High Honors

alt textThe University of Virginia bestowed its highest external honors—the annual Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals—during Founder’s Day celebrations in April. The medals recognize the achievements of those who embrace endeavors that Jefferson excelled in and held in high regard. U.S. Sen. John W. Warner (Law ’53) received the medal in citizen leadership, which honors personal leadership and lasting influence on our common culture. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, who taught at the Law School from 1967 to 1971, received the medal in law. Gro Harlem Brundtland, United Nations special envoy on climate change and former prime minister of Norway, received the medal in architecture.

Warner was on Grounds to receive, but also to give. He presented the first annual Senator John W. Warner Public Leadership Awards—given to third-year students who exhibit a serious ambition to seek future election to public office—to students Sarah Buckley, a political philosophy, policy and law major; and Grayson Lambert, a government and foreign affairs major. The award includes a stipend to help support the recipients’ education and their interest in public service.

Serious Business

For the third consecutive year, BusinessWeek magazine ranked the McIntire School of Commerce second among the nation’s best undergraduate business programs. The magazine reported that the big news this year was the tightening margin between McIntire and top-rated University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School. “The ranking is based on an ‘index’ number, and the No. 1 school is always an index number of 100,” wrote Louis Lavelle, a BusinessWeek editor. “Last year Virginia was way behind; it had an index number of 92.7. This year it was 99—a virtual dead heat.”

In other McIntire news, the school will introduce a master’s degree program in fall 2008. This yearlong, 36-credit-hour program will be designed for recent college graduates who want a strong foundation in business before entering the work force.

Graduation Rates

For the 14th straight year, the University’s African-American students posted the highest graduation rate among those at all public universities in the nation, according to the annual compilation by the Journal of Blacks in Higher Education. The journal reports that U.Va.’s graduation rate of 87 percent makes it “the leader by far in successfully graduating black students” at flagship state universities.

Reporting for Duty

After 31 years as a reporter for the Charlottesville Daily Progress, Bob Gibson (Col ’72) knows a thing or two about politics. Gibson brings his knowledge and experience as a veteran political writer to a new role—executive director of the Thomas C. Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership, a U.Va. program that trains Virginians to become skilled in politics and public policy. Gibson, 58, succeeded Sean T. O’Brien in April.

A Tree For Murray

The late J. Murray Howard, who served for two decades as architect for the historic buildings and Grounds at the University of Virginia, was honored in April with the planting of a tree on the south end of the Lawn in front of Rouss Hall. In 1970, the University instituted an annual tree planting to honor individuals who have made significant contributions to the design, planning and maintenance of the Grounds. Since then, a tree has been planted in a public ceremony presided over by the University president every Founder’s Day. A listing and locations of the more than 100 commemorative trees on Grounds are available at http://www.virginia.edu/architectoffice/memorialtree