Thanks to our friends at the Thomas Jefferson Center For The Protection of Free Expression for this video, which shows a mural of Stephen Colbert – keynote speaker for the 2013 Valedictory Exercises – appearing on the Free Speech Monument on the Downtown Mall in Charlottesville.
UPDATED, May 3, 5:05 p.m., to reflect “U.Va. Speaks” as one of two student-led projects receiving 2013 Jefferson Trust grants, and to correct the link to the UVA Today story on the 2013 Jefferson Trust grants.
The University is nothing if not a center for sharing ideas, information and knowledge.
Most often, this happens in classrooms. But there are other common forums for such exchanges: speeches and panel discussions, staples of academic life. (If you lump together enough speeches and panels, you can call it a “conference” or a “symposium.”) Even casual followers of UVA Today or the University calendar know that these things happen on Grounds pretty much on a daily basis. Even a person of independent means, with unlimited time, would have to clone him- or herself to be able to get to everything.
Typically, a professor or someone prominent in a field will come to town, share some wisdom for an hour or so, stimulate a lot of thought and discussion, and then … everyone leaves. Maybe someone took a few notes; maybe the speaker saved her text on her laptop; less often, someone may have audio- or videotaped the proceedings. But usually, the event is lost to the historical record.
As a U.Va. alumnus as well as an employee, I often hear from my school, the College of Arts & Sciences. A recent email highlighted the work of a couple of professors. One of them was particularly captivating, and I thought I would share it with a wider audience.
The article introduced studio art associate professor Lydia Moyer’s work this way:
When a tragedy first occurs, all eyes are on the site of the incident. But what happens to these places after the dust has settled? UVA Associate Studio Art Professor Lydia Moyer has spent years researching and creating a series of short documentaries exposing the landscapes of American tragedies, and has found that what is left behind after a tragedy can say much more about a community’s culture and values than what was there before it.
“Documentary” may not quite be the word to describe Moyer’s videos — they are more artful than that, though they are based in awful historic realities. Anyway, they are interesting, and haunting — especially given the news that we are constantly bombarded with, and our short attention spans. You can read more about Moyers’ work here, or you can go directly to her Vimeo channel and check out all five of the videos she has posted there.
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.
Today marks the 10th anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Iraq in the wake of the 9/11 terrorist attacks.
In the decade since, many officials in the Bush Administration have either published memoirs or sat for long interviews, producing tens of thousands of pages of information for future historians to sift through and mull over.
Or present historians. U.Va. history professor Melvyn Leffler, an expert on diplomatic history, has waded through about 25 memoirs of Bush Administration figures and added plenty of his own research. The result is an article in the new issue of Diplomatic History that highlights areas of agreement and disagreement among Bush officials on foreign-policy matters, including the Iraq War.
“A careful examination of the memoirs will impel scholars to interrogate some of their assumptions, reassess their beliefs, and refine their conclusions,” he writes.
It’s long and scholarly, but it’s certainly shorter than reading all those memoirs yourself.
(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.
We asked Fr. Gerald Fogarty, S.J., William R. Kenan Jr. Professor of Religious Studies and History (and all-around great guy), to send us his first thoughts on the new pope. Here’s what he wrote:
He is the first Jesuit, but has been more conservative than some. When he got the red hat in 2001, he did not join the two other Jesuits for the Jesuit celebrations, but that could have been due to a conflict. He is the first pope to be named Francis, but is this Francis of Assisi or Francis Xavier?
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.
Little-known facts on the Grounds: The University of Virginia is the home of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, which has its headquarters over near the Boar’s Head Inn. And VFH is the home of the official state folklorist.
In so doing, Bernardino has reached some historic ground.
According to the U.Va. athletic media relations department, “With this title, Bernardino now has 27 ACC championships, passing Frank Comfort of North Carolina for most ACC swimming and diving championships. This is also Bernardino’s 16th men’s title, which passes Don Easterling of N.C. State for the most ACC men’s swimming and diving crowns. He also has 11 women’s titles, which is second-most in the conference.
“Bernardino, who is in his 35th year at Virginia as head coach, now sits in fourth place in ACC history for coaching titles in any sport, behind only track and field/cross country coaches Dennis Craddock (40 for UNC and Virginia), Rollie Geiger (40 for N.C. State) and Jim Kehoe (38 for Maryland).”
The women’s NCAA Championships will be contested March 21-23, while the men’s national meet is March 28-30. Both meets will be held in Indianapolis, Ind.
There was one other event on Grounds that was notable in its own right, and probably would have been bigger news on many other days: Daphne Koller, the co-founder of Coursera, spoke at the Curry School about the online revolution in higher education. (In fact, U.Va. sometimes feels like Ground Zero for that revolution.)
Realizing that many of you could not sit at speeches all day, here’s the complete video of Koller’s talk.
U.Va.’s sixth straight title matches two streaks by North Carolina (1981-96 and 1991-96) for the most consecutive women’s ACC Championships. For U.Va. head coach Mark Bernardino, this is his 26th conference title — 15 men’s titles and 11 women’s crowns.
It probably won’t get much better for the Cavs’ ACC foes. Perdue was the only fourth-year to score for Virginia in the meet, meaning that Virginia is probably a prohibitive favorite to make it an unprecedented seven in a row next year.
On deck: The men’s championships, to be contested this weekend in Greensboro. Virginia will be looking to extend its streak of ACC titles to six, as well.