- University of Virginia
University of Virginia
University of Virginia is a public institution that was founded in 1819.
Tuition fees in University of Virginia are $45,000 (Aprox.).
Founded by Thomas Jefferson, the University of Virginia is located in Charlottesville. It’s referred to among insiders as Mr. Jefferson’s University or simply The University. Only first-year students are required to live on campus, and many upperclassmen live in off-campus apartments or fraternity and sorority houses. Greek life is prominent at UVA with a membership that includes approximately 30 percent of the student body. The Cavaliers, known unofficially as Wahoos or ‘Hoos, are members of the NCAA Division I Atlantic Coast Conference and are well known for their consistently dominant men’s and women’s lacrosse teams.
UVA’s graduate programs include the highly ranked Darden Graduate School of Business Administration, Curry School of Education, School of Engineering and Applied Science,School of Law and School of Medicine. UVA houses one of the 25 remaining original copies of the Declaration of Independence, called a Dunlap Broadside, in its Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library. The school also has its own distinct lingo: The campus is referred to as the “grounds,” the central quad is the “lawn,” and students are either a first, second, third or fourth year. Former U.S. Senator Edward Kennedy, journalist Katie Couric and former NFL player Tiki Barber all earned degrees from UVA. Famous writer Edgar Allen Poe was forced to leave the school after losing his tuition money to gambling, but his dorm room on the lawn is still preserved and on display for visitors.
Schools / Colleges / Departments / Courses / Faculties
- FRANK BATTEN SCHOOL OF LEADERSHIP AND PUBLIC POLICY
- COLLEGE AND GRADUATE SCHOOL OF ARTS & SCIENCES
- CURRY SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
- DARDEN SCHOOL OF BUSINESS
- MCINTIRE SCHOOL OF COMMERCE
- SCHOOL OF ARCHITECTURE
- SCHOOL OF CONTINUING & PROFESSIONAL STUDIES
- SCHOOL OF ENGINEERING AND APPLIED SCIENCE
- SCHOOL OF LAW
- SCHOOL OF MEDICINE
- SCHOOL OF NURSING
- UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA’S COLLEGE AT WISE
In 1802, while serving as President of the United States, Thomas Jefferson wrote to artist Charles Willson Peale that his concept of the new university would be “on the most extensive and liberal scale that our circumstances would call for and our faculties meet,” and that it might even attract talented students from “other states to come, and drink of the cup of knowledge”. Virginia was already home to the College of William and Mary, but Jefferson lost all confidence in his alma mater, partly because of its religious nature – it required all its students to recite acatechism – and its stifling of the sciences. Jefferson had flourished under William and Mary professors William Small and George Wythedecades earlier, but the college was in a period of great decline and his concern became so dire by 1800 that he expressed to British chemistJoseph Priestley, “we have in that State, a college just well enough endowed to draw out the miserable existence to which a miserable constitution has doomed it.” These words would ring true some seventy years later when William and Mary fell bankrupt after the Civil War and the Williamsburg college was shuttered completely in 1881, later being revived only in a limited capacity as a very small college for teachers until well into the twentieth century.
In 1817, three Presidents (Jefferson, James Monroe, and James Madison) and Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court John Marshalljoined 24 other dignitaries at a meeting held in the Mountain Top Tavern at Rockfish Gap. After some deliberation, they selected nearby Charlottesville as the site of the new University of Virginia. Farmland just outside Charlottesville was purchased from James Monroe by the Board of Visitors as Central College. The school laid its first building’s cornerstone late in that same year, and the Commonwealth of Virginia chartered the new university on January 25, 1819. John Hartwell Cocke collaborated with James Madison, Monroe, and Joseph Carrington Cabell to fulfill Jefferson’s dream to establish the university. Cocke and Jefferson were appointed to the building committee to supervise the construction. The university’s first classes met on March 7, 1825.
In contrast to other universities of the day, at which one could study in either medicine, law, or divinity, the first students at the University of Virginia could study in one or several ofeight independent schools – medicine, law, mathematics, chemistry, ancient languages, modern languages, natural philosophy, and moral philosophy. Another innovation of the new university was that higher education would be separated from religious doctrine. UVA had no divinity school, was established independently of any religious sect, and the Grounds were planned and centered upon a library, the Rotunda, rather than a church, distinguishing it from peer universities still primarily functioning as seminaries for one particular strain of Protestantism or another. Jefferson opined to philosopher Thomas Cooper that “a professorship of theology should have no place in our institution”, and never has there been one. There were initially two degrees awarded by the university: Graduate, to a student who had completed the courses of one school; and Doctor to a graduate in more than one school who had shown research prowess.
Jefferson was intimately involved in the university to the end, hosting Sunday dinners at his Monticello home for faculty and students until his death. So taken with the import of what he viewed the university’s foundations and potential to be, and counting it amongst his greatest accomplishments, Jefferson insisted his grave mention only his status as author of the Declaration of Independence and Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, and father of the University of Virginia. Thus, he eschewed mention of his national accomplishments, such as the Louisiana Purchase, in favor of his role with the young university.
In the year of Jefferson’s death, poet Edgar Allan Poe enrolled at the university, where he excelled in Latin. The Raven Society, an organization named after Poe’s most famous poem, continues to maintain 13 West Range, the room Poe inhabited during the single semester he attended the university. He left because of financial difficulties. The School of Engineering and Applied Science opened in 1836, making UVA the first comprehensive university to open an engineering school.
Unlike the vast majority of peer colleges in the South, the university was kept open throughout the Civil War, an especially remarkable feat with its state seeing more bloodshed than any other and the near 100% conscription of the entire American South. After Jubal Early’s total loss at the Battle of Waynesboro, Charlottesville was willingly surrendered to Union forces to avoid mass bloodshed and UVA faculty convinced George Armstrong Custer to preserve Jefferson’s university. Though Union troops camped on the Lawn and damaged many of the Pavilions, Custer’s men left four days later without bloodshed and the university was able to return to its educational mission. However, an extremely high number of officers of both Confederacy and Union were alumni. UVA produced 1,481 officers in the Confederate Army alone, including four major-generals, twenty-one brigadier-generals, and sixty-seven colonels from ten different states. John S. Mosby, the infamous “Gray Ghost” and commander of the lightning-fast 43rd Battalion Virginia Cavalry ranger unit, had also been a UVA student.
Jefferson had originally decided that the University of Virginia would have no president. Rather, this power was to be shared by a rector and a Board of Visitors. But as the 19th century waned, it became obvious this cumbersome arrangement was incapable of adequately handling the many administrative and fundraising tasks of the growing university. Edwin Alderman, who had only recently moved from his post as president of UNC-Chapel Hill since 1896 to become president of Tulane University in 1900, accepted an offer as president of the University of Virginia in 1904. His appointment was not without controversy, and national media such as Popular Science lamented the end of one of the things that made UVA unique among universities.
Alderman would stay 27 years, and became known as a prolific fund-raiser, a well-known orator, and a close adviser to U.S. President and UVA alumnus Woodrow Wilson. He added significantly to the University Hospital to support new sickbeds and public health research, and helped create departments of geology and forestry, the Curry School of Education, the McIntire School of Commerce, and the summer school programs at which a young Georgia O’Keeffe would soon take art. Perhaps his greatest ambition was the funding and construction of a library on a scale of millions of books, much larger than the Rotunda could bear. Delayed by the Great Depression, Alderman Library was named in his honor in 1938. Alderman, who seven years earlier had died in office en route to giving a public speech at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign, is still the longest-tenured president of the university.
In 1904, the University of Virginia became the first university in the American South to be elected to the prestigious Association of American Universities. After a gift by Andrew Carnegie in 1909 the University of Virginia was organized into twenty-six departments including the Andrew Carnegie School of Engineering, the James Madison School of Law, the James Monroe School of International Law, the James Wilson School of Political Economy, the Edgar Allan Poe School of English and the Walter Reed School of Pathology. The honorific historical names for these departments are no longer used.
The university first admitted a few selected women to graduate studies in the late 1890s and to certain programs such as nursing and education in the 1920s and 1930s. In 1944, Mary Washington College in Fredericksburg, Virginia, became the Women’s Undergraduate Arts and Sciences Division of the University of Virginia. With this branch campus in Fredericksburg exclusively for women, UVA maintained its main campus in Charlottesville as near-exclusively for men, until a civil rights lawsuit of the 1960s forced it to commingle the sexes. In 1970, the Charlottesville campus became fully co-educational, and in 1972 Mary Washington became an independent state university. When the first female class arrived, 450 undergraduate women entered UVA, comprising 39 percent of undergraduates, while the number of men admitted remained constant. By 1999, women made up a 52 percent majority of the total student body.
The University of Virginia began the process of integration even before the 1954 Brown v. Board of Education decision mandated school desegregation for all grade levels, when Gregory Swanson sued to gain entrance into the university’s law school in 1950. Following his successful lawsuit, a handful of black graduate and professional students were admitted during the 1950s, though no black undergraduates were admitted until 1955, and UVA did not fully integrate until the 1960s.
In December 1953, the University of Virginia joined the Atlantic Coast Conference for athletics. At the time, UVA had a football program that had just broken through to be nationally ranked in 1950, 1951, and 1952, and consistently beat its rivals North Carolina and Virginia Tech by such scores as 34–7 and 44–0. Other sports were very competitive as well. However, the administration of Colgate Darden de-emphasized athletics, barely allowing the school to join the nascent ACC. It would take until the 1980s for the bulk of programs to fully recover, but approaching the 2000s UVA was again one of the most successful all-around sports programs with NCAA national titles achieved in an array of different sports.
UVA established a junior college in 1954, then called Clinch Valley College. Today it is a four-year public liberal arts college called the University of Virginia’s College at Wise and currently enrolls 2,000 students. George Mason University and the aforementioned Mary Washington University used to exist as similar satellite campuses, but those are now wholly self-administered.
Due to a continual decline in state funding for the university, today only 6 percent of its budget comes from the Commonwealth of Virginia. A Charter initiative was signed into law by then-Governor Mark Warner in 2005, negotiated with the university to have greater autonomy over its own affairs in exchange for accepting this decline in financial support.
The university welcomed Teresa A. Sullivan as its first female president in 2010. Just two years later its first woman rector,Helen Dragas, engineered a forced-resignation to remove President Sullivan from office. The attempted ouster elicited a faculty Senate vote of no confidence in Rector Dragas, and demands from student government for an explanation. In the face of mounting pressure including alumni threats to cease contributions, and a mandate from then-Governor Robert McDonnellto resolve the issue or face removal of the entire Board of Visitors, the Board unanimously reinstated President Sullivan. In 2013 and 2014, the Board passed new bylaws that made it harder to remove a president and possible to remove a rector.
In November 2014, the university suspended fraternity and sorority functions pending investigation of an article by Rolling Stoneconcerning an alleged rape story, later to be called a “hoax” after the story was confirmed to be false through investigation by The Washington Post. The university nonetheless instituted new rules banning “pre-mixed drinks, punches or any other common source of alcohol” such as beer kegs and requiring “sober and lucid” fraternity members to monitor parties. In April 2015, Rolling Stone fully retracted the article after the Columbia School of Journalism released a report of what went wrong with the article in a scathing and discrediting report. Even before release of the Columbia University report, the Rolling Stonestory was named “Error of the Year” by the Poynter Institute.
UVA experienced significant triumphs of both academia and athletics in 2015 as Science found its faculty to have discovered two of the world’s top ten scientific breakthroughs that year, and the athletics department was awarded the Capital One Cup for fielding the nation’s top overall men’s sports program. In the same year, Charlottesville (largely because of UVA founders and funders) was named the No. 1 fastest growing U.S. metropolitan area for venture capital, and UVA won the 2015 Paul Simon Award for Comprehensive Internationalization on the basis of its global citizen initiatives.
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