Following Governor’s Proclamation, UVA Leaders Declare ‘Juneteenth’ a Holiday

President Jim Ryan Headshot

UVA President Jim Ryan announced that Friday will be a paid holiday for all employees in the Academic Division in honor of Juneteenth. (Photo by Sanjay Suchak, University Communications)

June 17, 2020

University of Virginia leaders sent the following message to the University community on Wednesday:

To the University community,

Yesterday, Governor Northam declared this Friday, June 19th – also known as Juneteenth – a holiday in Virginia. Juneteenth commemorates the end of slavery in the United States, marking the day in 1865 when Union soldiers arrived in Texas, the last of the former Confederate states to abolish slavery, and brought news that the war had ended and enslaved African Americans were free. Today, Juneteenth is a recognition of both the promise of emancipation and the long, winding, and difficult road that African Americans have had to travel to make it real – a journey that very much continues to this day.

As part of the Governor’s declaration, all Executive Branch state offices will be closed on Friday. State employers, including public universities, are encouraged to do the same, which is why Friday will be a paid holiday for all employees in the Academic Division, with the exception of designated employees who are required to maintain operations. 

Given the short notice and the fact that thousands of people are scheduled for medical visits, surgeries, and elective admissions on Friday, this holiday will not apply to those Medical Center team members and faculty and staff at the School of Medicine, School of Nursing, and the UVA Physicians Group who are needed to care for patients. If you have questions about whether this holiday applies to you, please contact your manager or the HR Solution Center. As we develop the 2021 calendar, we will work to appropriately recognize Juneteenth by extending the holiday to as many of our employees as possible.

Thank you all for your hard work – especially in these uncertain and difficult times. As the Governor said, “Let us take this day to reflect and push forward an equality of rights that will bond us in understanding and alliance.”


Jim Ryan

Liz Magill

K. Craig Kent
EVP for Health Affairs

J.J. Davis
EVP and Chief Operating Officer



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