Special Bicentennial Issue
Congratulations on such a detailed and informative issue. Impeccably done.
Alan Taylor’s scholarly article “Hero or Villain, Both and Neither” clearly recognizes Jefferson’s great vision and diligence. Under Jefferson’s solid foundation, followed by the nine future richly talented presidents of Virginia, UVA was morphed into a more open and inclusive community. “Serpentine Timeline” depicts in meticulous detail the incredible hallmark events that made UVA a leader in higher education. This inimitable institution firmly and intransigently believed that all people would be given respect, dignity and opportunity.
The above fundamental philosophy is further highlighted in “A Hat Tip to UVA.” Time on the Grounds is special. It creates and cultivates a synergy that fosters a collegiality that permeates the student body. The bonds and affinity for UVA are the common ground that unite people of all ages, ethnicity, gender, race and socioeconomic backgrounds, while students at the University, and for their entire life after graduation.
Bob Franco, M.D. (Fel ’87)
Ponte Vedra Beach, Florida
The whole Special Bicentennial Issue was wonderful! Thanks for all the ideas and efforts. You are right that there is always more to say and more people to mention.
At Easters 1946, UVA celebrated the end of World War II with a multiday party that included for the only time a beauty contest. Mary Pharr Lathram from Randolph Macon was crowned. She eventually sent three daughters to earn five degrees at UVA, and two grandchildren are poised to graduate in 2019 and 2020.
Mary Bland Love (Col ’74, Law ’78)
The Bicentennial Issue of Virginia Magazine failed to mention the significant contributions of the Latino/Hispanic community to the University. Latinos/Hispanics have made a mark on the University since its inception. Most notably, Fernando Bolívar, the nephew (and later adopted son) of South American hero Simón Bolívar, came to UVA as the University’s second international student in 1827. Since then, several UVA Latino/Hispanic alumni have made a positive impact, such as former governor of Puerto Rico Luis Fortuño, former special assistant to President Bill Clinton for the Americas Alex Arriaga, and Professor Ricardo Padrón, who became the first Latino to serve as the University’s Faculty Senate chair. The 1990s saw the creation of a number of Latino/Hispanic-focused initiatives and organizations, including the Spanish House (Casa Bolívar) to promote Latino/Hispanic culture on Grounds and the Bolívar alumni network.
America’s demographics are changing, and by 2050, the U.S. Latino population will triple in size to 29 percent. In 2016, Virginia’s population was 9 percent Hispanic, and as of 2017, the incoming first-year class at UVA was 6 percent Hispanic. It is critical that UVA embrace the Latino/Hispanic community in order to maintain its position as a leading university that can continue to attract top students, faculty and administrators. We feel strongly that the Latino/Hispanic experience at UVA, including its rich learnings, should be included in the collective history of our University and seen as critical for the success and well-being of UVA.
Luis Maes (Col ’00) Portland, Oregon
Claudia Quintero (Col ’11) New York, New York
Gina M. Flores Stumpf (Col ’00) Vienna, Virginia
Hernando Herrera (Col ’89) Falls Church, Virginia
Mauricio Velasquez (Col ’88) Herndon, Virginia
Danny Navarro (Col ’11) Washington, D.C.
Jason Puryear (Col ’09, Educ ’14) Christiansburg, Virginia
Hero or Villain
Excellent article. As Bernie Mayo taught me, every generation sees history through the lens of its own biases. Future generations will be appalled at the persistence of racism, slavery’s stepchild, and our failure to recognize and remedy the economic impact of centuries of slavery and oppression.
Slavery was not “celebrated” in Jefferson’s time. Most of the founders saw that it was inconsistent with the principles of the Declaration but believed that it would die out in the South as it was doing in the North. The “celebration” began with John C. Calhoun in the 1830s. Jefferson foresaw the grave danger slavery posed to the nation. His reaction to the 1820 Missouri Compromise was to predict, accurately, the cataclysm that occurred 40 years later.
Michael Leech (Col ’73, Law ’76)
It was refreshing to read someone highlighting the folly of casting Jefferson as either hero or villain. The article rightly notes that such views service only our egos and help us to turn a blind eye to our own moral dichotomy. I was reminded of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn’s hard-won insight that “[t]he line separating good and evil passes not through states, nor between classes, nor between political parties either, but right through every human heart.”
Eli Frame (Col ’03)
It is depressing to see a 2,500-word essay devoted to castigating our founder for the sin of slavery, except for one sentence in the final paragraph. Instead of adorning the fallacy of modernism, one would expect that a feature article in the Special Bicentennial Issue would praise Jefferson as an apostle of the Enlightenment, rather than settle for a biased, detracting paper.
John M. Stewart (Col ’65)
St. Petersburg, Florida
I was very surprised to read the statement that Virginians created the University of Virginia “to defend a way of life that included slavery.” I always thought it was created to educate people, not to defend a particular way of life!
Robert G. “Bob” Corder (Engr ’63)
Class of the Classroom
I want to salute you for putting together a magazine that was as approachable as it was informative. I especially enjoyed the multiple entry points to the University’s Achilles’ heel: race. I have always been proud of my UVA years but nevertheless felt that the sunshine of my experience tended to ignore the clouds of a little-acknowledged history. After reading the magazine, it is clear that the modern UVA is now fully engaged with its past.
I also want to respond to the invitation to identify transformative teachers: The late Charlie Whitebread was indeed the master of the classroom, but it was the intellectual rigor demanded by John Jeffries (Law ’73) that most influenced my career.
David Logan (Law ’77)
Tiverton, Rhode Island
I experienced many exceptional professors at UVA. The most gracious, knowledgeable and helpful to me was Harold Morton of Engineering Physics. He made mathematics come alive. He was warm and friendly in all that he did.
Jeff Keegan (Engr ’77, Med ’82)
I would like to add Dr. Fred Diehl, biology professor, to the list. His class started my deep interest in and love of biology.
Deborah Rib (Col ’81)
Rochester, New York
Thank you for an excellent Bicentennial edition. I write to correct two of your entries in regard to coeducation. Under the year 1968, you report: “(President) Shannon appoints a committee under Provost Frank Hereford to address the practical considerations of admitting women, such as the impact on dormitories.”
Under an entry dated 1969, you report: “The BOV (Board of Visitors) proposes limited admission of women over a 10-year period.”
I was the only undergraduate student member of the Hereford committee, and I served on Student Council as a College Representative at these times. The Hereford committee was given the mission of proposing a plan for possible admission of women to the College. In September 1969, a majority of the committee proposed a 10-year quota on the admission of women; after those 10 years, the admissions policy could be revisited.
I wrote a minority report that argued that women should be immediately admitted on an equal basis with men, without a quota. My minority report acknowledged that a two-year transition period might be necessary to accommodate course changes and physical facilities changes.
Attorney John Lowe had filed a U.S. District Court lawsuit against the University, seeking equal admission of women. The majority report by the Hereford committee was pending consideration by the Board. At a hearing in federal court, the University introduced the majority report. Mr. Lowe introduced my minority report, as the University had failed to include it with the majority report.
The federal judge urged the parties to resolve the matter. Under a compromise, the Board of Visitors approved a 2-year transition plan for the admission of some women to the College to begin in 1970, with full equal admission to begin in 1972.
Kevin L. Mannix (Col ’71, Law ’74)
Serpentine Timeline was a fascinating article. It’s a shame that the timeline of the disappearance of the coats and ties from the Grounds did not make the cut. That, and the ceasing of wearing hats on the Grounds before WWII, would make an interesting story for a future issue of Virginia Magazine.
Bruce G. Murphy (Col ’15)
Vero Beach, Florida
Sad to see that the Alumni Association is decades behind the times in its appreciation of diversity. While this timeline acknowledges the history of African Americans at UVA (something I’m very happy to see), it says not a word about the arrival of significant numbers of Asian and Latinx students to UVA. When will you stop thinking in black and white, UVA?
Ricardo Padrón (Col ’89)
First, please “hear” my loud applause for the impressive work on the Bicentennial Issue.
Because components of evolving and often hard-fought diversity were highlighted, readers should know that in spring 1969, UVA’s Inter-Fraternity Council finally approved the application of Pi Lambda Colony to become the VA Omega Alpha Chapter, Pi Lambda Phi National Fraternity Inc. The national fraternity’s creed affirms the central importance of the “elimination of prejudice.” The unprecedented nonsectarian application included students who were Protestants, Christians, Jews and those who were religiously unaffiliated. It also included one nonwhite student, an African American, resulting in a determined historic desegregation outcome of UVA’s fraternity community.
David L. Temple Jr. (Col ’69, Educ ’72)
You don’t think about it; just wearing the hat is part of what you do. Years ago, Margaret and I were sitting in the Piazza in Florence, and a couple walked up; he started talking about the University and sat down and shared some wine. We were close friends who had never met.
Bill Alderman (Com ’59)
Your subtitle asking just what is it about this place rang true to me. About 20 years ago, a gentleman told me he often sensed reverence in the voice of Virginia graduates when they spoke of the University. As an out-of-state student, I certainly embrace that reverence. It is great to see the University continue to thrive.
Ken Clemmens (Col ’74)
The University is a memory of walking from Mr. [David Martin] Bevington’s after listening to Shakespeare records across the Grounds during a soft wet snow in March—the quiet and majesty of brick with the Bard’s words echoing.
John Childrey (Col ’65, Educ ’68, ’73)
Coral Springs, Florida
On Common Grounds
What a remarkable list of notables. No doubt there are other individuals worth mensch-oning! One such scholar is Rabbi David Ellenson (Grad ’72), president of the Hebrew Union College-Jewish Institute of Religion, and internationally recognized for his research in Jewish religious thought, ethics and modern Jewish history.
Rabbi Philip “Flip” Rice (Col ’92)
Even though I applaud many of the choices, I wonder why George Allen (Col ’74, Law ’77) was not included. He was a quarterback on the football team and fourth-year class president. He furthered his education at the Law School and served in the House of Delegates, House of Representatives and Senate, and as governor of Virginia.
George Korte (Col ’74)
Virginia Beach, Virginia
Thank you for including Chuck Rosenberg (Law ’90). His calm demeanor, understated humor and expert knowledge reflect the highest ideals and standards of anyone whom you would expect to be an alumnus of any of the schools at the University.
Earl B. Chappell III (Col ’65)
Virginia Beach, Virginia
I submit three additions: John Singleton Mosby (Law 1853), who went on to fame as the Gray Ghost of the Confederacy and was appointed to several important federal government posts; Arthur J. Morris (Law 1901), who devised the financing of home purchases on installment, which enabled individuals of average means to purchase homes; and James Hay Jr. (Col 1903), who went on to a distinguished journalism career and who wrote the poem “The Honor Men,” one of the defining statements of the University of Virginia.
Robert Chambliss “Cham” Light Jr. (Col ’76)
One serious omission: Edwin S. Kneedler (Law ’74), who served as acting U.S. solicitor general in 2009 and has been a deputy solicitor general since 1993. Ed has argued over 135 cases before the U.S. Supreme Court, more than any other practicing lawyer. A 2014 winner of the prestigious Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal, he has served in the Justice Department since 1979.
Suzanne C. Harkness (Educ ’70, ’73)
Columbus, New Jersey
An Unflinching Report
It’s time to look forward rather than backward at history we have no ability to change. The U.N. tells us there are more than 40 million slaves in the world today, more than at any time in history. This includes a surprising number in the U.S. If we are going to expend resources on the issue of slavery, then let’s join the struggle against human trafficking.
James Rawles Jr., M.D. (COL ’73)
Virginia Beach, Virginia
It’s a good thing to recognize past injustices. It is even more important to address ongoing injustices.
The Honor System has discriminated against minority students for decades. Repeated studies have shown that minority students are expelled at three to five times the rate of white students—this despite a large-scale study that found no difference in cheating rates between the two groups.
The various Honor committees have known of this but have failed to address the problem. The data have been taken down from the Honor webpage. The administration absolves itself from responsibility by saying it is a student-run system.
The University cannot make amends for past injustices while it continues to be complicit in ongoing wrongs.
Paxton Marshall (Engr ’90)
All of us who patronized U-Hall enjoyed your “Celebrating University Hall” digital retrospective. The men’s basketball shots, however, brought to mind a question: Is there a reason our coaches no longer wear ties for the games? One struggles to find anything to criticize in Tony Bennett’s program, but it is striking and sad to see our coaches among the least well-dressed in the ACC. There is certainly a time and place for casual, but representing the University on the public stage would seem neither the time nor the place.
David M. Foster (Col ’75, Law ’81)
Winter 2018 Corrections
The article “On Common Grounds” incorrectly listed a few notable alumni. Bernard Gaines Farrar Jr. (Col 1852) served under President Benjamin Harrison, not President William Henry Harrison. Lowell Weicker (Law 1958) made his bid for the 1980 Republican presidential nomination, not 1990.
A Class Note for Don Slesnick II (Col ’65) incorrectly stated his tenure as mayor of Coral Gables, Florida. He completed his service in 2011 after four terms.