Ryan’s Record-Setting April Fools’ Video Sparks Priceless Reactions

April 3, 2023 By Jane Kelly, jak4g@virginia.edu Jane Kelly, jak4g@virginia.edu

It was the April Fools’ Day joke heard ’round the world. Or something close to it.

University of Virginia President Jim Ryan’s spoof announcement that UVA would soon be dropping the “A” to become “UV” shattered the internet Saturday morning, while people were still trying to wake up with their first cup of coffee to realize it was April 1 – April Fools’ Day.

Teasing the announcement in a mass email, Ryan sprinkled in some clues that it was all a ruse.

“I am writing with an exciting message about an important change at the University,” he wrote. “I realize it’s a Saturday, and I apologize for intruding on your weekend, but this news needs to be delivered on this day. Don’t worry – it’s nothing alarming; to the contrary, I think you will be tickled by the news.”

Within hours, the video, titled “Exciting Announcement From the University of Virginia,” became the most-viewed in UVA history, surpassing a million in social media impressions based on University metrics. That included 324,000 views on YouTube, 314,000 on Instagram, 141,000 on Twitter (and counting).

By Sunday morning, it was the No. 11 trending video on YouTube. That means no matter your viewing habits on the online Goliath, the video of a deadpan Ryan explaining the supposed superfluous nature of the “A” in UVA showed up in your feed. A feed that, depending on the day and hour, hosts more than 800 million videos. It even landed in the Washington Post’s roundup of 2023’s epic April Fools’ Day pranks.

As with any April Fools’ Day joke, many were tricked. At first. Then reality set in for most.

It was another “Wait, What?” moment for Ryan, harkening back to his 2017 bestselling book of the same name. Enjoy these priceless reactions.

Media Contact

Jane Kelly

University News Senior Associate Office of University Communications