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News Briefs


Renowned economist and former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan, visionary architect Zaha Hadid and pioneering international relations attorney and educator Anne-Marie Slaughter were the recipients of the 2007 Thomas Jefferson Foundation Medals.

Greenspan received the inaugural medal in citizen leadership, created to honor personal leadership and lasting influence on our common culture. The award joins the long-established Jefferson medals in architecture and law. The medals are the highest external honors bestowed by the University, which grants no honorary degrees.


Following up on its well-publicized publication of a lost Robert Frost poem last year, the Virginia Quarterly Review includes a previously unpublished Mark Twain essay in its spring issue that defends Walt Whitman against censorship and charges of obscenity. Though Twain and Whitman are arguably the central figures of American literature, they rarely spoke publicly about each other. Twain’s manuscript provides the first significant insight into his opinion of Whitman’s Leaves of Grass.


Virginia Gov. Tim Kaine appointed W. Austin Ligon, co-founder and former president and chief executive officer of CarMax, to the Board of Visitors. Ligon resides in Manakin Sabot, Va. Kaine reappointed three other board members: Susan Y. (Syd) Dorsey of Mechanicsville, Va.; L. F. Payne of Charlottesville; and John O. Wynne of Virginia Beach.


The John Paul Jones Arena was named Pollstar’s Best New Concert Venue. The arena opened on Aug. 1, 2006, and has hosted some of the biggest names in the entertainment industry in its short history: The Dave Matthews Band, Eric Clapton, Red Hot Chili Peppers, George Strait, Kenny Chesney, Billy Joel, Common, Rod Stewart, Pink and Justin Timberlake, to name a few.

Justin Timberlake at JPJ Dan Addison


In February, Philip Morris USA gave $25 million to UVA for research to prevent youth smoking, improve smoking-cessation methods, reduce the harmful effects of smoking and investigate the nature of addiction. “The gift supports research that may ultimately prevent or cure addictions and serious diseases such as lung cancer, heart disease and emphysema,” says President John T. Casteen III.


The School of Architecture ranked first among the nation’s graduate architecture programs for sustainable design practices and principles in the annual “America’s Best Architecture and Design Schools” study by the Design Futures Council. The graduate architecture program ranked fifth overall.

UVA’s other graduate schools also fared well in the latest U.S. News & World Report rankings. The School of Law tied for 10th; the Darden School of Business placed 12th; and the School of Medicine ranked 23rd in research, its highest ranking to date.


A survey of first-year students by the University’s information technology office reveals that 67 percent own an iPod and only four students in a class of 3,092 do not own a personal computer. (Ten years ago, 26 percent of those surveyed did not own a computer.) In other computing trends, 97 percent of this class own laptops (2 percent have both a laptop and a desktop) and nearly 20 percent use Macs.