The Class of 2027 Makes Its First Presidential Run

August 20, 2023 By Alice Berry, Alice Berry,

If moving into a new home, meeting new friends and the anticipation of attending the “4th Side” pep rally didn’t give incoming first-year students enough excitement, the new University of Virginia students also got to join President Jim Ryan for their first “Run With Jim.”

More than 800 students laced up their sneakers and donned orange-and-blue “Run With Jim” shirts – some paired with pajama pants – on a clear and cool Saturday morning.

Ryan kicked off the running series shortly after taking office in 2018, thinking that maybe a handful of students would join him after issuing his first invitation as president. Instead, more than a hundred showed up. The event has grown so popular that it is on the unofficial bucket list of things for many students to do before they graduate.

The crowd prepares to run with Jim Ryan
More than 800 first-year students gathered at the Observatory Hill field Saturday morning, nearly setting a “Run With Jim” participation record.

That was why first-year student Lillianne McMinn showed up Saturday morning at Observatory Hill Field.

“I want to be able to say I did it, maybe make some friends,” McMinn said.

94% On-Time Graduation Rate Pleases 100% of Parents, to be great and good in all we do
94% On-Time Graduation Rate Pleases 100% of Parents, to be great and good in all we do

Students ran, jogged and walked more than two miles from near Observatory Hill Dining Hall, past the Rotunda and to the finish line at the Homer statue, where they could replenish their energy with snacks and water. A few students even put in a few more miles after the event, but most were ready to call it a morning.

“I’m catching a nap right after this,” said first-year student Liam McMinn, a regular runner.

Students smile for the camera as they run with Jim
Students jog through Grounds trailing the University president, an avid runner. The “Run With Jim” events have become a bucket-list item for Wahoos.
Cheerleader of the runners smiles
The students had plenty of support on the short course, with folks cheering them on as they trekked through the Grounds that will be their home for the next four years.
Sun’s up and thumbs up for the early morning run Saturday, introducing first-year students to a tradition the University president started soon after arriving at UVA. Although he expected just a few students to join the inaugural jog in 2018, more than a hundred did, and the event keeps growing in popularity.
Selfie with Jim Ryan
President Jim Ryan poses for a selfie with students at the end of the run that concluded at the Homer statue on the Lawn.

Media Contact

Alice Berry

University News Associate Office of University Communications