Inauguration Events Are Coming Together: Here’s What to Expect

Preparations are well underway for the inauguration of the University of Virginia’s ninth president, James E. Ryan, in October.

Ryan, who took office on Aug. 1, will be formally inaugurated on Oct 19. A series of public events on Oct. 19 and 20 will bring together UVA students, faculty, alumni, staff, the Charlottesville community and the general public to celebrate the start of a new chapter in the University’s history.

The events – ranging from a research symposium to a Saturday morning 5K run/walk to a live storytelling session – correlate with three key themes that Ryan identified when he took office: community, discovery and service.

“We wanted to celebrate the great things going on at the University in those three areas,” said William Antholis, co-chair of the Inauguration Steering Committee and director of the Miller Center. “It is especially important to Jim that the events include people from across the University – students, faculty, staff, the Health System – and reach out to the local community. He wants this to be a celebration of a place and a purpose, not of him as a person.”

Specific details about each event will be posted here.

Currently scheduled public events around Ryan’s inauguration include:

“Profiles in Discovery” Research Symposium: Friday, Oct. 19

A research symposium and panel discussion series will highlight an array of current research at UVA, from medical and scientific research that could cure some of the world’s most devastating illnesses to arts and humanities scholarship changing the way we think about the world. The final session of the day will focus on UVA’s role in American democracy and the modern iteration of Thomas Jefferson’s founding goal of producing an educated citizenry.

“We want to share and talk about the mind-boggling, life-changing research and scholarship that is happening at the University every day,” Antholis said.

Formal Inauguration Ceremony: Friday, Oct. 19

Ryan will be formally inaugurated in a special ceremony on the Lawn, joining the ranks of the eight UVA presidents that have filled the role before him.

The inauguration ceremony will begin with an academic procession including Board of Visitors members, vice presidents, deans and representatives from UVA’s 11 schools, the Health System, and the College at Wise; plus UVA faculty and students and delegates from more than 100 colleges and universities. Following that procession, Ryan will take the oath of office and offer remarks.

Community Bridges 5K Run/Walk and Celebration of Service: Saturday, Oct. 20

A special 5K run/walk in honor of Ryan’s inauguration will raise money for service organizations and nonprofits in Charlottesville. Ryan and his wife Katie, both avid runners, will join members of the community for the event. All proceeds from the run/walk will go to the Center for Nonprofit Excellence, which supports more than 250 nonprofit organizations in Charlottesville.

More information about the 5K – including a registration link – is available here.

“Both Jim and Katie are very excited about bringing the community together around this activity,” Antholis said. “Running is a big part of their life, and something they love doing and sharing with friends.”

The course will begin on McCormick Road and wind through Grounds and downtown Charlottesville – crossing some of the city’s prominent bridges along the way – before ending at McIntire Amphitheater near the Lawn.

After the run/walk concludes, Ryan will preside over a Celebration of Service for local nonprofits and student-run service organizations in the McIntire Amphitheater. The event will showcase the work of a wide variety of nonprofit organizations around Charlottesville, as well as food, music and an awards ceremony for the winners of the 5K.

“Double Take” Live Storytelling Event: Saturday, Oct. 20

In the afternoon, members of the University community will have another opportunity to come together for “Double Take,” a live storytelling event in the tradition of podcasts like “The Moth” in which people from all walks of life share their personal stories with a live audience.

The UVA event – modeled on a popular event Ryan hosted as dean of the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University – will include about eight to 10 speakers from across the University sharing personal stories. Speakers will be selected by a student committee during the fall semester.

“It’s an opportunity to get to know someone in a way you might not otherwise and to hear stories that might make you think differently about something,” Antholis said.

Media Contact

Caroline Newman

Senior Writer and Assistant Editor of Illimitable Office of University Communications