Mead dinner: 'Boots' was made for talkin'

Through his innovative juxtaposing of dorms and faculty residences on the Lawn, UVA founder Thomas Jefferson guaranteed that students and teachers would mix.

The man heralded as one of the great mixers of recent years, retired music professor Ernest "Boots" Mead, was honored at a dinner September 24. Mead is the eponym of a foundation that urges faculty to "walk in the footsteps" of Boots.

The dinner party in the Rotunda dome room was one that TJ himself might have enjoyed. Appropriately, each table had a flower-stuffed boot for a centerpiece. People at the $95-per-person event supported the Mead Endowment and applauded this year's honorees, each of whom concocted a special project.

Julian Connolly will take students to the premiere of Mazeppa by the Metropolitan Opera. Sylvia Chong will take students to an Asian film festival, John Dobbins has created a mini-course on Pompeii, and Bob Hirosky and his students will design, build, and race an amphibious piece of art.

"Each project is sure to create lasting bonds between the teachers and their students," said Endowment chair Tom Darbyshire, a former student of Mead's, who emceed the event.

The crowd learned that the Endowment has already spawned a welcome imitator, as the John Colley Endowment was announced to foster faculty-student interaction at the Darden school.

So not every Wahoo went carousing on the Corner after UVA's convincing (38-7) Homecoming football victory over Duke.

UVA grads Susan and Chris Crimmins

Ernest Mead with his daughters, Jenny Mead and Lindsay Lowdon

Russian lit prof and grant recipient Julian Connolly with Monica Gibson

The top-secret Seven Society sent along a cake

Stuart and Brandon Berkeley with UNC grad Jennifer Bock

UVA alums Will Spencer and Richard Berkeley

The event included a slideshow honoring Ernest Mead.