Accolades: New Ranking Places Charlottesville No. 2 Among Small College Towns

December 15, 2023 By Dan Heuchert, Dan Heuchert,

WalletHub, a website providing information and reviews to consumers, ranked Charlottesville, the University of Virginia’s hometown, No. 2 among all small college towns (with populations under 125,000) and No. 7 overall in its “Best College Towns in America” report.

The ranking is aimed at students seeking to make their college decisions, according to the publication.

In compiling the list, WalletHub compared 415 U.S. college towns in a mathematical ranking using 31 factors, grouped into three categories: “wallet friendliness,” “social environment,” and “academic and economic opportunities.”

Charlottesville ranked No. 1 nationally in unemployment rate. It also rated No. 11 in “brain drain,” which measures the annual change in the share of the population with a bachelor’s degree or higher; and No. 12 in quality of higher education. Other areas in which Charlottesville scored above the national average included city accessibility, students per capita, percentage of rental units, percentage of part-time jobs, crime rate and cost of higher education.

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Austin, Texas, led the overall rankings. The rest of the top 10 included Ann Arbor, Michigan; Orlando, Florida; Tampa, Florida; Scottsdale, Arizona; Las Vegas; Gainesville, Florida; Raleigh, North Carolina; and Atlanta. 

Virginia Sports Hall of Fame’s 2024 Class Includes Three Hoos

The Virginia Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2024 inductees include former UVA director of athletics Craig Littlepage and Cavalier All-Americans Chris Long (football) and Monica Wright Rogers (women’s basketball). The class, selected by the Hall of Fame’s Board of Directors and Honors Court Committee, features athletes, coaches and contributors who have connections throughout the commonwealth.

The nine-person class will be celebrated April 19 and 20 in Henrico County. 

Littlepage spent 45 years on Grounds at UVA, first as an assistant coach on the men’s basketball team (1976-82 and 1988-90), and then in athletics administration from 1990 to 2017, the last 16 serving as director of athletics. 

Under his leadership, the Cavaliers were one of the most successful athletic programs in the nation, winning 76 Atlantic Coast Conference championships and 13 national titles. The 76 conference championships were the most by an ACC member school during that time. Littlepage also chaired the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Selection Committee (2005-06) and was a member of the USA Basketball Board of Directors (2005-08). In 2021, he was selected for induction into the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Hall of Fame. 

From left, former UVA athletic director Craig Littlepage, former football star Chris Long, and former women’s basketball star Monica Wright Rogers are all part of the Virginia Sports Hall of Fame’s Class of 2023. (UVA Athletics photos)

Long, a Charlottesville native, was a two-time All-ACC selection, the 2007 ACC Defensive Player of the Year, Dudley Award winner and unanimous first-team All-American at UVA. The No. 2 overall pick in the 2008 NFL Draft by the St. Louis Rams, Long played 11 seasons in the NFL with St. Louis, New England and Philadelphia. He registered 332 tackles, 70 sacks and 15 forced fumbles during his pro career, while also being a part of two Super Bowl-winning teams in New England and Philadelphia. 

His impact has extended well beyond the gridiron through his Chris Long Foundation. For his charitable efforts, Long received the NFL Players Association’s 2018 Alan Page Community Award and the 2018 Walter Payton NFL Man of the Year Award. 

Wright Rogers, from Forest Park High School in Woodbridge, was named the 2006 Gatorade Virginia Player of the Year for women’s basketball and was selected as a WBCA All-American. During her four years at Virginia, Wright Rogers set program career records for total points (2,540), scoring average (19.1 points per game), field goals made (962), field goal attempts (2,207) and 25-point games (28), and ranks fourth on the all-time list with 372 steals. A three-time All-American, Wright Rogers was named the 2010 ACC Player of the Year, ACC Defensive Player of the Year and WBCA National Defensive Player of the Year. Following her graduation, she played seven seasons in the WNBA, winning two WNBA championships, and was named to the 2010 All-Rookie Team.

UVA Health Earns National Award for Patient Safety, Quality Care

UVA Health University Medical Center has earned a national award for patient safety and high-quality care, being recognized as a 2023 Top Teaching Hospital by The Leapfrog Group, a national health care safety nonprofit.

“As we work to expand our services and access to care as part of our 10-year strategic plan, providing the highest-quality care will continue to be our priority,” said Dr. K. Craig Kent, chief executive officer of UVA Health and UVA’s executive vice president for health affairs. “I am impressed every day by the incredible care our team members provide.”

The Leapfrog Group, a national health care safety nonprofit, gave UVA Health University Medical Center top marks for safety and patient care. (UVA Health photo)

From more than 2,100 hospitals evaluated, 132 – including 75 teaching hospitals – were named top hospitals by The Leapfrog Group. Award criteria included patient outcomes and safety measures, safer surgery practices and maternity care.

Earlier this fall, UVA Health University Medical Center joined the health system’s other three medical centers – UVA Health Culpeper Medical Center, UVA Health Haymarket Medical Center and UVA Health Prince William Medical Center – in earning A” Hospital Safety Grades from The Leapfrog Group.

“Our team members are focused on providing excellent, safe care for every patient they see,” said Wendy Horton, chief executive officer of UVA Health University Medical Center. “I am so proud of their work, and I am thrilled to see their efforts recognized with this national honor.”

Sustainability Director Andrea Trimble’s Art Featured in National Report

Andrea Ruedy Trimble, the sustainability director in UVA’s Office for Sustainability, has had some of her artwork included in the federal government’s fifth National Climate Assessment, published in November. 

Allison Crimmins, director of the National Climate Assessment, requested art submissions last year. Trimble is one of 92 artists selected from a pool of 800 applicants for the report. Trimble’s work is featured on a page in the report summary and in the collection of art.

Sustainability expert Andrea Ruedy Trimble’s artwork found its way to the pages of a major federal report. (Photo by Dan Addison, University Communications)

“I was very excited to see this call for art, as well as the final report, because not only did it engage artists from across the country in depicting ideas around climate change, but using art makes a fairly technical report much more accessible to a range of audiences,” Trimble said. “I hope to continue to find opportunities to focus on the role of visual art in raising awareness of, and sparking action on, climate change, especially as it relates to what a changing climate means to the places we live and places that are important to us.”

This year’s publication was the first time the Assessment report featured art.

Law Professor Wins Award for Paper on Federal Courts

Law professor Payvand Ahdout has won an award from the Association of American Law Schools for her article on what happens when federal courts avoid separation-of-powers questions.

The AALS Section on Federal Courts named “Separation-of-Powers Avoidance” the best article by an untenured faculty member for 2024. Published in the Yale Law Journal, the article looks at how federal appellate courts in recent years have gone to great lengths to avoid compelling coordinate branch officials to act in cases in which Congress and the executive branch are in conflict. That avoidance distorts legal meaning and creates vacuums ultimately filled by someone other than a judge, Ahdout argues.

Payvand Ahdout’s article on what happens when federal courts avoid separation-of-powers questions won an award from the Association of American Law Schools. (UVA School of Law photo)

This year’s winners will be recognized during an awards ceremony at the AALS annual meeting on Jan. 4.

Ahdout previously discussed her paper in an episode of the Law School podcast “Common Law,” and the paper was highlighted in a UVA Lawyer article on how federal courts are shaping democracy. Her co-taught course Congress, Oversight and the Separation of Powers, which explored the investigation into the Jan. 6 attack on the Capitol, examined real-life examples discussed in her paper.

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Dan Heuchert

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