It’s Been a Challenging Year End for UVA, But Your Support Helped Get Us Through

December 20, 2022 By Mike Mather, Mike Mather,

When something truly terrible happens – the kind of catastrophe that squeezes the collective breath from thousands of students who tend to each other like family – that’s when you most value those who sprint to steady you.

In the days that followed Nov. 13 and the confounding murders of student-athletes D’Sean Perry, Devin Chandler and Lavel Davis Jr., support cascaded into Charlottesville from across the country. The gestures were big and small, overwhelming and understated, and all deeply appreciated.

As the University of Virginia closes the fall semester and heads into winter break, we want to say, “Thank you.”

Thank you to the many universities that illuminated their buildings in blue and orange. On nights when it was easy to feel lost and lonely, the gestures were warm and welcome.

Universities Show Social Media Solidarity With UVA


Thank you to those who set aside rivalries to publicly pronounce your love. Thank you, Virginia Tech and Liberty University, for donning our colors for your Nov. 19 game, at a time when we had more on our minds than football.

And thank you to the Liberty University Marching Band for, after one of your touchdowns, playing our beloved “Good Old Song.”

Thank you to UVA football alumni like the Kansas City Chiefs’ Juan Thornhill, for honoring the three Cavaliers on their cleats, and thank you to UVA supporters like the Seattle Seahawks’ Kenneth Walker who shared, through tears, his stories about playing on a high school football team with Chandler.

Thank you to the many professional football teams and dozens of collegiate teams from every sport who honored the numbers 1, 15 and 41, and who encouraged us to be #UVAStrong when we were still searching for our strength.

Students embracing each other in front of a memorial for the football players who were lost in November

Teams Honor UVA Football Players with Touching Tributes Across the Country


Thank you to the thousands of supporters who offered assistance to the players’ families, or who made more grand gestures through the University’s UVA Strong Fund.

There may be no way to fully show our gratitude, but our hearts are brimming with appreciation for the prayers, comfort and solace from across the state, nation and globe.

As we illuminated the Grounds earlier this month with our traditional Lighting of the Lawn, students desired to mark the passage from sorrow to the kind of strength that comes as a community moves forward – not by forgetting the anguish, but by remembering the goodness of those who were lost and the grace of those who stood by us.

That sentiment carried through to the annual holiday video, President Jim Ryan’s seasonal greeting to the students and community.

“The theme we chose for this year’s Lighting of the Lawn is ‘LOTL Full Power,’” said student Laura Arif, one of the event’s organizers. It reminds all at UVA that “only as a community can we have our full power. And that is the full power to love, the full power to remember, and the full power to provide light.”

Thank you for helping us on our path back to full power. UVA will never forget the kindness you have shown us.

Media Contact

Mike Mather

Managing Editor University Communications