Gilly Sullivan, former UVA Alumni Association director, dies
Source: UVAToday

Gilbert J. Sullivan, who retired in 1993 after devoting 45 years to the University of Virginia’s Alumni Association, including 35 years as its director, died Jan. 5 in Charlottesville. He was 80.

Sullivan went to work for the Alumni Association in 1948, after graduating from UVA at age 19 with an accounting degree. The former Cavalier quarterback rose to director in 1958.

When Sullivan retired in 1993, UVA President John T. Casteen III told the Alumni News that his efforts for 45 years had been integral to the University’s well-being. Earlier this month, Casteen recognized his personal and professional contributions.

“Gilly Sullivan was a man of remarkable talents, not all of them widely known,” Casteen said. “He was a general in the National Guard, and at least two of our governors tried to persuade him to leave Alumni Hall and to become Adjutant General. He declined both times because his lifetime loyalties were to the University of Virginia, Charlottesville and Albemarle County, where at various times over the years he acted in quiet ways—as a private citizen or a National Guard leader or a University official—to prompt good outcomes to hard, often divided issues.”

Sullivan was commanding officer of the Monticello Guard, Co. K, 116th Infantry, Virginia National Guard.

Current Alumni Association director C. Thomas Faulders III said, “Gilly served the Alumni Association and the University with great distinction for 45 years, during which the alumni population grew by more than 300 percent.

“Nationally recognized and respected as one of the leading alumni directors of his era, he will be best remembered around the Grounds for helpfulness to students and alumni in need. He had an enormously positive impact on many generations of students and alumni.”

A native of Fredericksburg, Sullivan was a member of two remaining secret societies: T.I.L.K.A., a social club emphasizing student leadership, and Z, a philanthropic group that honors student accomplishment. As a student, he also belonged to Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity, was often on the Dean’s List, and was later elected to Omicron Delta Kappa, a national honor society, and the Raven Society.

Sullivan served on the Board of Governors of the Colonnade Club and chaired the UVA chapter of the Red Cross before becoming Alumni Association director.

Over the years, Sullivan helped develop the most prominent alumni programs, including the Virginia Student Aid Foundation (now the Virginia Athletics Foundation), which provides scholarships for athletes. He oversaw major building expansion and fundraising for the Jefferson Scholars Program.

In 1966, he took over as editor of Alumni News, and worked with William H. Fishback Jr., then the University’s new director of information services, in producing the quarterly magazine.

In 1992, he received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for excellence of character and service to the University community, one of the University’s highest awards.

When Jack Syer succeeded Sullivan as director of the Alumni Association in 1993, he said he was “well aware of the magnitude of the shoes” he would try to fill.

Sullivan, Casteen said, “had a generous and gentle sense of humor, tremendous resilience as the University grew and changed around him, and a quality of puckishness that made hours spent with him times that I remember with gratitude and pleasure.

“Flat tires, bad directions, broken hotel beds and other events provoked not irritation or despair, but instead appreciation to have shared the experience with a man of Gilly’s range and capacity for wisdom and good humor,” he said.

The UVA Alumni Association, founded in 1838 as the sixth such group organized in the United States, comprises a staff of more than 50 and is governed by the Board of Managers.

The association was originally housed in Pavilion VII on the Lawn of the Academical Village. It moved to its current location, the former Kappa Phi House on Emmet Street, in 1936.


Getting the most bang for your college buck
Source: USA Today

As college admission deadlines wind down and families submit financial aid applications for next fall, freshmen in 2009 will be the first to start college clearly in the throes of the recession.

What this will mean for students and colleges is just beginning to be understood. But one thing is clear — now, more than ever, students and parents need to make every education dollar count.

The Princeton Review’s list of 100 “Best Value” Colleges for 2009, released today by The Princeton Review and USA TODAY, aims to help them do just that.

The education services and test-prep company’s annual list ranks the top 10 public and private colleges and universities; the rest are listed alphabetically. Deemed No. 1 Best Value for a public university is the University of Virginia in Charlottesville; No. 1 among private campuses is Swarthmore College in Swarthmore, Pa.

Value is about more than just cost, says Robert Franek, Princeton Review’s vice president for publishing. “We didn’t want to put schools in the project that just had low sticker prices because that didn’t necessarily mean value.”

And questions of value take on added significance in this economic downturn.

“In the past, when recessions have been reasonably mild and short, people planning to send kids to four-year colleges continued to send them to four-year colleges and worked it out. But in the past, we haven’t had college-educated parents laid off from jobs,” says Tom Mortenson of Oskaloosa, Iowa, who publishes a higher-education public-policy newsletter. “This recession looks to be different.”

From 2004 to 2007, The Princeton Review’s results were published in a book, America’s Best Value Colleges, and data appeared on the company’s website. This year, through a partnership with USA TODAY, the full list and analysis are in an interactive database on USATODAY.com. The Princeton Review, based in New York, is not affiliated with Princeton University.

College costs have skyrocketed in the past 10 years. At public campuses, for example, in-state costs are up 37 percent, according to data from the College Board, a non-profit group that tracks annual tuition increases. This year, it says, average total charges for tuition, fees, room and board are $14,333 for in-state students, $25,200 out of state. The average total at private campuses is $34,132. Institutions themselves provide the largest source of grant aid — representing 42 percent of all grant aid, the College Board says.

Out of the USA’s 643 public four-year institutions and 1,533 private four-year campuses, The Princeton Review regularly analyzes data from approximately 650 campuses that it considers the best, although Franek says the schools in the mix do change from year to year. Of the 650, about 100 didn’t provide enough information to be considered as Best Values, says Ben Zelevansky, who directs Princeton Review‘s data analysis.

The selection criteria looked at academics, costs and financial aid, using the most recently reported data from each institution for its 2008-09 academic year. Additionally, 160,000 to 175,000 student surveys provided input for the academic ratings.

The Princeton Review’s aim was to determine the average annual cost that a freshman paid for the 2008-09 school year, Zelevansky says; for public institutions, the determinations were based on calculations using a combination of in-state and out-of-state tuitions.

At the University of Virginia, the No. 1 Best Value for public schools, this year’s tuition, fees, room and board totaled $18,499 for in-state students and $37,749 out of state. The average grant UVA offered (including scholarships) totaled $9,531. The average 2008 graduate’s debt was $16,847.

UVA President John Casteen says AccessUVA, a financial aid program, is an effort to meet student need and has been funded since 2004. The current undergraduate enrollment is 13,726.

But today’s economic climate means cutbacks are expected, Casteen says. “We are in the middle of squeezing a great deal money out of the university’s administrative processes.”

At top-rated private college Swarthmore, with 1,480 undergraduates for the 2008-09 year, the total cost is $47,804, with the bulk — $36,154 — for tuition. But the average grant is $30,073. The school did not report the amount of student debt.

Alfred Bloom, Swarthmore’s president, says he expects increased financial aid will be needed. “We’ve had a long tradition of assuring that students can accept Swarthmore offers without regard to financial circumstances.”

At each of the top two campuses, about 70 percent of students graduated debt-free in 2008. But aid is not the only criterion for inclusion, says Zelevansky.

“This is not a list of America’s Best Financial Aid Packages,” he says. “This is a list of schools that provide the best balance of a strong education and a reasonable cost of attendance. The bottom-line cost for families is our concern here.”

Not listed are public schools including University of Wisconsin-Madison or University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill; missing among private schools are New York University and George Washington University, the USA’s most expensive four-year campus.

“You can still get a solid education at a good value from a school that didn’t make our list, but the schools on our list really go above and beyond,” Zelevansky says.


UVA set to lose $23 million in state funds over 2 years
Source: The Charlottesville Daily Progress

The University of Virginia will lose roughly $23 million in state funding over two years under state budget cuts proposed in December by Gov. Timothy M. Kaine.

The proposed $23 million loss includes a $10.6 million, or roughly 7 percent, state-funding cut made to UVA’s budget in October as Kaine tried to partially close an estimated nearly $3 billion shortfall in state revenue projections.

The proposal would account for an additional $12.4 million loss, or about 8 percent. Together, both cuts would account for 15 percent of the roughly $160 million in state money that makes up UVA’s academic operating budget.

Leonard W. Sandridge, UVA’s executive vice president and chief operating officer, said that while the school is not planning on layoffs to deal with loss, it is also looking to manage its work-force size and costs through attrition. Employee salaries and benefits make up roughly two-thirds of UVA’s operating budget.

“We have no plans at this point for layoffs, but the situation nationally is one that it would simply be dishonest of me to say that we don’t have to look at this going forward; month to month and quarter to quarter, it is a very difficult period,” Sandridge said.

He added there will be no mid-year tuition increase, and that any increase considered next spring would depend, in part, on the final form the budget cuts take after they are filtered through the General Assembly.

On the employment side, UVA has 185 positions it is actively trying to fill, but there is no figure immediately available of how many positions would remain open, Sandridge said. However, he added that in some cases duties associated with jobs left unfilled will be shifted to existing employees.

“It is inevitable that some of our classes will be larger,” he said. “And, candidly, it will be a challenge to maintain our normal level of services to all of our customers.”

Sandridge said he did not expect UVA would be giving raises to academic staff and faculty, which is line with Kaine’s budget proposal calling for the nixing of raises for state employees through 2010.

Sandridge said he did expect raises for some UVA Health System employees, but that that too would be limited.

“Obviously we are building a situation we will have to fix at some time because salaries to some degree will be falling below market [price],” Sandridge said. “Although, in fairness, I don’t know of many employers that are able right now to be making substantial increases in salaries.”
He added the budget cuts will mean maintenance on some buildings would likely be put off and that faculty travel will be limited.

Colette Sheehy, UVA’s vice president for management and budget, said the recent budget cut proposals likely would not stop state-supported capital projects that have reached the construction phase.

However, Sheehy said, projects still in the detailed planning and pre-planning stages likely will be put on hold should the proposed cuts take effect.

Virginia’s Community College System, which represents the state’s 23 community colleges, was also outlined on Wednesday to take a $40 million cut over two years.

Of that $40 million, roughly $19 million is what Kaine cut from the system’s budget in October. Of that $19 million, Piedmont Virginia Community College gave up nearly $450,000.

The University has established a Web site to address concerns about the impact of state budget cuts


Scientists at UVA marry humanities, technology
Source: The Charlottesville Daily Progress

University of Virginia researchers will begin using supercomputers early next year to construct digital 3-D models of historic architecture, ancient art and artifacts.

David Koller, assistant director of UVA’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, spent the last decade using laser and light scanners to measure historical sites and objects from around the world.

Now, some data gathered on those trips will be put into supercomputers that can process it into models that traditionally would overwork the capacity of a personal computer.

Koller said scientists have long been trained to incorporate supercomputer analysis into their research, but for humanists the idea has begun taking hold only recently.

Koller is not typical of other humanists, however, because he is a computer scientist who has incorporated humanities research into his work.

He said he hopes his work leads to reducing the amount of time researchers spend in the lab poring over what they’ve collected in the field.

For instance: An archaeologist uncovers multiple fragments that she believes may have once been a pot. From there, she scans each fragment and puts the data into a computer that uses algorithms to reconstruct them into a single object.

That could replace the trial-and-error method usually relied on to complete jigsaw puzzles, Koller said.

He also sees where constructing 3-D models could aid in restoring statues or architecture that has been scanned and modeled but later damaged.

Bernard Frischer, director of the Institute for Advanced Technologies in the Humanities, said Koller’s work also allows for Internet access to statues and historical sites.

In the case of statues Koller has scanned, it will also allow a person to get closer to a piece than if the person were actually inside the museum housing it. Close enough to see the “tool marks,” as Frischer puts it.

UVA researchers will have 500,000 hours of access to supercomputers in Berkeley, Calif. The computers are maintained by the U.S. Department of Energy and will allow UVA researchers to input data remotely.

The hours on the supercomputers come as part of collaboration between the Department of Energy and the National Endowment for the Humanities. Tufts University and the University of Southern California, San Diego, were also given supercomputer time for humanities projects.

“[The Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities] has a long history of innovative and collaborative work bringing technology and the humanities together,” Bruce Cole, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, said in an e-mail. “We are excited to see how the use of supercomputers will benefit the institute’s study of ancient artifacts and architecture.”

David Koller, assistant director of the UVA’s Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, works on a 3-D scan of a statue group in Rome. Chad Keller