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Alumni Association launches UVA Strong Fund

Seen here on Beta Bridge, the phrase “UVA Strong” served as inspiration for a new fund providing support to victims and survivors.  Erin Edgerton, University Communications

In the traumatic aftermath of the fatal shootings on Grounds in November comes a communitywide initiative to help.

The UVA Strong Fund is a University-wide effort administered by the Alumni Association. (The Alumni Association publishes Virginia Magazine.) Inspired by the outpouring of support from UVA alumni, parents and friends, the fund will support victims, survivors and their families; provide support services for students affected by the tragedy; and honor the lives of those who died on Nov. 13.  

UVA football players Devin Chandler (Col ’24), Lavel Davis Jr. (Col ’24) and D’Sean Perry (Col ’23) were fatally shot aboard a charter bus returning from a Washington, D.C., field trip. Teammate Mike Hollins (Col ’23) and a fifth student victim, Marlee Morgan (Col ’25), were treated at the UVA Hospital and were able to leave after several days.

The entire University community endured a tense 12-hour lockdown during the manhunt for the suspect, student Christopher Darnell Jones Jr. (Col ’22), since arrested, jailed and charged with three counts of second-degree murder, among other felonies.

The UVA Strong Fund takes its name from the UVA Strong signs and banners that sprang up around Charlottesville as the reality of the tragedy set in the following day. The fund went live four days after the shooting, with donations streaming in immediately upon its announcement that Thursday.

The speed of the endeavor reflects the rapid response of a University community unified in its determination to make a difference. “We have been just overwhelmed by the outpouring of emails, calls, letters, flowers, notes. I mean, you name it, and we have received it, and we’re so grateful,” said Alumni Association President & CEO Lily West (Darden ’12). “We are all stumbling through what has been an impossible and devastating week, and to have the support of this community has just been incredible.”