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."
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