Final act: Casteen dedicates Bavaro Hall

onarch-bavaro-casteen-a-webUVA president John Casteen dedicates his final building.

In perhaps his last public appearance as president of UVA, John Casteen today dedicated Bavaro Hall, the long-awaited $37 million addition to the Curry School of Education, which has doubled the size of the school. It was a fitting end for a man who has presided over the construction or purchase of 134 buildings for UVA. That’s a lot of golden shovel and ribbon-cutting appearances.

“I think this is the last thing Betsy and I will be doing in our current identities,” Casteen told the crowd.

One of his goals during his presidency, Casteen joked, was to see an open field where Bavaro Hall now stands. “I failed,” he deadpanned.

The new building was designed by Darden School architect Robert A.M. Stern, and includes multiple open conversation areas,  conference rooms, and a garden courtyard. The building–- executed in a neo-Jeffersonianism complete with brick columns and hints of Boston's Faneuil Hall–- transforms a stretch of Emmet Street by blocking the old view of Ruffner Hall.

Robert Pianta, dean of the formerly Ruffner-centric Curry School, called the project a complicated one that “went off without a hitch.” He thanked Casteen for his vision and also thanked Daniel M. Meyers, the chair of the Curry Foundation and former CEO and co-founder of First Marblehead Corp., a Boston company that specializes in facilitating privately funded student loans, who donated $23 million to its construction and chose the building's name.

onarch-bavaro-exterior-webBavaro Hall–- executed in a neo-Jeffersonianism complete with brick columns and hints of Boston's Faneuil Hall–- transforms a stretch of Emmet Street by blocking the old view of Ruffner Hall.

Meyers  took his company public in 2003, cashing out $80 million and holding on to $188 million more. In 2005, improper gifts to a female executive at Bank of America led to Meyers’ resignation as CEO. And in September 2007, Meyers and First Marlblehead were featured in a New York Times story on the types of student loans that were being compared to sub-prime mortgages, as they’re marketed to students unable to obtain cheaper government subsidized loans and come with higher interest rates.

According to the Times, the average interest on a loan from Marblehead is 11 percent, while federal student loans can’t go above 6.8 percent. In the last decade, business has been booming as college costs have soared and so has the amount of debt students are carrying.

In January of 2007, First Marlblehead’s stock reached a high of $55 a share, but as of dedication day the stock was selling for just $2.51 a share.

Meyers jokingly tried to hide behind several people when he was singled out for praise by Pianta, prompting a friend of Meyers (we assume) to quip, “He’s too big to hide.”

onarch-bavaro-interior-ajpg-webThe interior of Bavaro Hall includes multiple open conversation areas, conference rooms, and this fancy dinning area.

Casteen also told the story of the late Anthony “Wally” D. Bavaro, a former NFL player and beloved high school teacher in the Boston area whom Meyers had always admired.

As one speaker pointed out, most people who donate millions to the construction of a building want their name on it. Not Meyers. Having lost his own father when he was a boy, Meyers wanted to honor his old teacher, who had been a father figure to him and many other boys in the Boston area. And Bavaro’s widow, Chris, was there to cut the ribbon on the building.

Meyers, too, praised Casteen for his willingness to "let us dream" and for giving them "a long leash" when he agreed to support the project. He also thanked UVA COO Leonard Sandridge, whom he credited with getting things done behind the scenes. "When you pull back the curtain, he's the Wizard of Oz," said Meyers.

Meyers, who said he shed an uncharacteristic tear on first seeing the building, told a story that demonstrated what Wally Bavaro meant to the underprivileged kids he taught and mentored. Bavaro taught at a school in Chelsea, one of the tougher neighborhoods in Boston, said Meyers, and one night a gang of hoodlums broke into the school and spray-painted profanities and insults on the doors of teachers' classrooms. “But on Wally’s door they wrote 'best teacher',” said Meyers.

Indeed, a plaque with the new UVA school’s statement of purpose is dedicated to Wally Bavaro, and tells his story as a way to dramatize the school’s mission while “honoring a great human spirit,”Casteen said.

onarch-bavaro-donorbricks-webDonors names are engraved into the bricks in the coutyard.
onarch-bavaro-chriscutsribbon-webChris Bavaro cuts the ribbon.
onarch-bavaro-sandridge-a-web1Leonard "the Wizard of Oz" Sandridge listens to Casteen's dedication..
onarch-bavaro-meyers-wally-web1Daniel Meyers with the plaque to Wally Bavaro behind him.


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interestingly, the money for this building came from a guy who was cited for ethics violations and drove his temporary profits via the free money credit crisis. in essence, dirty money. no wonder Casteen tried to slip this in late on a friday, a notorious PR move when you try to sneak news into the marketplace with as few people noticing as possible.

( i am not a casteen or uva hater, but he was attempting to hide this one)

Good reporting by Dave McNair of The Hook on the man who is donating this money, Daniel M. Meyers. The ex-pro football player, Bavaro, is well-known.

John Casteen's other legacy..

Talk about an underprivileged kid, huh?

The man who brought in house abortions to a state funded school, and installed a regime of medical misinformation thereat - also found the time for three wives during his time here.

And lest we forget the consistent and ongoing cover ups of rampant illegal drug use at UVA, no matter how many students don't survive their 4 years here.

He's the perfect match to go to work now selling cigarettes to teenagers now for a tobacco company. It's time to get UVA back to being an academic institution and away from being a partisan political organization.

Good riddance.

Just remember,
"Those who can't do, teach. And those who can't do or teach, get a PhD in Education"

I guess that Casteen also attracted the attention of a social misfit who blames him for all ill in the world on his crackpot website.

What does Sean think qualifies him to be such an ethical arbiter for the Charlottesville area?

His website is full of misleading epidemiologic and historical statements. He creepily stalks and cyberstalks U.Va.'s student health and medical centers. He publicly boasts of sharing his bed with co-eds, one of whom at least was suicidal. He offends grieving families with his incessant demands for prurient tabloid information. He repeatedly makes inaccurate assertions, even after he has been informed of the falsehood of his statements.

I guess criticizing people for allowing legal abortions distracts him from thinking about how he's pretty much a loser.

I have met Dr. Casteen; he is a distinguished professional who has done much to advance UVA. As far as reacting to the ranters on this blog, my advice is do not feed the trolls.

Sean is so mad, you guys!

Keep up the good work, Dave!

And good riddance. This is a long-overdue day.

Mr. Casteen's legacy will also be found in the thousands of women with breast cancer, cervical cancer, liver cancer, heart disease - and at least a few dozen children needlessly born preterm to UVA alumni with severe birth defects. They could have at least been honest and complete in their medical warnings and tried to inform their own students of grave threats to their future health. But they deliberately, purposefully decided that a far left political agenda and a desire to make some profit were more important than that.

The current medical regime at UVA did not come into being by happenstance. It was a very organized and thorough policy change that Mr. Casteen instituted upon his arrival 20 years ago by opening Elson and the Teen Center, and creating the Peer "Health" Educators to directly market steroids and in house abortions to teenage girls in the dorms.

UVA hospital had never performed an elective abortion in its entire history. The year after Mr. Casteen arrived, they performed 309 of them on UVA students. How many of them would be checking into the UVA dorms in a few weeks? The science directly proving the link between the pill and breast cancer has been around for many years now, but still they refuse to warn any of their female students of this - and STILL market these steroids as cancer inhibitors!

The story of his 20 years here is of course much broader than just these facts. But it remains that this is one very significant part of the story that must be included. It is at least tied for the biggest change he made at UVA in his time here. And it will be many years before all the victims of this policy of suppressing science and misinforming women will have unfortunately learned the hard way that human biology does not conform to political ideology.

Will Mrs. Sullivan bring honesty and honor back to UVA?

We'll see.

Mrs. Sullivan
I've never seen a woman in academia referred to as "Mrs." in the last 20 years.

Sean, unsurprisingly, hasn't bothered to learn about the political leanings of Casteen's predecessors. Here's an example:

"Robert M. O'Neil is the director of the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression. He was president of the University of Virginia from 1985 to 1990.[1]

O'Neil, a Boston native, received his undergraduate and law degrees from Harvard University. After his law school graduation, O'Neil clerked for U.S. Supreme Court Justice William J. Brennan, Jr. He was a law professor and President at the University of Wisconsinââ?¬â??Madison prior to assuming the Presidency of the University of Virginia in 1985, when he was similarly also appointed to a professorship at the University of Virginia School of Law."
Law clerk for one of the most liberal justices in the history of the Supreme Court? President of a much more liberal university than U.Va.? Noted advocate for civil liberties?

It will be interesting to see how Dr. Sullivan handles UVa athletics. I get the feeling that she's going to be doing everything but holding the tee for opening kickoffs at football games. :) I feel like she's REALLY in to UVa sports, unlike Casteen.

I'm not saying that this is good or bad. It will have it's plusses and minuses.

Casteen was anti-sports, partly because he felt that if he didn't stand up to the "win at all costs mentality" of some fans, he felt that everything would get away from him. And I think that the flack he got from UVa fans who were not UVa alumni just made him angrier and angrier toward UVa sports.

I went to Charlottesville High School with John Casteen's current wife, Betsy (Snoddy). Nice woman.

Nice article about money-grubbers getting rich and avoiding taxation.

UVA is a nightmarish dump. Those who praise it are a bad joke.

@Hmmm...thanks for the info on Dr. Sullivan and her involvement in sports! Will be very interesting to see the results!!!

I always got the sense that Casteen, having been an academic-minded undergraduate and graduate student at U.Va. in the '60s, wasn't a big fan of either the fraternity culture or bigtime intercollegiate athletics. He tolerated them as an undeniable part of the university.

I love Sean. So much amusing nonsense and lies jumbled behind his righteous fury.

Yes said it best:

"His website is full of misleading epidemiologic and historical statements. He creepily stalks and cyberstalks U.Va.’s student health and medical centers. He publicly boasts of sharing his bed with co-eds, one of whom at least was suicidal. He offends grieving families with his incessant demands for prurient tabloid information. He repeatedly makes inaccurate assertions, even after he has been informed of the falsehood of his statements."

Is that perello to the right of casteeni standing on a stack of phone books?

We updated the "Where is the Class of 2014" page on our website yesterday. Will be doing same to the Peer Death page once we hear back from Richmond regarding the updated abortion numbers at UVA hospital the last two years. 246 visitors to our site the last 2 days. Meanwhile, we've got yet another study to add to the Birth Defects page from the ACOG conference last month:

"Dr. Ghislain Hardy, a third-year resident in the department of obstetrics and gynecology at McGill University did a retrospective chart review of women who had delivered a baby between 2001 and 2005 at the Royal Victoria Hospital. Among the 17, 916 women who had a singleton delivery, 2,276 (13%) also had undergone a previous abortion and 862 (5%) had two or more induced abortions.

After adjusting for baseline characteristics, women with one previous abortion were 45% more likely to have a premature child at under 32 weeks; 71% more likely at less than 28 weeks; and more than twice as likely at less than 26 weeks. This association was even stronger for those with two or more abortions. ââ?¬Å?Preterm birth is a major concern in our health-care system today. It is the most important cause of neonatal morbidity,” said Dr. Hardy in his presentation. The rate of preterm birth is on the rise in Canada, and was more than 8.1% in 2006. Preterm birth is a burden on neonatal intensive care units, and these children go on to have health and social problems."

7 new public members on our facebook page the last 3 weeks, plus a doctor at UVA helping now. A few incoming first years, and parents on board.

Casteen may have thought just a year ago today that he'd be getting outta here without people knowing the regime of dishonesty and cruelty he brought to UVA. Not anymore.

It's been a great summer, and it will be an even better Fall. Information is powerful stuff.