And speaking of high-fives, the nation celebrated — sort of – National High-Five Day last Thursday, though at that point folks weren’t in much of a mood to celebrate with all the explosions going on (the day ended up being dedicated to the victims of the Boston Marathon bombings). Nevertheless, the event originated at U.Va., and we’re proud to see it continue and spread.
Everyone loves a happy ending, and that is what was delivered Sunday in Paris. U.Va. alum Charlie Shiflett, battling a wretched stomach flu, soldiered across the finish line at the 37th annual Paris Marathon, which he ran to raise money for U.Va’s Sydney Elizabeth Owens memorial scholarship fund, as we reported earlier.
In an email, Shiflett said a bout with the stomach flu hobbled his performance. “The race … well it went, and I crossed the finish line and I couldn’t have done it if Syd wasn’t there in spirit carrying me across,” he wrote.
Wahoos never seem to forget the deep friendships they made while on Grounds, and Charlie Shiflett is no exception.
Shiflett, who graduated in 2009 with degrees in history and engineering business, was close friends with classmate Sydney Elizabeth Owens (pictured at right), who died in January 2012 in a Colorado skiing accident.
Shiflett said in an email that he and Owens shared many common passions, including international travel and marathon running.
In 2010, Owens completed the Kiawah Island, S.C. marathon wearing the number 4848 on her racing bib. In her honor, Shiflett is running the Paris Marathon April 7, and is seeking to raise $4,848 for a U.Va. memorial scholarship created in her name.
“She was everything a student and citizen of the world embodied,” Shiflett wrote. He has created a website, “26.2 Miles in Paris for #4848: A Marathon for Sydney Owens,” where people can learn more about Owens and donate to the fund.
Yesterday evening, U.Va.’s Office of Admission released its second round of admissions decisions, offering 8,528 high school seniors a place in the Class of 2017. You can get more of the numbers from Dean J’s Notes from Peabody blog, but suffice it to say that it’s a strong group: 95.3 percent of those offered ranked in the top 10 percent of their class, and the SAT scores for the middle 50 percent of those offered admission ranged from 1,990 to 2,230 (on a 2,400-point scale).
The release of the decisions came well before the April 1 announced deadline, relieving about 10 days worth of stress. Congrats to the future Wahoos! For those who did not get in, we certainly wish you the best of luck in finding a school that “fits.” Although rejection is usually painful, it is rarely fatal — and often, with the right attitude, leads to something better.
Probably not coincidentally, a new feature film, “Admission,” opens today, starring U.Va. alumna Tina Fey. According to the IMDb description, “A Princeton admission officer who is up for a major promotion takes a professional risk after she meets a college-bound alternative school kid who just might be the son she gave up years ago in a secret adoption.” (Trailer here.)
All week, Fey has been making the rounds to promote the film, frequently referencing her own days on Grounds. One of her stops included fellow alumna Katie Couric’s show, “Katie.” Not surprisingly, their chat quickly turned to their U.Va. days, and how they found their places at the University:
So here’s hoping that somewhere among those 8,528 students who got good news yesterday is the next Tina Fey, or Katie Couric, or someone who finds their own place on the list of notable U.Va. alumni.
(UPDATED, March 15, 11:48 p.m., to add George Martin to “On the Move” list)
Earlier this month, Virginia Business magazine published its list of the 50 most influential Virginians. It excluded politicians and college presidents — “Of course, these people are influential, but there are so many of them, they would have dominated a list of 50,” the authors explained — so what remained were largely philanthropists, lawyers and titans of industry.
And two college professors.
One is George Mason University economist Stephen Fuller, who direct’s the school’s Center for Regional Analysis.
The other? U.Va.’s own oft-quoted pundit Larry Sabato (pictured), politics professor and director of the U.Va. Center for Politics, one of a handful on the list whose entries were expanded and spotlighted.
First, let’s state the obvious: We can all agree that U.Va. alumna Melissa Stark is gorgeous.
But that’s not why the NFL Network sought her out to host a pre-game show, and is reportedly looking for ways to expand her presence on its network. Stark knows football, and she is a thoroughly professional broadcaster. Her looks may catch your eye, but her knowledge keeps you tuned in.
And she’s doing it all while focusing on raising her children.
Often, there are interesting conditions: the Hess-Newman-Jargowsky-Stoker Scholarship – Class of 2001 offers $2,000 for students whose lives have been touched by cancer, while the Robert Adams Bradford Scholarship offers $10,000 for intellectuals from the College of Arts & Sciences who have leadership and citizenship skills and hail from from New England or Wisconsin. There are a couple intended for surviving family members of the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Many of the awards are geared toward upper-class students.
Several have application deadlines in March and April, so now is the time to look things over. You can even apply online through the webpage.
For many of her fans, Beyoncé’s halftime show at Super Bowl XLVII in New Orleans on Sunday was perhaps the game’s finest moment. She brought her A-game to the event, performing a medley of her hits before being joined by Destiny’s Child bandmates.
The show featured plenty of fire, ice and smoke, and used lots of energy to light up the stage. After the power outage during the Super Bowl’s second half, broadcast and online commentators even joked that Beyoncé’s electrifying performance was to blame. (For the record, stadium officials have said that the performance did not cause the outage, as the halftime show brought its own generators.)
Beyoncé appeared on a rising platform, and was clad in an all-black ensemble with heels and a leather get-up. Her outfit, along with the costumes of her numerous fellow dancers and performers, underscored the halftime theme of female empowerment.
U.Va. sports fans have long flocked to online message boards — most prominently those maintained by The Sabre — to discuss what’s on their minds.
Now the U.Va. Alumni Association has launched its own version to discuss all things related to the University. This morning, an email sent to alumni announced the opening of Alumni Forum, “an online venue for you to discuss topics and events related to the University of Virginia in an open forum. You may post a topic for discussion among fellow alumni and comment on other topics of interest.”
As of this writing, there were already threads on honor at U.Va., the political biases of faculty members, the SACS accreditation warning, campus ministry outreach and the role of dorm construction in the rising cost of tuition.
Let’s hope U.Va. alums can exchange views with civility, rationality and good humor.
The winter issue of the University of Virginia Magazine is out and should be in mailboxes soon. The cover story focuses on the effort to restore the Rotunda roof, putting it into historical perspective. Apparently, the darned thing has always leaked, and this is just the latest attempt to fix it.
It’s often said in the newspaper world that “news is what happens in the editor’s backyard” — suggesting that whatever an editor is personally experiencing at any given time is likely to find it’s way into print soon thereafter.
Well, this editor has been hip-deep in alumni magazines lately, having volunteered to help judge an awards contest. (Helpful hint: Never volunteer to judge a magazine awards contest, unless you have hours upon hours to kill.)
So when I came across a note about the latest edition of Curry School of Education‘s alumni magazine, it did pique my interest a little bit.
Here’s why: Unlike the mags I have been poring over, it’s all online. Yes, untold numbers of trees are still alive because the school chose to render its feature stories, news briefs and even its alumni notes in pixels instead of print.
Check it out, and then let us know what you think. Are you more or less likely to read an alumni magazine online? How is the experience different?
Mark Johnson is a busy — and successful — Hollywood producer, working on between two and four films a year. He makes time for two things: chairing the Foreign Language Film Award Committee for the Oscars, and the Virginia Film Festival.
A 1971 graduate of U.Va.’s College of Arts & Sciences, Johnson has been coming to the festival since it started in 1987. He’ll be there again Thursday when the 2012 festival kicks off with a screening of his new film, “Not Fade Away.”
He’ll also be given a couple of nice honors. Virginia Gov. Robert F. McDonnell has issued a proclamation in his honor, and the festival itself will present him with a silver-anniversary award.
Just in case you haven’t yet had your fill of political drama …
A couple of U.Va. alumni are behind the local performance of “Stanley Ann,” a one-woman show that will be staged Thursday, Friday and Saturday at The Bridge PAI in Charlottesville.
The play, penned by 1994 U.Va. graduate Mike Kindle, draws from President Obama’s autobiography, “Dreams From My Father,” and other sources to tell the story of Obama’s mother, Stanley Ann Dunham. The show’s press release lays out her remarkable life: “She married first a Kenyan, and then an Indonesian student at a time when interracial marriage was illegal in many states. She then moved to Indonesia, later sending her son back to the U.S. to be educated. Later she returned herself to study anthropology, and went on to become one of the developers of microfinance, small loans given to village women in the Third World.”
U.Va. alum Geoffrey Johnson can often be found running through the streets these days as he trains for the Nov. 4 New York City marathon. Beside finishing, the 2010 graduate has another goal: to raise money for Madison House, U.Va.’s student volunteer services center.
On Johnson’s website, supporters can follow his training progress and watch an amusing video in which he decides to run for the program he says he still holds dearly. He also notes that he’ll be “running on plants” as a no-meat athlete, in support of sustainable environmental practices. Continue reading…