Members of the University of Virginia IMP Society gathered March 23 in Charlottesville to celebrate their centennial as a fixture on Grounds, to honor the University provost and to rally behind an important cause: the newly established Trust Fund for Student Life.
Anyone wandering the Grounds Saturday evening would have seen the “IMPs” dressed in red-and-black formalwear parading down McCormick Road, past McIntire Amphitheatre, up the Lawn to the Rotunda and finally to the steps of Brooks Hall.
Historically known for mischief and service to the University, the IMP Society, one of the University’s oldest, brings together a diverse array of student leaders committed to strengthening the University community through revelry and recognition events. The society chose to use its 100th aniversary weekend as an opportunity to give to a cause that its membership describes as critical to the future of the University.
The society raised more than $50,000 from its members for the Trust Fund for Student Life, a new endowment in the Division of Student Affairs dedicated to protecting and preserving the unique U.Va. student experience.
Fourth-year student and Honor Committee chair Stephen Nash (or “King N-Ski the Five Times,” as the IMPs refer to him), said he was excited about the cause.
“I have found the student experience at U.Va. to be so meaningful and perhaps like none other in the country,” he said. “The very existence of a group like ours demonstrates the special characteristics of what U.Va. provides its students. Even though members of the IMP Society come from all corners of the University, we all share in a common U.Va. experience that we could not find anywhere else. The Trust Fund is about protecting that experience for generations to come.”
The cenetennial celebration attracted a wide range of IMP alumni, including members of the class of 2012, the class of 1953, and many in between. The group could be seen acting impish throughout the weekend – wearing their signature red-and-black horns, carrying pitchforks and generally spreading merriment across the Grounds. At the conclusion of Saturday evening’s march, “King N-Ski” revealed a new permanent marking on the east façade of Brooks Hall in honor of the society’s centennial celebration.
Following the march, members of the group were joined by past faculty award-winners, including Vice President and Chief Student Affairs Officer Patricia M. Lampkin, Darden professor John Colley and University History Officer Alexander “Sandy” Gilliam, for a night of dinner and dancing at Darden’s Abbott Center. President Teresa A. Sullivan, Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer Patrick Hogan, and Dean of the College of Arts & Sciences Meredith Woo were also in attendance to celebrate the occasion and to honor Executive Vice President and Provost John D. Simon for receiving the IMP Faculty Award “for distinguished service, inspiring leadership and unquestioned commitment to the University of Virginia community.”
“The IMPs, an irreverent and sometimes rowdy bunch, are representative of the true undergraduate leadership of the University,” Gilliam said. “It was a great celebration, and wonderful to see so many representatives from across the University in attendance.”