Navigation

Search This Site

BICENTENNIAL NEWS

As the University enters its third century, we invite you to help shape our forward direction by providing thoughts on the following questions about three thematic areas that define the University: community, discovery and service.

Before there was Jim Ryan, who will be inaugurated Oct. 19 as the University of Virginia’s ninth president, there were eight previous University presidents with eight different inaugurations.

Rare copies of the Emancipation Proclamation, signed by President Abraham Lincoln, and the 13th Amendment abolishing slavery, as well as a unique note by the famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass are on display at the University of Virginia, on loan from a private collection.

Friends and colleagues remember University of Virginia President Emeritus Robert M. O’Neil as a caring mentor, a staunch advocate for students from all walks of life, a beloved law professor, and a nationally recognized scholar focused on the First Amendment, free speech and the press.

Many terrific, game-changing discoveries and inventions have emanated over the years from the University of Virginia’s creative faculty, so it’s hard to name them all. From brain research to particle physics, from new ways to understand the cosmos to developing innovative treatments for disease and medical devices, UVA has done it all – and is doing more.

During the Civil War, the University of Virginia was predictably a hotbed of the Confederacy, but the flame of Unionism flickered faintly.

Plans to install a Memorial to Enslaved Laborers at the University of Virginia received a significant boost recently when the University approved an allocation of strategic funds for the project.

Students, professors, University staff members and volunteers from the community volunteerted to transcribe the words of civil rights icon and former UVA faculty member Julian Bond for a new digital archive.

A look inside the removal, disassembly, cleaning and reassembly of the 142-year-old lens on the historic Leander McCormick Observatory telescope at UVA. The last time that was done was in 1975.

The University of Virginia Board of Visitors today approved an investment of $100 million in strategic funds to support new student scholarships through UVA’s Bicentennial Scholars Fund.

Over five years, the President's Commission on Slavery and the University has conducted research, created educational opportunities, and commemorated people and places where possible. As the commission wraps up, it leaves a list of accomplishments and recommendations that will forever change Thomas Jefferson’s Academical Village.

Former President Thomas Jefferson questioned whether he should attend the meeting of the Rockfish Gap Commission, appointed in 1818 by Virginia Gov. James P. Preston to identify a site for the newly approved University of Virginia.

 

After graduating in 1946 from the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, Albert Small began collecting rare books and manuscripts pertaining to Thomas Jefferson, UVA and American history.

As UVA celebrates its bicentennial, visitors can now see what that original wooden dome would have looked like, thanks to more than 400 hours of work by Hays’ students, aided by several outside architects and builders.

In the quest to learn more about the University of Virginia’s history as it heads into its third century, President Teresa A. Sullivan recently announced the President’s Commission on the University in the Age of Segregation and has made appointments for service.

It’s been an eventful year at the University of Virginia with highs, lows and everything in between, as fourth-year class president Malcolm Stewart puts it in the video above.

Student Council’s Bicentennial Committee hosted a Women’s Forum featuring female professors from the University from a range of disciplines who shared their personal experiences and advice.

University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan on Monday announced the formation of a new President’s Commission on the University in the Age of Segregation.The commission will “explore and report on UVA’s role in the period of racial segregation that occurred in the 19th and 20th centuries,” Sullivan said in remarks given at UVA’s School of Law.

The University of Virginia and its School of Law honored the legacy of Gregory Swanson with a ceremony that recognized his significance as the University’s first black student.

200 Years of University of Virginia history captured in images.

The University of Virginia Board of Visitors approved a $75 million, multi-year proposal that will position the University to attract and retain top faculty as UVA prepares to enter its third century of providing one of the best educational experiences in the nation.

The Central College’s original Board of Visitors, which preceded the University of Virginia’s Board of Visitors by two years, are hanging together again – at least on the walls of the board’s meeting room.

In the 21st century, women – once mostly barred from education at the University of Virginia – have become active members in every area of life and work on Grounds.

Speaking to an enthusiastic audience at the University of Virginia, Clinton said it was thrilling to know that her loss to Republican Donald Trump had inspired women to step out of their comfort zones and run for office.

The University of Virginia inaugurated the Morven Food Lab in honor of the first lady of Virginia, Dorothy McAuliffe, and her advocacy of projects that seek to eliminate childhood hunger, develop local agriculture and support access to nutritious food.

Trick-or-Treating on the Lawn is one of the year’s most anticipated community events at the University of Virginia. Students welcome thousands of local children – and their parents – for an evening filled with candy and fun events. But how did it get its start?

One of the core tenets in planning and commemorating the University of Virginia’s bicentennial is telling a fuller story of its history: who has been part of it, how the institution has changed and continues to change.

For many years, the history of enslaved laborers’ contributions to the building of the University of Virginia was not told. That’s changing.

For more than a century, historians have known that tens of thousands of black men fought for their freedom with the Union Army during the Civil War. Pieces of this history have been filled in over time: names and ranks, enlistment dates and locations, dates and place of death. New research conducted at the University of Virginia’s John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History reveals a new layer of detail in the story of slaves fighting as liberators.

From sleeping overnight outside near where enslaved laborers lived and worked at the University of Virginia to discussing the work of investigating, preserving and making public the legacies of slavery at universities in the South and the North, a symposium to be held at UVA from Oct. 18 to 21 will address historical and contemporary issues pertaining to race, place and inequality.

The University of Virginia kicked off its bicentennial celebration Friday afternoon with a ceremony marking the 200th anniversary of the laying of cornerstone for Pavilion VII, the first building on Grounds. The original cornerstone ceremony, on Oct. 6, 1817, was attended by University founder Thomas Jefferson, former President James Madison and then current President James Monroe.

Kattie Couric and John Dickerson are normally the ones asking the questions. Couric and Dickerson, both alumni of the University of Virginia and on hand for Friday’s spectacular Bicentennial Launch Celebration, are some of the most well-known American journalists at work today.

The UVA community gathered for a celebration like no other, as a spectacular projection mapping show, celebrity special guests and thousands of ‘Hoos heralded the arrival of UVA’s third century.

Production crews and University staff have been hard at work getting the Lawn ready for Friday night’s Bicentennial Launch Celebration. Here’s a sneak peek.

The Tony Award-winning actor spoke with UVA Today before flying to Charlottesville for Friday’s Bicentennial Launch Celebration, where he will join UVA students and faculty members as a special guest.

Find everything you need to know about this weekend’s bicentennial events, from the dramatic multimedia show that will transform the Lawn on Friday night to the many discussions and exhibitions continuing through the weekend.

Guests coming to the Lawn for the University of Virginia’s Bicentennial Launch Celebration can meander over to the location of the University’s planned Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, east of Brooks Hall and across from the Corner, to view displays of the design.

The rock band has played in a volcano, on an iceberg and atop skyscrapers. As they prepare to add the Academical Village to that list, bassist Robby Takac shared some favorite memories and reflected on how the industry has changed.

In honor of the approaching bicentennial, architecture students created their own interpretation of Thomas Jefferson’s famed pavilions, using cutting-edge technology that UVA’s founder would have found fascinating.

 

On Friday, the University of Virginia will welcome approximately 20,000 guests for its Bicentennial Launch Celebration on the Lawn.

In the spring of 1969, Virginia Scott was 18 and preparing to graduate from Albemarle High School. She was also working part-time for a lawyer named John Lowe. Stories in the local newspaper about his work on civil rights cases had inspired her to apply for a job in his Charlottesville office. That collaboration would lead to a monumental event – full coeducation at the University of Virginia.

One University. Two hundred years. Endless stories.

The evening’s celebrations will be as varied and colorful as the University itself, with more than 800 student and faculty members performing on the Lawn alongside special guests from the music and entertainment world. All of them will tell the story of UVA as it has never been told before.

Taken together, UVA quotes – both the famous and the mundane – can serve as a sort of guide to the University’s history, its evolution, and to the mission that began that day at Pavilion VII. Here are just a few.

 

A new A. James Clark Scholars Program in the University of Virginia’s School of Engineering and Applied Science, funded by a $15 million gift from the A. James and Alice B. Clark Foundation, will provide financial aid and academic opportunities for undergraduate students who are underrepresented in the engineering field. 

On Oct. 6, the University of Virginia community will come together to officially kick off its bicentennial with a celebration unlike any other in its 200 years.

The story of the University of Virginia is told by its people, from its famous founder through the thousands of alumni scattered around the globe today.

“Hamilton” star Leslie Odom Jr. – who played a historical figure that Thomas Jefferson was very familiar with – will join UVA arts groups, faculty, students, staff, alumni and other guest performers for a one-of-a-kind celebration on the Lawn.

This summer, workers have been renovating and repairing parts of one of the oldest non-Jeffersonian buildings on the University of Virginia’s Grounds – a storied and controversial building once considered for demolition.

A section of the “Long Walk,” an historic pedestrian walkway running from the Rotunda to the Corner, is being unearthed and repaved. The corridor dates from the founding of the University of Virginia, and is still in use. At various times, it has been a dirt pathway, a concrete thoroughfare and a brick walkway.

As the University of Virginia’s bicentennial approaches, UVA Today is releasing a series of quizzes to help readers brush up on 200 years worth of Wahoo trivia.

A circular stone wall, open at one section, rises from an open green area of the University of Virginia’s Grounds east of Brooks Hall and across from the Corner. Within this circle, a stone bench provides opportunity for quiet reflection, especially when reading the names inscribed on the interior wall – names of enslaved laborers who worked to build and sustain the University. This is the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, featuring the “Freedom Ring” designed to commemorate the contributions of enslaved workers.

 

Three graduate students, working on two research projects on the University of Virginia’s Academical Village, have received Kenan Research Awards.

Skipwith, an enslaved laborer freed in 1833, quarried stone for buildings at UVA. On Thursday, at one of several events celebrating Founder’s Day, a new building likely sitting on the quarry’s location was dedicated as Skipwith Hall in his honor.

As the University of Virginia celebrated Thomas Jefferson’s 274th birthday on Thursday, the four winners of the 2017 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals – each distinguished in fields Jefferson held in high regard – gave public talks on Grounds.

With the University of Virginia’s Bicentennial just around the corner, now is the time to reflect on the past, share fond memories and try your best to beat your fellow Wahoos in an all-out UVA trivia challenge.

Students selected a special mark commemorating UVA’s upcoming bicentennial that will decorate graduation gowns this year as the University prepares to celebrate its 200th anniversary.

In an alternative universe somewhere, the University of Virginia has a chapel on the Lawn. Memorial Gymnasium is over on Mad Bowl. Physics students take classes in a striking, modernist building that almost seems to float. This version of Grounds has a 12-story dorm on North Grounds near the Law School. And there’s no Rotunda.

University of Virginia President Teresa A. Sullivan and her husband, law professor Douglas Laycock, are making a $100,000 gift to the new Bicentennial Scholars Fund – the first contribution to the endowment established to support student scholarships.

Over its 200-year history, the University of Virginia has grown into one of the nation’s preeminent public universities. And it has never lost sight of its mission to serve the people of Virginia, to lead the advancement of human knowledge and to benefit the region and the world. Today, the University continues that tradition of service as a major economic engine for the Commonwealth.

The University of Virginia today announced the creation of a permanent endowment to support student scholarships that could reach $300 million through a combination of philanthropic support and the UVA Strategic Investment Fund.

For as long as there have been cameras, there have been pictures of UVA. University photographers recently recreated some of the most iconic images of our students and community. 

The University of Virginia will begin celebrating its 200th anniversary next year, and the Board of Visitors has appointed a commission to plan the occasion.

The University of Virginia Oral Histories project provides the public open access to the inner workings of the University over the past half-century.