University of Virginia: An Introduction
History  |  The University Grounds  |  The University Today  |  The Electronic University
The Faculty  |  Student Achievement  |  Athletics  |  University and Community Arts
The Honor System  |  The Libraries  |  Information Technology and Communication Computer Facilities
Research  |  Public Service and Outreach  |  Accreditation  |  Useful Websites

"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, at the beginning 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 initial 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, known as the Ranges. Faculty members lived in the Pavilions, while 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 noted in the, 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 "the proudest achievement in American architecture in the past 200 years"; in 1987, 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 academical 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 Film Festival brings new visitors and celebrities to the area each fall, along with movies, seminars, and premieres. The Virginia Festival of the Book brings poets, writers, and novelists to Charlottesville each spring.

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., Philadelphia, Atlanta, Detroit, Cincinnati, 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 Service and the University Transit Service 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 for visitors 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). Bulk quantities can be purchased by calling (434) 982-4925. Brochures about the University and walking tours of the Rotunda, the Pavilion Gardens, and the historic Academical Village can be obtained at the Rotunda. Books about Virginia, Thomas Jefferson, and the University of Virginia may be purchased at the University Bookstore, located atop the Central Grounds Parking Garage.



The Electronic University


Internet enthusiasts can access a great deal of information about the University through its online site: www.virginia.edu.

You can view electronic versions of all of the undergraduate publications, and even print out an undergraduate application (www.virginia.edu/undergradadmission/apply.html). Admissions information for the graduate and professional student is also available (www.virginia.edu/gradstudents.html).

For more information about the University, check out the Facts at a Glance (www.virginia.edu/Facts/) and Statistics & Facts (www.virginia.edu/stats&facts/) online sites. The University supports two events web calendars (www.virginia.edu/Calendar/) and online maps of the Grounds (www.virginia.edu/Map/).



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 instructional/research faculty numbers approximately 1,900, most of whom conduct research and publish their findings on a regular basis. The University has established approximately 460 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. These ratings will not be done again until 2005.

In its September, 2002 issue, U.S. News & World Report once again ranked the University of Virginia as one of the nation's top public institutions, placing it 23rd among 249 public and private colleges and universities, and second among all public universities. The McIntire School of Commerce ranked fifth in the country among undergraduate business schools, tied with the University of North Carolina.. The 2002 graduate issue of U.S. News further ranked the School of Law seventh among all public and private law schools, tied with the University of Michigan, the University of Pennsylvania and the University of California at Berkeley. The magazine placed the Darden Graduate School of Business Administration tenth overall, among all business schools. The Curry School of Education was ranked nineteenth overall among schools of education. In 1997, the last year programs in the Arts and Architecture were ranked, the University's Master of Architecture Program was ranked sixth overall, tied with Berkeley and Rice. The Master's Program in Creative Writing was ranked fourth overall, tied with Columbia. In Psychology, the graduate program in Developmental Psychology was ranked fifth overall and the graduate program in Clinical Psychology was ranked ninth overall.

University faculty members this past year have continued to receive many national and international awards. This year, Charles Wright, Souder Family Professor of English, was elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, joining approximately twenty-nine other members of the University of Virginia previously elected. Ladislau Steiner, Alumni Professor of Neurosurgery, received the Sugita Award for his work on the Gamma knife. Barry Condron, Assistant Professor of Biology, was one of five people nationwide to receive the William Keck Foundation's Distinguished Young Scholars in Medical Research Award. Filmmaker Kevin J. Everson, Assistant Professor of Art, received a 2001-02 Rome Prize. P. Todd Stukenberg, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, was named a Pew Scholar in the Biomedical Sciences. David Wotton, Assistant Professor of Biochemistry, was selected for a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. Janine Jagger, the Becton Dickinson Professor of Health Care, was the recipient of one of the prestigious MacArthur Foundation Fellowships. George Garrett, the Henry Hoyns Professor of Creative Writing Emeritus, was named Poet Laureate of Virginia. R. Scott Jones, the S. Hurt Watts Professor of Surgery, became the eighty-second President of the American College of Surgeons. Madge M. Jones, Barbara Brodie Professor of Nursing and Daniel Hallahan, Cavalier Distinguished Professor of Eudcation, both received the Commonwealth's Outstanding Faculty Teaching Awards; and Michael Menaker, Commonwealth Professor of Biology, received the Commonwealth's Outstanding Scientist Lifetime Achievement Award.

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 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 43 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 prepares students well for becoming adults who are educated citizens and contributing members of society. Whether they go directly to a job (many do), teach English in a developing country 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. Women's golf will begin competing as the 25th intercollegiate sport at U.Va. during the 2003-04 academic year.

U.Va. ranked 30th in the nation in the final 2000-01 Sears Directors' Cup standings, which rank the overall success of Division I athletic programs in up to 20 sports. Virginia has finished in the Top 30 each year in the eight-year history of the Sears Directors' Cup program.

Few teams in the country can match the overall success of Virginia's varsity teams in recent years. Over the past thirteen years, U.Va. has claimed five national championships in men's soccer, two in women's lacrosse and one in men'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 11 bowl appearances in the last fifteen years. Most recently, the Cavaliers appeared in the 2000 Jeep O'ahu Bowl. U.Va. established an ACC record with thirteen consecutive seasons of seven or more wins, from 1987-99. In 1995, the Cavaliers defeated Georgia 34-27 in the 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 regularly for its graduation rate involving scholarship football players.

The 2001-02 men's basketball team advanced to the first round of the National Invitation Tournament. It was Virginia's 21st postseason appearance (NCAA or NIT) in the last 25 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 NIT championships (in 1980 and 1992) and reached the NCAA Final Four twice (in 1981 and 1984).

The women's basketball team made its 19th consecutive trip to NCAA postseason play in 2001-02 with a first-round tournament appearance. U.Va. won ACC Tournament titles in 1990, 1992 and 1993, and reached the NCAA Final Four three consecutive years, from 1990-92. The Cavaliers won their first ACC regular season title in 2000 since winning six in a row from 1991-96.

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 which is 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 many student singing groups; and a Collegium Musicum baroque group sponsored by the music department. The University's Art Museum houses broad-ranging art collections, which include outstanding examples of twentieth- century American art and European art from Jefferson's era. The museum'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. If a student violates the Honor Code, he or she cannot remain a member of the University community, and is not entitled to receive or hold a degree from the University of Virginia. For nearly 160 years this system has been administered by students.



The Libraries


The 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. Fourteen libraries serve the University’s undergraduate, graduate, and professional programs. They house more than 4.7 million volumes and receive more than 53,000 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 international documents. Alderman also houses the University’s world-renowned collection of manuscripts and rare books in its Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. The Science and Engineering Library and its satellites (Astronomy, Biology/Psychology, Chemistry, Mathematics, 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. Clemons Library provides a general collection of frequently used materials, reserve reading, and video and audio materials housed in the Robertson Media Center. 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. The online catalog 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 via the library’s Web site at www.lib.virginia. edu. 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) (www.itc. virginia.edu) supports the University’s instructional and research activities and 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 available to faculty, students and staff. Included are: an IBM 9672-R34 (Enterprise Server), OS/390 operating system; IBM RiscSystem/6000s, AIX operating system; Sun workstations, Solaris operating system; IBM-PC compatible microcomputers with Windows 98/NT; Apple Macintoshes; and graphics equipment including scanners. Other specialized computer equipment is available in labs at Academic Computing-Health Sciences (ACHS) and the Digital Media Center.

The majority of 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, and the World-Wide Web (WWW). 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. Additional information about ITC facilities and services is available on-line at www.itc.virginia.edu.





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 outstanding faculty bring opportunities to learn about the latest advances in the classroom as well as the ability to become involved in research work in many fields.

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

Since 1946, students and faculty of the University of Virginia have benefited from its membership in Oak Ridge Associated Universities (ORAU), a consortium of colleges and universities and a management and operating contractor for the United States Department of Energy (DOE) located in Oak Ridge, Tennessee. Through the Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education, undergraduates, graduates, postgraduates, and 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.

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 from different academic units who have common research interests and objectives. One outcome of this interdisciplinary emphasis has been the growth of joint academic programs leading to joint degrees.

Exciting research is undertaken jointly by faculty from both engineering and medicine in the Department of Biomedical Engineering and the Program in Engineering Physics. Other engineering faculty have research ties with faculty in environmental sciences, physics, and other fields. Faculty in medicine and biology work closely on a variety of research projects, as do those in physics and chemistry.

Research collaborations are common among non-scientists as well. Faculty from the schools of law and business have launched a center jointly with faculty in psychology. Professors in business and various humanities departments bring their separate viewpoints and research strategies to bear on common issues. Interdisciplinary research provides opportunities for shared use of facilities and for synergism in research efforts and augmented funding.

In fiscal year 2001-2002, research at the University was supported by over 2,500 separate awards totaling $257 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 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 University provides funding for particularly meritorious research which might otherwise have brief funding interruptions, thus maintaining continuity in important, ongoing projects. Through the Bankard Foundation endowment, year-long research grants support research in economics and government studies. Another program provides grants for faculty research in the humanities and social sciences.

The knowledge being disseminated and the technology being developed today at the University of Virginia will play a vital role in how we live in the future. More detailed information about research and funding at the University is available online from the Office of the Vice President for Research and Graduate Studies, www.virginia.edu/researchandpublicservice.



Public Service Outreach


The University of Virginia’s mission extends beyond the lives of its students, faculty, and staff to the surrounding community, the Commonwealth, the nation, and the world. From professional development for elementary and secondary school teachers to leadership training for local governing bodies across Virginia, the University is committed to sharing its resources of expertise and scholarship in ways that improve the well-being of individuals and communities. OutreachVirginia (www.virginia.edu/outreachvirginia), an interactive, searchable database and web site, provides extensive information on all the University’s public service programs.

Through a bachelor’s degree program designed specifically for part-time, adult students in Central Virginia and educational seminars, short courses, and graduate degree programs offered through regional centers across the state, the University continues to expand access to higher education while maintaining its tradition of academic excellence. Telemedicine programs and screening clinics provide residents in rural areas of the Commonwealth with access to both basic and specialized health care. Programs in all of the schools reflect a similar dedication to enhancing the quality of public life in Virginia and beyond.

Students, faculty, and staff exemplify the institution's commitment to service. In 2002, nearly 3,000 students contributed over 110,000 hours in service to the surrounding community through the student volunteer center, Madison House. Last year, over 1,000 Virginians attended free community lectures throughout the state, delivered by some of the University's most eminent scholars as part of the Engaging the Mind lecture series. Faculty in every school contribute countless hours of service participating on international, national, state, and local advisory boards and providing professional expertise to non-profit organizations, government agencies, and businesses through both University programs and individual initiatives. In 2002, over 3,000 staff and faculty contributed more than $400,000 to the Commonwealth of Virginia Campaign in support of 1,000 charities.

Additional information about public service and outreach initiatives at the University of Virginia is available from OutreachVirginia a www.virginia.edu/outreachvirginia.





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 62 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 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 within the Curry School are accredited by such organizations as the American Speech, Language and Hearing Association, the National Athletic Trainers’ Association and the Council for Exceptional Children.

The McIntire School of Commerce and the 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. 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 the Executive Council of the Association of American Medical Colleges.



Useful Web Sites

School of Architecture http://www.virginia.edu/arch/
Arts and Sciences http://www.virginia.edu/artsandsciences/
Curry School of Education http://curry.edschool.virginia.edu/
Darden Graduate School of Business Administration http://www.darden.edu/
School of Engineering and Applied Science http://www.seas.virginia.edu/research.php
School of Law http://www.law.virginia.edu/
McIntire School of Commerce http://www.commerce.virginia.edu/
School of Medicine http://www.med.virginia.edu/schools/medschl.html
School of Nursing http://www.nursing.virginia.edu/
Continuing Education http://www.U.Va.ce.virginia.edu/
University of Virginia’s College at Wise http://www.wise.virginia.edu/
Athletic Department http://www.virginiasports.com
Web Calendar http://www.virginia.edu/Calendar/
Facts at a Glance http://www.virginia.edu/Facts/
Undergraduate Admission Information http://www.virginia.edu/~admiss/ugadmiss/home.shtml
Graduate Admission Information http://www.virginia.edu/gradamission.html

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