As I contemplate my final days here in Alumni Hall, I cannot help but look back with a combination of emotions: gratitude for the opportunity and privilege to serve the University and its great alumni, a bit of melancholy to realize that I will be leaving the company of such a wonderful Alumni Hall staff, and unbridled optimism for the future of both the Alumni Association and the University.
When I returned to Charlottesville more than 11 years ago, I did what most alumni do: I headed for the Academical Village. Walking along the Lawn and among the colonnades was exhilarating. And, probably speaking for most of the 14,000 alumni who live in the Charlottesville/Albemarle area today, it continues to be a thrill.
I have witnessed a good deal of growth in our University during my time. The number of students has grown from just over 19,000 to 21,500, with most of that growth coming from a 15.5 percent increase in the undergraduate population. Similarly, our alumni population has grown 25 percent to 225,000, and has become younger in median age and significantly more diverse. More importantly, alumni engagement with the University has soared 150 percent in the same period, with more than 40 percent of alumni interacting with the University through UVAClubs, Reunions and myriad other alumni activities, both here in Charlottesville and around the country and the world.
During my time here, I have met thousands of alumni, either directly or through correspondence on a range of University matters. I cannot think of a more intelligent, articulate and capable group of people who are so passionate about their University. I thank you for your love of this institution. It has made my job easier and far more enjoyable.
I have learned that, on certain occasions, it is appropriate and necessary to quote Mr. Jefferson. In 1811, he wrote, “There is a fullness of time when men should go, and not occupy too long the ground [Grounds?] to which others have a right to advance.” It is that time for me, but I leave you with a strong Alumni Association, an exceptional University and an extraordinary successor in Jenifer Andrasko, a 2010 graduate of the University’s Darden School of Business (see related story). Jen was selected by the Board of Managers from among 114 candidates, and I am certain you will find her a most capable champion for all our alumni.
C. Thomas Faulders III
President and Publisher