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"We wish to establish in the upper and healthier country, and more centrally for the state, a University on a plan so broad and liberal and modern, as to be worth patronizing with the public support." Thomas Jefferson

The University of Virginia, at the beginning of the twenty-first century, is a vigorous, modern institution, animated by the forward-looking spirit of its founder, Thomas Jefferson. Jefferson's powerful convictions--the idea that the university exists to train young people for public affairs and the belief that the liberal arts constitute the foundation for any education--continue to inspire its students and faculty and guide the development of its programs.

Jefferson was a man of many talents, and he expressed them fully in founding the University of Virginia in 1819; he outlined the institution's purpose, designed its buildings, supervised construction, and planned its curriculum. He also directed the recruitment of its initial faculty.

When classes began in 1825, with 68 students and a faculty of eight, the University of Virginia embodied dramatic new ideas in American higher education. In an era when colleges trained scholars for the clergy and academia, Jefferson dedicated his University to the education of citizens in practical affairs and public service. The innovative curriculum permitted the student a broader range of study than was available at other colleges and universities of the day, and Jefferson implemented novel ideas concerning student self-government and religious freedom.














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