Charlottesville Breaking News

W&L tops UVA: But Wahoo leaders don't mind

The University of Virginia just tied for number one public university in the annual U.S. News and World Report rankings. However, in the recent Princeton Review's Best 351 Colleges, UVA didn't make the cut in one key category where tiny Washington and Lee came in at number five.

The listing? Top party schools.

"I think it's appropriate we didn't make the list," says Susan Bruce, director of UVA's Center for Alcohol and Substance Education. "Our annual reports shows our numbers on use of alcohol are starting to go down."

That hasn't always been the case. The infamous annual debauchery that was Easters assured the university a high ranking among the national pantheon of party schools. That is, until revelry in Madison Bowl, aka "Mud Bowl," got out of hand in 1976 and was quashed in 1983.

In 1987, when Playboy published its list of top party schools, UVA came in at number 10. By the time Hefner's mag did a second list in 2002, the university was nowhere to be found– the only Virginia school mentioned was JMU, coming in at number 25....

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Mountain love: Waltons fans converge on Doubletree


The Waltons were a cultural phenomenon. Norman Rockwell did a cover for the Saturday Evening Post in 1973, seating the show's characters at the Thanksgiving Dinner table made famous by his WWII illustration, "Freedom from Want." Being tied to an American icon by an iconographic illustrator is heady stuff.

TV is larger than reality. A Google search on the Waltons returns 16,900 results, while a Google Search on Schuyler, Virginia, returns 551 results.

I didn't own a TV from 1972 to 1980. I'd heard of The Waltons the same way today I've heard of Britney Spears. But I was then, and I remained until the end of last week when they all came back for a reunion, blissfully ignorant about the series created by Schuyler native Earl Hamner (who also piloted Falcon Crest, starring Ronald Reagan's first wife).

My expectations for the shindig were low-key. I hoped to meet Earl, ask if he had feelings of kinship with Thomas Wolfe. Substitute Schuyler for Asheville, substitute Hamner for Wolfe. But the author, while participating in the events of the weekend, did not attend the function at the DoubleTree Hotel in Charlottesville on Saturday afternoon.

So, for you Waltons cognoscenti, Elizabeth, Jason, Toni, and Erin were on hand. My efforts to photograph the correct people as they arrived were gracefully, willingly, directed by the various Waltons fans in attendance.

What is left 20+ years after...

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Editor's Note