ANNUAL MANUAL- Our Town: Cavaliers


UVA's Central Grounds- Considered by some to be the most beautiful college campus in the world. No visit is complete without touring UVA's famous Lawn. The centerpiece of Thomas Jefferson's "Academical Village" is the Lawn with Jefferson's inimitable Rotunda. Free guided tours are available throughout the year with the exception of Thanksgiving break, the three-week vacation in December/January, and the final exam period during the first three weeks of May. Tour times are 10 and 11am and 2, 3, and 4pm, and the groups meet just inside the Rotunda entrance. Info: 924-7969. Information about admission tours, also available throughout the year: 982-3200.

"Mr. Jefferson" lived to see UVA open in the summer of 1825; it was burned to its brick shell in 1895, "restored" by architect Stanford White, and restored again to Jefferson's essential design in time for the American Bicentennial in 1976. The tours of the Rotunda and Lawn include a peek at Edgar Allan Poe's room, #13, of course.

After taking in the sights of Central Grounds, be sure to take a self-guided tour of the more secluded Gardens behind the Lawn's Pavilions, many of which still house faculty and their families. Romance-ready, they are popular among the student body as the place to woo (and sometimes to wed) a 'Hoo.


Back when it was a Virginia gentleman's college, UVA sports were probably a lot of fun, but the national rankings were few and far between. Now, things are so big that UVA has a $100-million football stadium and is ranked among the perennial powers in the nation, and that's not to mention the sparkling new 16,000-seat basketball arena. As is evident on UVA's popular official fan website,, many other Wahoo athletic teams have also established themselves as some of the premier college programs in America, including consistantly dominant men's and women's lacrosse and soccer teams. UVA's so hot now there's even an unofficial site:

Ticket office: 800-542-UVA1 (8821) or 924-UVA1 (8821)

–>>Check out more in our Sports and Recreation section.


You're in luck if you're staying at a downtown hotel because you can walk or take the CTS free trolley which looks like a San Francisco cable car but travels on rubber tires between The Corner, Jefferson Park Avenue, and Downtown every 15 minutes from 6:30am until midnight every day except Sunday. 296-RIDE


Enjoying UVA is easy once you've found a map and a place to park. Parking decks are at 14th Street, on Emmet Street, under the bookstore by Mem Gym, and at the UVA hospital. If nothing's available in any of the lots, your best bet is to check the open lots in and around the Corner, or look for on-street parking.


At this enclave of shops, bars, and restaurants surrounding the University, parking is tighter than anywhere else in town, but the streetscapes are lively, and the shops are eclectic. Something for everyone at all hours of the day (and night).


The Board of Visitors- The most plum appointments a governor can make, BOV choices create great excitement and hand-wringing every February. (Last brouhaha, however, came in 1990 with then-Gov. Douglas Wilder's appointment of Patricia Kluge.) They serve four-year terms.

W. Heywood Fralin, Rector, Roanoke 

Daniel R. Abramson, Alexandria 

A. Macdonald Caputo, Greenwich, CT

Alan A. Diamonstein, Newport News

Susan Y. (Syd) Dorsey, Mechanicsville

Thomas F. Farrell II, Richmond 

G. Slaughter Fitz-Hugh Jr., Richmond

Glynn D. Key, Washington, D.C.

Austin Ligon, Manakin-Sabot 

Vincent J. Mastracco Jr., Norfolk

Lewis F. Payne, Charlottesville

Don R. Pippin, Norton

Gordon F. Rainey Jr., Richmond

Warren M. Thompson, Vienna

Edwin Darracott Vaughan Jr., New York, NY

John O. Wynne, Vice Rector, Virginia Beach

Carey J. Mignerey, Student Member, Charlottesville

The President: John Casteen

The day-to-day honcho: Leonard Sandridge


For fiscal year 2007, the Commonwealth will provide only 14.9 percent of UVA's total budget of $1.15 billion (excluding the Health Center). 


UVA has had a clear objective: growth, in every sense of the word. Acceptance rates, tuition, fees, and buildings have all been soaring skyward.


The school enrolled approximately 3,100 first-year students in fall of '06 and administrators predict they will enroll 3,170 this fall– part of a plan to increase total enrollment by 1,500 over the next eight years. The in-state/out-of-state ratio will remain the same, approximately 2-1. 


In-state tuition & fees for 2007-2008: $8,500; $16,133 includes room and board

Out-of-state t&f 07-08: $27,750; $35,383 includes room and board

AccessUVa, a program created in 2004 to convert many loans to grants, was expanded last year, increasing its budget to nearly $20 million. This expansion means undergraduate students with family incomes less than or equal to 200 percent of the federal poverty level can have their demonstrated financial need met without loans or a work-study requirement.


In April 2005, UVA approved preliminary designs for the South Lawn's $105 million phase I project, as executed by Moore Rubel Yudell, the firm that replaced the decidedly modernist Polshek Partnership, whose (ultimately rejected) design had been commissioned in 2001.

The new design is ambitious and modern in its layout, extending the Lawn over JPA on an elaborate terrace (and restoring the view that Old Cabell Hall interrupts), but sure enough, it also includes familiar pergolas and red-brick columned exteriors that noticeably mimic "Jeffersonian" architecture in the same way the Darden School and the new Jones Paul Jones arena do.

"Polshek really tried with their design," says UVA architecture grad John Rubel, new lead architect on the project, "but I don't think it came across too well to the conservative folks."

At over $160 million, the South Lawn project is UVA's big production number, a sequel of sorts to the long-running success of Jefferson's Lawn, and it appears that UVA's suits weren't about to get embroiled in some newfangled design.

In addition to its modernist exterior, Rubel says that Polshek's design was spread over too large an area, creating many site problems. His job, he says, was to use Polshek's basic concept but scale it down and come up with a workable design.

Not surprisingly, UVA architect David Neuman steers the discussion away from architecture almost entirely.

"In any campus planning," says Neuman, "it's about the site first, about site planning and landscaping, and then it's about architecture. When it gets turned around, then we get in trouble."

As Neuman points out, "People don't realize that Jefferson was thinking about site orientation first before he even designed the buildings. The site planning of the lawn is great, and we're trying to follow the same site planning process as Jefferson."


If thoughts of UVA make you all warm and fuzzy inside, you may want to rent the gorgeous University Chapel for that warmest and fuzziest day of your life, your wedding day. It's $100 for current students, $200 for faculty, staff and alumni, and $500 for the general public. Crucial Saturdays book up way far in advance, so plan ahead! To make a reservation, call Newcomb Hall at 924-3203.


1 comment

The scare quotes around "restored" regarding White's work on the Rotunda give far too much credit to the 1976 work, which was shoddy (think acoustical ceiling tiles!), unjustifiably conjectural (it was a fantasy just as much as White's work), and had the side effect of demolishing a magnificent historic interior by one of the world's great architects, Stanford White. The White interior might not have been true to Jefferson, but it wasn't trying to be -- and thus, unlike the fake 1976 interior (not designed by Jefferson or anyone of note), it didn't fail at its task.

I'm not sure what's worse, though: U.Va. getting shafted by letting the demolition contractors into its most important building, or its ongoing PR effort to convince itself and the world that it did the right thing. It's okay to admit you made a mistake.