Accolades: Business Publisher Lists UVA Among Nation’s Top Public Colleges

The University of Virginia has qualified for another list of America’s 10 best public colleges and universities, according to a recent national report.

The study by Business First puts UVA in third place out of 477 four-year public institutions across the country, based on 20 indicators of academic excellence, prestige, affordability, diversity and economic strength.

Business First is a Buffalo-based publication owned by American City Business Journals Inc. of Charlotte, North Carolina, the nation’s largest publisher of local business news and information.

Business First’s study is based on the latest data from the National Center for Education Statistics and the U.S. Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. The most recent college rankings recently issued by three national publications – Forbes, Kiplinger’s and U.S. News and World Report – have also been taken into account.

Business First’s 20-part formula seeks to identify the public universities and colleges that offer the best educational experiences to their students. It gives the highest marks to schools with highly selective admissions processes, strong retention and graduation rates, prestigious reputations, generous resources, affordable tuitions and housing costs, diverse faculties and student bodies, and economically robust communities, according to its announcement.

The University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor were the top two schools.

UVA led six Virginia public universities ranked in the top 70 nationally, including the College of William & Mary (No. 6), Virginia Tech (No. 35), James Madison University (No. 48), Virginia Military Institute (No. 58) and George Mason University (No. 68).

UVA ROTC Receives MacArthur Award

The UVA Army ROTC command has received a MacArthur Award, which is presented to eight schools or units selected from among the 275 senior Army Reserve Officers’ Training Corps units nationwide.

The awards, presented each year since 1989 by Cadet Command and the General Douglas MacArthur Foundation, recognize the ideals of “duty, honor and country” as advocated by MacArthur. The award is based on a combination of the achievement of the school’s commissioning mission, its cadets’ performance and standing on the command’s National Order of Merit List and its cadet retention rate.

“This is the highest praise we can earn,” said Army Lt. Col. Mark Houston, the unit commander. The UVA unit also includes students from Liberty University in Lynchburg.

 “Our ROTC Brigade encompasses most of the East Coast, with 38 universities, not including their partnership schools, from Delaware to South Carolina. This was a team effort and represents the quality and dedication of our cadets, cadre and the universities to our program.”

This is the second MacArthur Award in four years for the unit.

State Department Cites UVA for its Fulbright Winners

The U.S. Department of State recently cited UVA for the number of Fulbright Scholarships the University received in 2015 as part of its list of the U.S. colleges and universities that produced the most 2015-16 Fulbright U.S. students. 

Fourteen UVA students received Fulbright Scholarships for the government’s flagship international educational exchange program, the most ever for the University in a given year.

“This is a wonderful acknowledgement of 14 of our students’ commitment to mutual understanding and cross-cultural interaction,” said Andrus G. Ashoo, associate director of UVA’s Center for Undergraduate Excellence. “It’s a neat lagniappe for the University of Virginia to be on a widely publicized list, but it doesn’t tell anybody anything they didn’t already know about the institution. We teach more than 20 languages, we have internationally focused curricula and we attract great students. I hope this urges more students and alumni to pursue the Fulbright U.S. Student Award.”

Started in 1946, the Fulbright Program has provided scholarships to more than 360,000 participants, chosen for academic merit and leadership potential, to exchange ideas with people around the world. Fulbright also awards grants to U.S. scholars, teachers and faculty to conduct research and teach overseas. In addition, some 4,000 new foreign Fulbright students and scholars come to the United States annually to study for graduate degrees, conduct research and teach foreign languages.

UVA Neurology Team: Top 10 in NIH Funding

According to the most recent listing at the Blue Ridge Institute for Medical Research, UVA’s Department of Neurology has the 10th-highest funding from the National Institutes of Health among the nation’s neurology departments.

The other top 10 universities: University of California, San Francisco; Washington University; Johns Hopkins University; Columbia University Health Sciences; University of California, Los Angeles; Yale University; University of Rochester; Northwestern University at Chicago; and Emory University.

“I couldn’t be more thrilled that this team has been so successful in NIH funding, despite our team having numerous other demands and being highly successful in other realms,” said department chair Dr. Karen Johnston, Harrison Distinguished Professor.

“We’re a modest-sized institution, but we’re doing really good work,” she added. “For example, UVA Neurology is currently leading two major neurological clinical trials that span the country. It’s a substantial effort for such a small team to be leading a couple of major, acute neurological trials. Team UVA Neurology deserves all the credit for their hard work. Our group is really fantastic.”

BRIMR also publishes a record of NIH funding by individual principal investigator. Jaideep Kapur, Eugene Meyer III Professor of Neuroscience and Professor of Neurology,  is listed as seventh among the country’s neurologists in funding from the NIH.

Kapur said that neuroscience research is growing in many institutions, and being in the top 10 distinguishes UVA in both the commonwealth and the region. “Some of our research is patient-centered and is designed to improve care – it impacts the patient,” he said. “But we also perform early-phase laboratory research as well as translational research, in close collaboration with the neuroscience community across Grounds. UVA Neurology’s efforts truly bridge from bench to bedside.”

History Professor Nets $75,000 Burkhardt Fellowship

Neeti Nair, an associate professor in UVA’s Corcoran Department of History, received a $75,000 Frederick Burkhardt Fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies to pursue a multi-year project on the history of a set of criminal laws in South Asia.

Nair, who specializes in the history of modern South Asia and legal history, will spend the next year in residence at the John W. Kluge Center at the Library of Congress, working on her book, “The Blasphemy Laws: A South Asian History,” which will trace the trajectory of a set of criminal and penal codes instituted over the course of a century in South Asia. At the Library of Congress, she will study parliamentary debates and also begin exploring newspaper and periodical collections and legal databases.

“Instituted in the colonial period, these laws that I refer to in shorthand as the ‘blasphemy’ laws continue to try to regulate relations between religious communities and individuals in India, Pakistan and Bangladesh,” Nair said.

Global Affairs Leader Wins New Prize Honoring UVA’s First Chinese Graduate

Jeffrey W. Legro, UVA’s vice provost for global affairs, has been awarded the inaugural Weiching Williams Yen Award for his “exemplary service and devotion to the Chinese student, scholar and alumni community at the University.”

Jerry Zhiyuan Peng, a 2003 alumnus of UVA’s Darden School of Business and member of the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees, presented Legro the award Feb. 12 at a ceremony at UVA’s Colonnade Club. 

Peng praised Legro for helping establish UVA’s China office, which celebrated its opening last March. “We believe the China office will serve as a very good beginning to connect UVA’s alumni in China, future research partners and attract the best students and continue UVA’s legacy overseas,” Peng said.

The award was created by the UVA China Fund, which was founded in 2014 by a group of alumni and students. It honors Yen, who graduated in 1900 and went on to serve as China’s premier and briefly as the country’s acting president.

Law School’s Director of Financial Aid to Receive Lambda LGBT Award

Jennifer Hulvey, director of financial aid at the UVA School of Law, will receive the UVA Lambda Law Alliance’s Alvarez-Coughlin Award for 2015 to honor her commitment to diversity.

The award, named after its first honorees, UVA law professor Anne Coughlin and Law School Foundation President and CEO Luis Alvarez Jr., is given to those who have displayed “extraordinary efforts” on behalf of the LGBT community by “creating an open, supportive and welcoming environment for diversity” at the Law School, the University as a whole and beyond. The award will be presented to Hulvey in the fall during the biennial Lambda Law Alliance dinner, which brings together students, alumni supporters and employers.

Lambda Law Alliance, a student support network for members of sexual minorities and their allies, created the award to honor recipients’ past actions and service, as well as to act as a call to continue such support.

“Jennifer’s tireless work has made her an integral part of UVA Law’s welcoming community – especially regarding LGBT students,” said Lambda President Zachary Alvarez, a second-year law student. “Not only has she spoken at meetings to emphasize her support of Lambda and its members, but she has also advocated expanding the use of student aid for all health matters, not just conventional ones.”

She said she was honored to receive an award focused on her financial counseling efforts, because she entered student services to “make a positive difference in the lives of students.”

“I love what I do,” Hulvey said. “Working with students, supporting students, just being there for our students – it’s my most important life work. Sometimes, I know I’ve helped. Sometimes I have no idea if I made any difference at all. But moments like this remind me of how important it is to keep trying.”

UVA Takes Home Five Advancement Awards

UVA entities captured four “Awards of Excellence” and one “Special Merit” award in the Council for the Advancement and Support of Education’s District III competition.

University Advancement’s Integrated Communications group earned two Awards of Excellence. “Be Inspired,” the annual report of the University Giving Societies, won in the “Writing for Fundraising” category, while “CMB to NYC,” a fundraising website to support the Cavalier Marching Band’s appearance in the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City, won in the Electronic and Digital Media Fundraising Website or Microsite category.

Two University magazines also earned awards. The Alumni Association’s website – the monthly online edition of the alumni magazine – won an Award of Excellence in the Electronic and Digital Media Alumni Website or Microsite category, and the School of Nursing’s “Virginia Nursing Legacy” magazine won an Award of Excellence in the Magazine/Tabloid Improvement I category.

UVA’s Office of Engagement rounded out the winners, earning a Special Merit Award in the Programs and Projects/Alumni Engagement Project, Event or Program category for its send-off events for incoming UVA students.

Fire Safety Team Wins Governor’s Award

The fire safety team at UVA Environmental Health and Safety earned the 2015 Governor’s Virginia Fire Service Award for Civilian Excellence in Virginia Fire Service Support. The award was bestowed last weekend at the Virginia Fire Chiefs Association’s 2016 Virginia Fire Rescue Conference, held in the Virginia Beach Convention Center.

According to the award’s citation, “Working closely with the State Fire Marshall’s Office and the Charlottesville Fire Department, the University of Virginia has developed an exemplary community risk reduction program providing critical safety to students, faculty, staff and visitors. Implemented through the Office of Environmental Health and Safety, UVA’s fire and life safety program is one of the most outstanding and comprehensive programs in the country. It serves as a model for colleges and universities across the United States.”

“We are sincerely honored to be recognized by the Virginia Department of Fire Programs,” said R. Thomas Leonard, interim director of Environmental Health and Safety. “In addition to recognizing the great work of the entire EHS-Fire Safety team, we appreciate that the success of this program has only been possible through the support, partnership and spirit of cooperation fostered over many years by many people within and outside the University community.”

Media Contact

Dan Heuchert

Assistant Director of University News and Chief Copy Editor, UVA Today Office of University Communications