The Exit Interview (Summer 2018)

[Teresa Sullivan’s interview answers] show exemplary leadership character marked by commitment, accountability, integrity, vision, perseverance, humility and altruism. Teresa Sullivan also demonstrated the remarkable power of forgiveness. Imagine if she had reacted personally, emotionally and with retribution to the blame, the falsehoods and unfairness that she encountered. She truly handled the many crises that came her way with grace and grit, seeking no applause or attention to herself but rather attending to the needs of others and to the overarching needs of our University. Thank you, President Sullivan, for keeping our outstanding University and its fundamental values in high stead. We are a better place and people for your time as our president.

Betty L. Shotton (Col ’74)
Black Mountain, North Carolina


At my 50th reunion in 2014, I became totally impressed with [President Sullivan] at the Old Cabell Hall swearing-in of our class attendees to the Jefferson Society. Her brief talk and subsequent Q&A session illustrated her depth of knowledge of the history, traditions and current goings-on around the Grounds. Godspeed Madame President, you left a good mark at the University and in all of Charlottesville during your tenure. Your successor has a high standard to meet.

R. Russell Beers (Col ’64)
Loveland, Colorado


Thank you for the fawning article about Mrs. Sullivan. She was a typical college president—nothing special. She overreacted to events (Rolling Stone article) and stressed events settled over 150 years ago. Here, of course, I am speaking of her concerns for slavery. Your questions indicated you were most interested about gender. She gave the politically correct academic answers. As she likes to say—she did the same thing any college president would have done.

Lawrence P. Marlin (Com ’66)
Oldsmar, Florida


President Sullivan has been a breath of fresh air for a very stuffy old institution. She has made me proud of my alma mater instead of ashamed of it. Thank you for your contributions and service.

Virginia Fink (Grad ’93)
Broomfield, Colorado


Thank you for capturing the essence of Teresa Sullivan’s tenure and thoughts in an honest and sincere way. I am grateful for your time and dedication to keeping those of us removed from the University informed. Much respect for the reporting and writing. Keep up the great work!

Diane Takata Powell (Com ’76)
Charlotte, North Carolina

Intersecting Disciplines (Summer 2018)

One of the best experiences of my UVA career was a semester in which many of my classes just naturally complemented each other in the most amazing way: African Religions in the Americas (Religious Studies), Rewriting the Story of Slavery (English), and History of the Civil Rights Movement (History) taught by the estimable Julian Bond. It was a magical learning experience to have so many of my classes intersecting. I don’t remember ever being so excited about learning before or since!

Liz Pease (Col ’97)
Salisbury, Massachusetts


I really prefer a common core curriculum that remains interdisciplinary, but forces students to read classics together so that students from every discipline can engage meaningfully with each other on basic questions of the human experience, from ethics and politics to aesthetics and practical life decisions.

Honza Prchal (Law ’97)
Homewood, Alabama

Honor Allows a Fuller Confession (Summer 2018)

As a graduate from the University over 60 years ago, one strong, unifying bond with other alumni has been the Honor System. Each student adhered to the simple, straightforward principle—I will not lie, cheat or steal. Head held high, our word our bond, we received briefings upon admission: No exceptions, no retractions; do not violate the system. And, regardless of our chosen field, the Honor Code influenced our lives. With the modifications to the system discussed in the article, should there be an asterisk placed by the names of students who have found grace?

Travis Thompson (Com ’57)
Wailea, Maui, Hawaii


My generation of alumni continues to be supportive of the Honor System, including the single sanction. Down through the years as the composition of the student body has changed, [a] recent close vote is indicative of the trend by students to question the single sanction. Various qualifiers have dodged the question. It may be that the single sanction of permanent expulsion will be modified. As an interim step, I have suggested to the Honor Committee that a one-word change to the Honor System’s constitution be considered. The constitution now provides that the Honor Committee shall: “Exclude permanently from student status University students found to have committed honor violations.” Deleting “permanently” from this provision would at least allow possible redemption after expulsion. Thus, a future Honor Committee might consider an application for readmission and, taking facts and circumstances under consideration, allow a student to be readmitted.

Leigh B. Middleditch Jr. (Col ’51, Law ’57)


Graduating from the University in 1948, long before full admission of women, the Honor Code was a front and center part of the educational experience. I have long since forgotten the exact formula for the benzene ring but never the words and meaning of the Honor Code. Whether you are talking about Informed Retraction or single sanction, the original intent of the Honor Code is marginalized. Is the Honor Code to become a tool of social rehabilitation rather than one of honesty of conscience?

Margaret T. McNamara (Educ ’48)
Evanston, Illinois

UVA Tightens Speech Policy (Summer 2018)

The new policy will only work if the University remains politically neutral and not allow either the faculty or politicians to unduly influence decisions on who can and who cannot express themselves at the University.

R.O. Hunton (Engr ’60)
Houston, Texas

Retrospect (Summer 2018)

The Academical Village gardens are one of this institution’s most endearing enigmas. While much attention has been paid over the years to the architecture of the Academical Village, the broader landscape has received much less comprehensive study.

The first version of the Maverick Plan (John Neilson draughtsman, Peter Maverick engraver) was initiated in the Spring of 1821. Construction of the University gardens however did not begin until mid-1821, a process which was only completed by the end of the following year. Because of this the Maverick Plan does not represent an as-built document, rather it is very much a work in progress. Therefore the walls and the spaces of the University gardens as represented in the 1820s were mostly an idealized plan.

Recent archaeological research in the western gardens has documented an original design that varies considerably from the Maverick Plan. Gardens possessing hotels at their western end (I, V, IX), had northern and southern serpentine walls that extended all the way to the West Range. Gardens that did not possess hotels at their western end (III, VII), had northern and southern serpentine walls that ended short of the West Range. A similar pattern has begun to emerge in the eastern gardens. The original early 1820s design for the University’s gardens would have been one that reinforced privacy and restricted public movement through, and access to, these spaces. We are also beginning to understand more about the early uses of these gardens, and the fact that they served as living and work spaces for free and enslaved African Americans.

Benjamin Ford (Grad ’98)

Antiwar Stories (Spring 2018)

Let me add to your coverage of the May 1970 protests. I was Student Council vice president and president-elect at the time. I joined student marshals in efforts to urge protestors in front of the Rotunda and along University Avenue to remain peaceful. [Here’s] what happened, from my May 29, 1974, letter to the Oregon State Bar—explaining how I had been detained by police in May 1970:

“Shortly after 12:30 a.m., the police ranks broke and policemen began chasing demonstrators and arresting them. Seeing this, I headed out next to a police officer, shouting ahead that everyone should leave the area or they would be arrested. [A] higher-ranking officer (a lieutenant, I believe), ran by us, pointed to me, and shouted, ‘Officer, arrest that man!’ saying nothing more and running on. The officer explained to me that there was nothing that he could do. I was handed over to a deputy sheriff. Then, I was placed aboard a Mayflower moving van.

“Within about fifteen or twenty minutes 68 other persons, many of them marshals, had been collected, and we were transported to the city police station, which had an adjoining courtroom. Throughout the night nothing happened to me—I just sat in the courtroom, where everyone was held, and waited. [By 7:30 a.m., a lieutenant and I] had a pleasant conversation and he told me I should leave.”

By the way, I passed the Oregon Bar Exam and was admitted, without objection, in 1974.

Kevin L. Mannix (Col ’71, Law ’74)
Salem, Oregon


The editors of Virginia Magazine might be too polite to respond to the comment in the Letters to the Editor of the Summer 2018 issue, but I feel compelled to address it on behalf of loyal Wahoos everywhere. The letter writer asked, “When are you gutless wonders going to write an article about the UVA alumni who fought and some died for our country?”

He apparently objected to chronicling the anti-war movement on Grounds in 1970. Even a cursory look through back issues, an effort that took maybe 30 minutes, revealed at least five such articles in the past five years: “Retrospect: A Flight Forgotten” (Fall 2016), about The Aviator statue and alumnus James McConnell, a pilot who fought and died in World War I; “Corps Challenges” (Summer 2016), a profile of U.S. Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller (Col ‘75); “Object Lesson” (Summer 2014), about memorabilia in the UVA collections, including a part of McConnell’s plane; “Retrospect: Flag of Honor” (Spring 2014), about the flag that hangs in John Paul Jones Arena and covered the casket of Pete Gray (Col ’68), the former class president, football player, and track athlete who fought and died in Vietnam; and “War Stories” (Spring 2013), offering the observations of UVA alumni on military life from Normandy to Afghanistan.

[A]s a journalist for more than 40 years, I won’t in good conscience allow someone to debase quality journalism because it doesn’t fit one’s prismatic world view.

Kip Coons (Col ’76)
Raleigh, North Carolina

Tom the Builder (Spring 2018)

As an architect, I see in your article an equally compelling, entirely plausible narrative of a politically powerful Southern white supremacist who was equal parts micro manager, visionary leader and poor financial planner [Thomas Jefferson], and his unskilled construction manager [John Perry], frustrated with constant intervention and his own ineptitude, and the workers—enslaved and overseers—wrapped up in the chaos. Sounds like absolute misery.

Tim Slater (Col ’02, Arch ’06)
Brooklyn, New York

Color Bind (Spring 2018)

The gymnastics that the University is going through to determine the appropriate approach to the column finishes at the Academical Village is baffling. The modern whitewash on the columns is historically inappropriate, based on a nostalgic ideal of the 19th century. The two “restored” columns with their light gray stucco finish have weathered the storm of cyclical weathering that distresses the remaining columns, an issue of water getting trapped in the column which then spalls off the stucco finish. When left unpainted the columns can expel water through their permeable surface. Year after year [University officials] spend the time and money to make costly repairs, so that the visitors to the Lawn may be assuaged by the familiar white columns. In my experience [in historic preservation], returning to original finishes and colors is always a prudent and wise decision, in this case both aesthetic and functional. The user, after a brief period of distaste, adjusts to the difference and accepts it forgetting their preconceived notions about what something ought to be.

Steven Cornell (Arch ’05, ’09)
Salt Lake City, Utah

Faces of Grounds (Spring 2018)

As a mom of a 2015 graduate, I can’t say enough about Kathy [McGruder] and how happy I was to see her recognized as an amazing staffer!  In every one of the few times I visited Newcomb Hall, she gave me the best hugs ever and just made sure I knew someone who cared about my son was around. She knew him by name and, after my first visit, knew me too. She’s just amazing! UVA, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE always take the very best care of her.

Adriana C. Guedes de Almeida
Brasilia, Brazil