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Chapter 1: University of Virginia

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, on the verge 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 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.

The University Grounds

Jefferson chose an undeveloped plot of land on the edge of Charlottesville on which to locate the University of Virginia. Jefferson was a skillful architect, a consummate builder, and an inveterate tinkerer. His belief in public service, his respect for the achievements of the past, and his sense of balance and proportion are expressed in the buildings he designed for his "academical village."

This educational community was built around a rectangular, terraced green -- the Lawn -- flanked by two continuous rows of identical, one-story rooms. These rows are accented by large buildings, the Pavilions, each in a different style. Both the rooms and the Pavilions open onto a colonnaded walkway fronting the Lawn. Behind each of the two rows of buildings are public gardens delineated by serpentine brick walls and backed by yet another set of rooms. The Rotunda, a half-scale model of the Roman Pantheon, closes off one end of the Lawn, while the south end was originally left open to a vista of the mountains.

The genius of Jefferson's design is that it integrates housing for students and faculty as well as classroom and library space into a single unit. Students lived on the Lawn and in the outer two rows of rooms, the Ranges. Faculty members lived in the Pavilions; the Rotunda held the library and classroom space.

Although the University has grown since Jefferson's time, the Lawn remains the intellectual and spiritual heart of the academical village and serves much of its original purpose. Students who have made special contributions to the University are awarded a Lawn room in their fourth-year; senior faculty and their families live in the Pavilions, where classes are also held; and graduate students live in the Ranges. The Rotunda's oval rooms and the Dome Room are used for meetings of the Board of Visitors, dinners, and other ceremonial occasions, as well as for student activities.

The special grace and character of Jefferson's design are widely recognized. As Ada Louise Huxtable has noted in the New York Times, the University "is probably the single most beautiful and effective architectural group of its kind in the country, or in the history of American building." In 1976, the American Institute of Architects proclaimed it one of the outstanding achievements in American architecture; in 1988, the Lawn was named to the prestigious World Heritage List.

The University Today

Although the University of Virginia has expanded to encompass more than one thousand acres, it still retains the intimacy that characterized the academic village. University planners have been careful to reserve open space for study and contemplation while erecting modern facilities for each of the six undergraduate schools.

Each year, the area attracts hundreds of thousands of tourists, who come to see the Grounds of the University, visit the homes of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe, tour local wineries, and hike through the Shenandoah National Park, just 20 miles west in the Blue Ridge Mountains.

Charlottesville has its own traditions. The community celebrates each spring with a Dogwood Festival and New Year's Eve with First Night Virginia fireworks and entertainment. Steeplechase fans attend the Foxfield Races and every spring, runners in the Charlottesville Ten-Miler rush through town toward the finish line at University Hall.

A pedestrian mall downtown offers fine dining, distinctive shops, and nightspots in a historical section of the city. In the Court Square area, lawyers and business people occupy offices in buildings dating back to the 1700s. The city is known for its fine restaurants, appealing to every taste and budget, and many establishments present nightly entertainment by local artists. The Virginia Festival of American Film, held at the University of Virginia, brings new visitors and celebrities to the area each fall, along with movies, seminars, and premieres.

Charlottesville is located 120 miles from Washington, D.C. and 70 miles from Richmond. Airlines offer more than 30 flights daily to such destinations as New York, Washington, D.C., Baltimore, Atlanta, Charlotte, and Pittsburgh. Major highways convenient to the city include Interstate 64 and U.S. Route 29. Nationwide bus and railway service for passengers and freight is provided by Greyhound, AMTRAK, Norfolk Southern, and the CSX Corporation. The Charlottesville Transit System and the University Transit System provide bus service on Grounds and around the city. Visitors to the University are always welcome. On-street parking is limited, so visitors are encouraged to park at the paid hourly Central Grounds Parking Garage off Emmet Street.

Maps of the University are available at the University's Visitor/Information Center at 2304 Ivy Road in Charlottesville (follow signs from 29N or Interstate 64 to the University Information Center). Brochures about the University and walking tours of the Rotunda, the Pavilion Gardens, and the historic Academical Village can be obtained at the Rotunda. If you are interested in books about Virginia, Thomas Jefferson, and the University of Virginia, visit the University Bookstore, located in the Central Grounds Parking Garage.

For the high-tech viewer, check out the electronic kiosk in the lobby outside the University Bookstore in the Central Grounds Parking Garage. It offers short video clips about the University, an electronic calendar, and map and bus routes.

The Electronic University

Internet enthusiasts can access a great deal of information about the University of Virginia through its home page on the World Wide Web.

You can view electronic versions of all of the undergraduate publications, and even print out an undergraduate application. Admissions information for the graduate and professional student is also available.

The full texts of the Undergraduate and Graduate Record(s) are published through the Office of the Registrar's home page.

The Faculty

In creating an academical village, Jefferson sought scholars who had distinguished reputations and were willing to live among their students -- an unusual, but from Jefferson's point of view, essential combination. The University of Virginia faculty, one of the most distinguished groups of scholars and researchers in the country, still exemplifies this tradition.

The University's full-time faculty numbers almost 2,000, most of whom conduct research and publish their findings on a regular basis. The University has established more than 383 endowed professorships for outstanding scholars, and the Shannon Center for Advanced Studies plays a major role in attracting and retaining scholars of national and international distinction.

In 1995, the prestigious National Research Council, which evaluates 274 institutions every ten years, placed our graduate programs in English, religious studies, German, Spanish and Portuguese, and physiology among the top ten programs in their fields, ratings based in large part on the quality of the faculty.

In its September 1996 issue, U.S. News & World Report ranked the University of Virginia as the nation's top public institution for the third consecutive year, placing it 21st among 229 public and private colleges and universities. The graduate issue of U.S. News further ranked the School of Law as the second public law school in the country, ranking eighth overall. The magazine placed the Darden Graduate School of Business eleventh overall and ranked its non-degree Executive Education program sixth in the country. The Master's of Architecture program was ranked tenth.

The University continues to recruit faculty of the highest caliber. This year, NASA astronaut and University alumna, Kathryn Thornton accepted a professorship in the School of Engineering and Applied Science. She has been named director of the Center for Science Education, an interdisciplinary project created to promote greater interest in the sciences among elementary and secondary school students. Dr. Leland Chung, generally regarded as one of the best cancer scientists in the world, moved his laboratory to the University of Virginia from the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. Dr. Chung is reported to be one or two years away from testing a prostate cancer vaccine on humans.

University faculty members overall have received many national and international awards. This year two faculty members joined nineteen other members of the University of Virginia faculty as members of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences: J. David Summers, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of History of Art; and Robert L. Wilken, the William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of the History of Christianity. Rita Dove, Commonwealth Professor of English, and Patricia Meyer Spacks, the E.F. Shannon Professor of English, were elected to the American Philosophical society, our nations's oldest learned society. Rita Dove was also honored by President Bill Clinton, with her receipt of the 1996 Charles Frankel Prize for leadership in the humanities. Karen V.H. Parshall, an associate professor of history and mathematics, and David Vander Meulen, an associate professor of English, were among the 158 artists, scholars, and scientists nationwide to receive the prestigious John Simon Guggenheim Memorial scholarships, awarded to promising scholars whose research has led to significant advances in their field. James F. Childress, the Edwin B. Kyle Professor of Religious Studies and professor of medical education, was recently appointed by President Bill Clinton to a national advisory panel on biomedical ethics. Pamela S. Karlan, the Roy L. & Rosamond Woodruff Morgan Research Professor of Law, received one of the Outstanding Faculty Awards from the state of Virginia, the commonwealth's highest honor for college and university faculty, joining seven other University of Virginia faculty honored in previous years. A biologist and a physicist from the University were among six individuals to receive the state's highest science awards this year, presented by the Science Museum of Virginia and the Commonwealth. Oscar L. Miller, Jr., the Lewis and Clark Professor of Biology and a member of the National Academy of Sciences, received the Life Achievement Award and Thomas F. Gallagher, the Jesse W. Beams Professor of Physics, was named a 1997 Virginia Outstanding Scientist.

Despite the demands of research and writing, University faculty are remarkably attentive to the needs of their students. In addition to their teaching responsibilities, faculty members serve as academic advisors. Professors routinely post office hours, and University of Virginia students do not hesitate to use them. It's not unusual to encounter students clustered in the hall outside a professor's office, waiting for a chance to discuss papers or review classwork.

Student Achievement

The quality of the student body is evident in the awards and honors many of them receive. The University has graduated 41 Rhodes Scholars, the highest number graduated by state universities. The University is attracting some of the very best students in the country through the merit-based Jefferson Scholars Program.

Four years at the University of Virginia prepares students well for becoming adults who are thinking, contributing members of society. Whether they go directly to a job (many do), teach English in Africa for the year, enroll in law or medical school (to which University of Virginia students are accepted at well above the national average), or enter graduate school to pursue the scholarly life as a profession, their undergraduate years at Virginia provide the chance to explore subjects and ideas that will lay the foundation for their future careers and lives.


A member of the highly-competitive Atlantic Coast Conference, Virginia fields 12 intercollegiate sports for men and 12 for women. The newest addition is women's crew, which began varsity competition during the 1995-96 academic year.

The overall success of Virginia's varsity teams in recent years can be matched by few schools in the country. Over the past eight years alone, U.Va. has claimed five national championships in men's soccer and two in women's lacrosse. In 1993, Virginia became the first school in NCAA history to win three consecutive national men's soccer titles. Remarkably, the Cavaliers topped that achievement in 1994 by capturing their fourth national title in a row and fifth in six years.

The Virginia football team has made eight bowl appearances in the last ten years. Most recently, the Cavaliers appeared in the 1996 Carquest Bowl. U.Va. finished the 1996 season with a 7-5 record, becoming the only team in ACC history to post 10 consecutive seasons of seven or more wins. In 1995, the Cavaliers defeated Georgia 34-27 in the 1995 Peach Bowl and were co-ACC champions. Among U.Va's 1995 regular season victories was a 33-28 win over then second-ranked Florida State. In 1990, U.Va. climbed to number one in the regular season national polls (Associated Press and United Press International) and played Tennessee in the 1991 USF&G Sugar Bowl. The 1989 Cavaliers won a share of U.Va.'s first ever ACC championship and met Illinois in the 1990 Florida Citrus Bowl. Off the field, Virginia has been honored every year since 1984 by the College Football Association for its graduation rate involving scholarship football players.

The 1996-97 men's basketball team advanced to the first round of the NCAA Tournament. It was Virginia's 18th postseason appearance (NCAA or NIT) in the last 20 seasons. Virginia won a share of the ACC regular season championship in 1994-95 and advanced to the finals of the NCAA Midwest Region Tournament. U.Va. has won two National Invitation Tournament championships (in 1980 and 1992) and has reached the NCAA Final Four twice (in 1981 and 1984).

The women's basketball team made its 14th consecutive trip to NCAA postseason play in 1996-97, advancing to the semifinals of the West Region Tournament. U.Va. won ACC Tournament titles in 1990, 1992 and 1993, and reached the NCAA Final Four three consecutive years, from 1990-92. Virginia regularly wins its share of state, conference and national honors in many other sports as well. At the same time, U.Va. student-athletes graduate at a rate comparable to that of the University's entire student body.

University and Community Arts

The University contributes to the cultural milieu with a wide range of events sponsored by academic departments and student groups. Among these are the Tuesday Evening Concert Series; the University Union Speakers Series; talks by government officials and public figures sponsored by the Student Legal Forum; performances by several student singing groups; and a Collegium Musicum baroque group sponsored by the music department.

The University's Bayly Art Museum houses broad-ranging art collections, which include outstanding examples of twentieth-century American art and European art from Jefferson's era. The Bayly's growing permanent collections are supplemented by frequent visiting shows; the Fayerweather Gallery, which displays student and faculty art and other exhibits; and several private galleries in the city of Charlottesville.

Dramatic productions are presented year round by professional and local groups, including the highly acclaimed Heritage Repertory Theatre and the Virginia Players, in the University's well-equipped drama and fine arts center. The theatre department regularly presents drama, musicals, and small workshop productions by students in the Culbreth and Helms theatres.

The Honor System

The honor system is one of the University's oldest and most venerated traditions. Based on the fundamental assumption that anyone who enrolls at the University subscribes to a code of ethics forbidding lying, cheating, and stealing, the honor system allows students the kind of personal freedom possible only in an environment where respect and trust are presumed. For more than 150 years this system has been administered by students.

The Libraries

University of Virginia libraries play an integral role in the University's ability to maintain its standing as a top-ranked public institution of higher education. Thirteen libraries serve the University of Virginia's undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. They house more than 4 million volumes and receive more than 47,000 periodicals and newspapers from around the world. The general library collections in the social sciences and humanities are housed in Alderman Library, together with the library's depository collections of state, federal, and intra-national documents. Alderman also houses the University's world-renowned collections of manuscripts and rare books. The Science and Engineering Library and its branches (Biology/Psychology, Chemistry, Math/Astronomy, and Physics), serve the research needs of the University's scientific community. Additional subject collections and services are offered by the Education, Fine Arts, and Music libraries. The Clemons Library provides a general collection of frequently-used materials, reserve reading, video and audio materials, and computers and reading machines for the visually disabled.

The library needs of the University's professional schools are served by the Claude Moore Health Sciences Library, the Camp Library in the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, and the Arthur J. Morris Law Library.

Libraries at the University of Virginia are committed to the provision of cutting-edge access to information through technology. On-line catalogs of the collections and on-line access to newspaper and journal articles are available in all library locations, and may also be accessed from home and office computers. Six electronic centers offer library users assistance with innovative technologies such as digitizing images and text and combining sound and video for multimedia presentations. User education programs assist the University community in expanding its information literacy base.

Information Technology and Communication Computer Facilities

Information Technology and Communication (ITC) supports the University's instructional and research activities, administrative processes, and facilitates communication and transmission of information for all University departments. To perform these functions, ITC maintains a wide variety of computing environments and peripheral equipment that is available to faculty, students and staff. Included are: an IBM 3090/400E, MVS/XA operating systems; IBM RiscSystem/6000s, AIX operating system; Sun-4 and Sun-3 workstations, SunOS operating system; NeXT workstations, Mach/BSD 4.3 UNIX operating system; IBM-PC compatible microcomputers, MS-DOS; Apple Macintoshes; and graphics equipment.

The majority of the microcomputers, Macintoshes, workstations, printers and graphics equipment supported by ITC are located in public facilities throughout the Grounds for ease of student access. Software available for these systems includes programming languages as well as word processing, network communications, spreadsheet, mathematical, statistical and graphics packages.

Access to the Internet is provided on all systems via high-speed interactive terminal access (telnet), file transfer (ftp), electronic mail, Usenet news, the World-Wide Web (WWW), and a Grounds-Wide Information system (GWIS) based on Gopher and WWW protocols. Other on-line information retrieval systems include the University Library Catalog (VIRGO) and the University directory (whois). Consulting, training, and documentation are available for these services.


Noted for its world-class research capabilities, the University of Virginia is engaged in a wide range of research in medicine, engineering, and the arts and sciences. Cutting-edge research and scholarship by the University's excellent faculty bring vibrance to the classroom and national prominence to academic programs.

Research is an integral part of the educational process at the University for both graduate and undergraduate students. Opportunities to participate in research are available for both graduates and undergraduates and result in published papers even for some undergraduates.

A distinct feature of the University's research community is the extent to which it fosters interdisciplinary research. A number of research centers and institutes have been established in recent years to facilitate collaboration among faculty who have common research interests and objectives but who are located in different academic units. One outcome of this interdisciplinary emphasis has been the growth in recent years of joint academic programs leading to joint degrees.

Exciting research is undertaken jointly by faculty from engineering and from medicine in a department that bridges academic divisions, and other engineering faculty have research ties with environmental sciences or physics faculty. Medical faculty and biology faculty work closely together on a variety of research projects as do physics and chemistry faculty. Research collaborations are common among non-scientists as well. Law faculty work in conjunction with business faculty and have launched a center jointly with psychology faculty. Business faculty and faculty from various humanities departments bring their separate viewpoints and research strategies to bear on common issues. Interdisciplinary research provides opportunities for shared use of facilities, synergism in research efforts and augmented funding.

In fiscal year 1995-96, research at the University was supported by over 1700 separate awards totaling $141 million dollars from federal and state agencies, industry and foundations. This represents an increase in both the total dollar amount and the average size of each grant in recent years and, given the reality of shrinking available research funding, reflects the University's growing research stature and prominence.

The University demonstrates its commitment to research by providing internal financial funding in certain circumstances. The Academic Enhancement Program makes substantial three-year grants to support the development of innovative ideas by selected faculty who subsequently have competed successfully for outside funding. The University also provides funding for particularly meritorious research which might otherwise have brief funding interruptions, thus maintaining continuity in important, on-going projects. Through the Bankard Foundation endowment, year-long research grants support research in economics and government studies and in another program. Summer Grants support faculty engaged in research in the humanities and social sciences.

An excellent University Library System, consisting of thirteen libraries, support research efforts at the University with a full range of information services including remote accessible on-line catalogs, computerized literature search capability, inter-library loan and delivery services, and electronic text and digital media centers.

The knowledge being uncovered and the technology being developed today at the University of Virginia will play a vital role in how we live in the twenty-first century.

Oak Ridge Associated Universities

Since 1946, students and faculty of the University of Virginia have benefited from its membership in Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU). ORAU is a consortium of colleges and universities and a management and operating contractor for the United States Department of Energy (DOE) located in Oak Ridge, Tenessee. ORAU works with its member institutions to help their students and faculty gain access to federal research facilities throughout the country; to keep its members informed about opportunities for fellowship, scholarship, and research appointments; and to organize alliances among its members.

Through Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, the DOE facility that ORAU manages, undergraduates, graduates, postgraduates, as well as faculty enjoy access to a multitude of opportunities for study and research. Students can participate in programs covering a wide variety of disciplines including business, earth sciences, biomedical sciences, nuclear chemistry, and mathematics. Appointment and program length range from one month to four years. Many of these programs are especially designed to increase the numbers of underrepresented minority students pursuing degrees in science-and engineering-related disciplines. A comprehensive listing of these programs and other opportunities, their disciplines, and details on locations and benefits can be found in the Resource Guide, which is available on-line or by calling either of the contacts below.

ORAU's Office of Higher Education Initiatives seeks opportunities for partnerships and alliances among ORAU's members, private industry, and major federal facilities. Activities include faculty development programs, such as the Junior Faculty Enhancement Awards and the Visiting Industrial Scientist Program, and various services to chief research officers.

For more information about ORAU and its programs, contact Mr. Gene D. Block, ORAU Council member, at 804-924-3606; contact Monnie E. Champion, ORAU Corporate Secretary, at 423-576-3306; or the ORAU on-line site at http://www.orau.gov.


The University of Virginia was chartered by the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1819. It is accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools to award baccalaureate, master's and doctoral degrees. The University is one of a select group of 58 American and Canadian universities chosen for membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities. The Master of Landscape Architecture is accredited by the American Society of Landscape Architecture, Landscape Architecture Accreditation Board. The Master of Architecture degree is accredited by the National Architectural Accreditation Board. The Urban and Environmental Planning degree program is accredited by the Planning Accreditation Board of the Association of Collegiate Schools of Planning. The Curry School of Education and all of its programs to prepare school personnel are accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.

In addition, individual program specializations are accredited by such organizations as the American Speech, Language and Hearing Association, the National Athletic Training Association and the Council for Exceptional Children. The McIntire School of Commerce and the Colgate Darden Graduate School of Business Administration are accredited by the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business. The School of Law is accredited by the American Bar Association and the American Association of Law Schools. The engineering degree programs in the School of Engineering and Applied Science are accredited by the Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology. The School of Nursing is accredited by the National League for Nursing and the Virginia State Board of Nursing. The chemistry and music programs in the College of Arts and Sciences are accredited by the American Chemical Society and the National Association of Schools of Music, respectively. The M.D. degree in the School of Medicine is accredited by the Liaison Committee on Medical Education (representing the Council on Medical Education of the American Medical Association and Executive Council of the Association of American Medical Colleges).