they graduate.
U.Va. by the Numbers
Enrollment. On-Grounds total enrollment, 21,057; undergraduate enrollment: 13,762.
Undergraduate Admissions, Fall 2009. Total applications, 21,839; in-state applications, 7,786; total offers extended, 6,775; total offers accepted, 3,308. Among first-year students, 88.5 percent ranked in the top tenth of their secondary school classes. The median combined SAT score of the 2008-09 entering class was 1340.
Student Profile, Fall 2009. Undergraduates come from 48 states and 116 foreign countries. Virginia residents make up 69 percent of the undergraduate student body. Women make up 56 percent of the undergraduates. Student-to-faculty ratio is 15.2 to 1.
Graduation Rates. The six-year graduation rate for students who entered in fall 2002 is 92.9 percent. The six-year graduation rate for African-American students who entered in fall 2002 is 86 percent. For the 15th consecutive year, the University of Virginia graduated the highest percentage of African-American students of all public universities, according to a 2009 report in the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. It was ranked No. 8 among all universities, both public and private.
University's Operating Budget, 2009-10. The overall budget is $2.25 billion. That includes the Academic Division, $1.2 billion; Medical Center, $989.9 million; and the College at Wise, $34.7 million.
The Academic Division's state appropriation is 10 percent of its operating budget. State appropriations make up 6 percent of the University's overall budget.
University Endowment: The University of Virginia endowment provides sustainable private support for the institution's mission of teaching, research, service, and health care. The endowment consistently ranks among the five largest among public institutions and the 20 largest of all colleges and universities in the nation.
The endowment was created from private gifts, and its growth reflects both new gifts and investment returns. Most of the endowment is held in the Long-Term Pool managed by the University of Virginia Investment Management Company (UVIMCO). The primary investments in the pool are the University's core endowment, which is controlled by the Rector and Visitors and makes up 62 percent of the pool, the endowments of University-related foundations, and University operating funds. The Rector and Visitors endowment is currently valued at $2.5 billion; the total pooled endowment is $4.2 billion.
About 71 percent of the University's core endowment is restricted to donor-designated purposes, such as a particular school or program, a professorship, or a scholarship. Just over half the restricted endowment is designated for instruction, and almost a quarter is devoted to financial aid to students. The remaining 29 percent is unrestricted, and spending is at the discretion of the Board of Visitors.
In September, the Board approved a 5.5 percent payout, which represents $137.5 million. The payout rate has increased each year since 2006, when it was 3.7 percent. This will be the second largest distribution in University history.
The University Library. The University of Virginia Library is known for its innovative use of technology, services for faculty, and extraordinary special collections. There are 15 libraries across Grounds, in addition to Clemons, Alderman, and the Mary and David Harrison Institute for American History, Literature and Culture, which shares its home in the Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. The University library contains 5.1 million books and 17.3 million manuscripts and archives, and 337,295 texts and images in its digital collections.
U.Va. Terms and Traditions
The University of Virginia campus is known as the Grounds.
Thomas Jefferson's original buildings are called by the collective name he gave them: the Academical Village. The Rotunda, a half-scale adaptation of the Pantheon in Rome, is the centerpiece, with two parallel colonnades stretching to the south. Behind the columns, along covered walkways, are 54 student rooms, interspersed with 10 pavilions-stately faculty homes originally designed to have living quarters upstairs and classrooms downstairs. Each pavilion was identified with a subject to be studied and inhabited by the professor who taught that subject. Serpentine walls surround public gardens behind the pavilions.
Selected vice presidents and deans of the schools, as well as one senior faculty member, live in eight of the pavilions and continue to host classes, lectures, and University gatherings. One pavilion houses classrooms and faculty apartments; another is the faculty club.
Outside Pavilion VII, the University's oldest building, is the cornerstone, laid by Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe in 1817. It is engraved with each of their names.
The Lawn is the grassy terraced area stretching from the south side of the Rotunda to Old Cabell Hall. Lawn rooms are single residences reserved for fourth-year undergraduates chosen on the basis of their accomplishments and service to the University. The rooms are much like they were built-without many of today's amenities, although each has a working fireplace. Student residents are often seen in the early morning, wrapped in bathrobes, rushing along the brick sidewalks to the showers tucked behind the Lawn.
The University did not have a President until 1904 but relied instead on a member of the faculty to lead the institution. Jefferson did not believe a president was necessary; later Boards of Visitors decided otherwise.
Undergraduates are referred to as First Year, Second Year, Third Year, and Fourth Year instead of freshman, sophomore, junior, and senior.
"The Good Old Song" is the school anthem. The lyrics were written by Edward A. Craighill in 1895.
Sports teams also are known as the Cavaliers, and the school colors are orange and blue.
Only physicians are addressed as "Dr." University faculty are referred to as Mr., Ms., Miss, or Mrs. The founder is generally referred to as Mr. Jefferson.
The University awards no honorary degrees.
Graduates take (not receive) their degrees at Final Exercises. They walk the Lawn in an academic procession that takes place outside rain or shine. A Class Valediction ceremony takes place the day before Finals.
The University's first fraternity was established in 1852. Today, approximately 27 percent of our undergraduate students are members of 56 fraternal organizations that now include a multicultural sorority, an Asian-American fraternity, and African-American fraternities and sororities.
University students have a strong commitment to public service. Each week more than 3,000 students volunteer in the local community through Madison House, the University's 40-year-old student volunteer center. Last year, our students contributed more than 115,000 hours of public service throughout the Charlottesville-Albemarle area.