As you relax on a sunny beach or shady porch to read this summer issue of Virginia Magazine, you may suppose that the University closes its doors and takes a vacation at this time of year. We do encourage our students and faculty and staff members to take some time to rejuvenate during the summer months, but the Grounds still bustle with a broad range of academic, research, and recreational activity.

Each summer, the University offers a rich selection of courses to thousands of students and lifelong learners through its Summer Session program. The Summer Session takes place from mid-May to early August, with three individual sessions that run for about a month each and a fourth session that runs for almost two months. We offer more than 400 courses altogether, and they span the academic gamut of science, engineering, social sciences, and humanities. At the time of this writing, registration for the 2012 session is just getting under way, but we know that more than 4,200 undergraduate and graduate students participated in Summer Session last year, with enrollment increasing by five percent over the prior year.

The Summer Session is important to many of our undergraduate and graduate students who want to carry a more manageable course load during the regular academic year and others who want to earn their degrees at an accelerated pace. The School of Nursing, School of Architecture, McIntire School of Commerce, and Curry School of Education all have graduate programs that integrate summer study into their curricula. Almost half of our students who graduated in 2010-11 participated in a summer program at some point during their time here. We also welcome many visiting students from other colleges and universities who come to Charlottesville during the summer. In last year's session, we had 162 visiting undergraduates and 121 visiting graduate students, plus 21 visiting faculty members. All this means that more students and professors from institutions across the Commonwealth and beyond are making good use of UVA's resources at this relatively less busy time of the year.

Our Summer Language Institute runs from mid-May to early August, and we offer courses in Arabic, French, German, Italian, Latin, Russian, Spanish, Tibetan, Chinese and Hebrew. The work is intensive: students attend classes five days a week for seven and a half hours a day to work on their listening, speaking, reading, and writing skills. More than 160 students enrolled in the Institute last summer. In addition to the students enrolling in the Institute, eight UVA students are among 575 undergraduate and graduate students in the United States who received Critical Language Scholarships from the State Department to study languages in foreign nations this summer. Our students will spend seven to 10 weeks in intensive language institutes in countries that include India, Russia, China and Bangladesh.

The Morven Summer Institute takes place on the University's 3,000-acre Morven Farm, about 20 minutes from the Grounds. Undergraduate and graduate students who have interests in sustainability, design, food systems, and ecology work in a beautiful setting on projects with real-world applications. The interdisciplinary program includes classroom sessions, guest speakers, field trips, group discussions, and hands-on projects.

Alumni and friends have many opportunities to come to the Grounds during summer. One example is the annual Summer Jefferson Symposium, a four-day academic program that focuses on some facet of Thomas Jefferson's life and ideas. This summer's Symposium will concentrate on Mr. Jefferson's writings and his love of the written word. Participants will hear lectures from prominent faculty members and visit Monticello, Morven, and other destinations near the Grounds. Information about this and other programs for alumni and friends is available at

While Charlottesville is a hub of activity during summer, many of our students also study abroad during these months. Last summer, more than 950 students did so. Summer education-abroad programs are available in Africa, Asia, Australia, Europe, Central America and South America. UVA faculty members will lead 26 overseas study options this summer. More than 100 courses in arts and sciences, architecture, commerce, engineering, and public health will be available to UVA students abroad.

Many students will conduct research and service projects this summer with support from the Harrison Awards, the Jefferson Public Citizens (JPC) program, and the Center for Global Health (CGH). Forty-four of our undergraduates received Harrison Awards to support independent research projects in the sciences, engineering, social sciences, and humanities, with individual projects ranging from a study of novel therapies for melanoma to a study of the impact of microfinance among women in Nicaragua. Sixty undergraduates and eight graduate-student mentors are working on 14 different JPC projects this summer. One JPC team is developing a model for ceramic water-filter factories around the world. Another team is creating a schoolyard garden at one of Charlottesville's elementary schools to enhance the school's nutrition-education program. CGH scholars this summer are working on projects in South Africa, India, Costa Rica, Ethiopia, Panama, and other nations. Their projects are focusing on prenatal care, early-childhood malnutrition, partner violence, delivery of HIV services, and other global health concerns. Altogether, more than 100 of our students received funding to support some kind of research or service project this summer.

Many other programs and activities happen during summer, both on and off Grounds. We have summer orientation programs for new students, and special transition programs for transfer students, athletes, and others that help them get acclimated to UVA before classes begin. We operate a number of academic and athletic programs for schoolchildren. Away from the Grounds, UVA's Blandy Experimental Farm in the Shenandoah Valley conducts research seminars and nature camps. Our Mountain Lake Biological Station in Southwest Virginia offers summer courses on plant conservation, stream ecology, and other topics. At the Anheuser-Busch Coastal Research Center in Oyster, Va., we offer public seminars and summer science internships for high school students, while graduate students and faculty conduct research. Our School of Continuing and Professional Studies offers programs around the Commonwealth during summer.

"Summertime, and the living is easy," goes the famous Gershwin song. At UVA, and at University outposts near and far, summertime offers us opportunities to extend and broaden the teaching, research, and service activities we do during the academic year. The living is easy, but the work goes on.