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The University of Virginia Community

The University of Virginia was founded in 1819 by Thomas Jefferson, who outlined the institution’s purpose, designed its original buildings, supervised the construction, planned the curriculum and directed the recruitment of its first faculty. As the first Rector of the University, Mr. Jefferson presided over the school’s governing body, known as the Board of Visitors. James Madison and James Monroe were members of the Board of Visitors in the University’s early years. Mr. Jefferson designed what he referred to as his “academical village” to house teachers and students alike in four long rows of rooms, with larger components (“pavilions”) providing classrooms. The Rotunda, a half-scale version of the Pantheon, is the centerpiece of the historic Central Grounds. In 1976 the American Institute of Architects voted the Rotunda to be the outstanding achievement of American architecture. These historic buildings were named to the prestigious World Heritage List in 1988. When it opened for classes in 1825, the University of Virginia represented a dramatic innovation in American education. In an era when colleges trained students almost exclusively for teaching and the ministry, Thomas Jefferson dedicated his University to the education of leaders in practical affairs and public service.

The University of Virginia is made up of 11 schools in Charlottesville, plus the College at Wise in southwest Virginia. U.Va. offers 56 bachelor’s degrees in 53 fields, 91 master’s degrees in 63 fields, and 55 doctoral degrees in 52 fields. Five educational specialist degrees and two professional degrees, in law and medicine, are also offered. The University’s 11 schools include the School of Architecture, College of Arts and Sciences, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, Curry School of Education, Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, School of Engineering and Applied Science, McIntire School of Commerce, Basic Medical Sciences, School of Nursing, and School of Continuing and Professional Studies. The two additional specialist degrees are through the School of Law and School of Medicine.

For the 2015-2016 academic year, total student enrollment was 21,985 students, consisting of 15,669 undergraduate students and 6,316 graduate and professional degree students. U.Va. is ranked as the #3 Best Public National University (2016 US News and World Report). The undergraduate class consisted of 68% Virginia residents, with 41% living in University housing. U.Va. is a predominately white university at 71.6% Caucasian, 12% Asian American, 6% African American, 5.7% Hispanic, and 4.3% Multi-Racial. Over 28% of the University represents minority ethnicities, and CAPS sees students in similar ratios.

U.Va. students came from 50 states and 150 countries. The University of Virginia is proud to have one of the highest African-American student graduation rates of any major public university.

Teresa A. Sullivan, a leading scholar in labor force demography and former provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Michigan, took office as the University of Virginia's eighth president on August 1, 2010.

The University of Virginia is located in the city of Charlottesville in central Virginia, which, including surrounding Albemarle County, has a population of approximately 100,000. Charlottesville is located 115 miles from Washington, D.C. and 70 miles from the Richmond, Virginia’s state capitol.

Charlottesville is rich in cultural activities, including fine restaurants, an annual international film festival, and an array of musical and theatrical venues. The John Paul Jones area, completed in 2006 and home to the UVa basketball teams, also attracts many of the biggest acts in live entertainment, including Dave Matthews Band, Lady Gaga, Kenny Chesney, Justin Timberlake, Jay-Z, Bruce Springsteen, Keith Urban, George Strait, and The Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The Charlottesville area is also replete with historically significant sites, such as Thomas Jefferson’s home, Monticello, several civil war battle sites, and well-known colonial era sites such as Williamsburg and Jamestown. Charlottesville is also known for the beauty of the countryside, with the Blue Ridge Mountains and the Appalachian Trail only a 30 minute drive away.

For more details about U.Va., feel free to peruse U.Va. Facts and Figures, and for information about the Charlottesville area, check out Visit Charlottesville.

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