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Sixth-Grade Pact Allows U.Va. Grads To Repeat Family History

May 12, 1999 -- In sixth grade Charles John Oakeley Wodehouse III and Daniel Good Van Clief III made a promise to each other: to get into the University of Virginia and to room together, just as their dads had.

The boys' graduation on May 23 shows how seriously they took that promise and reflects the strong bond their fathers forged at U.Va. more than 20 years before.

In 1966 Charles John Oakeley Wodehouse Jr. was a self-assured first-year student at U.Va. An outgoing sort, he quickly became friends with fellow dorm resident Daniel Van Clief Jr. Soon the two -- "Chuck" and "D.G." -- were inseparable, sharing such common interests as fishing, surfing and traveling to Sweet Briar College to meet girls. They pledged the same fraternity, St. Elmo Hall, and lived together for three years.

On one trip to Sweet Briar, Wodehouse met Cami Crocker, who later arranged a blind date for D.G. with her sorority sister, Trish Neale. The two couples eventually married and both had sons in 1976.

Despite the Wodehouses living in Florida and the Van Cliefs in Kentucky, the couples stayed close and enjoyed vacations together. It was during one of those annual vacations that the boys pledged to room together at U.Va.

In 1995 both were accepted under early decision and have lived together throughout their four years. They see many of their dads' traits in themselves: they both love to fish and surf, and they both have enjoyed fraternity life. They are members of St. Anthony Hall.

Danny shares his dad's love for the horse industry. D.G. Van Clief Jr. grew up on a horse farm in Esmont, outside of Charlottesville. He is now president of the Breeders Cup, the championship of the horse-racing industry. The family has also kept the Esmont farm, where Danny and Charlie have worked together the last six summers.

Although the boys share common interests with their dads, there have been some differences in their U.Va. experiences. The younger generation has been active in student self-governance -- an interest their dads did not pursue. Charlie has been active on the University Judiciary Committee and Danny served on the Honor Committee. Danny was president of their fraternity, and Charlie served as vice president of the Inter-Fraternity Council.

"Dad was here during [Dean of Students Bob] Canevari's first year here. Dad was in Canevari's office because of some activities involving his fraternity. Twenty years later, I'm in the same office working to solve IFC problems. It's ironic that my dad was in the Dean of Students Office for doing bad things with his fraternity while I was there, trying to do good things for the fraternity," Charlie said. His dad is president of CSX Technologies in Jacksonville, FL.

The boys hope their paths will stay intertwined after graduation. Charlie, who will earn a B.A. in English with a Spanish minor, has secured a job in management training for CSR Construction in Sydney, Australia. Danny, who will earn a B.A. in history, hopes to enter the horse racing industry. "I'm confident that no matter which paths we take, we will still find time to visit each other. If our fathers' lives are any indication, that seems a safe assumption," Danny said.

For more information, contact the boys at (804) 984-5759 or (804) 979-1122. They will be gone May 15-20.

Contact: Ida Lee Wooteen, (804) 924-6857.

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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