Two University of Virginia Undergrads on USA Today’s Top Students List

February 15, 2006

February 16, 2006 — Two University of Virginia students are among those honored in USA Today’s 17th annual undergraduate recognition program, the All-USA College Academic Team, announced by the newspaper on Wednesday.

Catherine S. Neale, a fourth-year student, was included among the 20 students on the third team and Edward Ross Baird, a third-year student majoring in the political honors program, drew an honorable mention.

“I am thrilled to have two of our students as part of this prestigious group,” said Nicole F. Hurd, assistant dean and director of the Center for Undergraduate Excellence. “Ross Baird and Catherine Neale are both wonderful students and make excellent representatives of this University.”

Neale, 21, a Truman Scholarship winner, is a history major and plans to attend law school after graduation. She wants a career in public higher education, both as a law school instructor and a college administrator. She eventually wants to become a university president.

A student member of the Board of Visitors, Neale, of Richmond, has been president of the Arts & Sciences Council; the first student representative on the U.Va. College Foundation; and a member of the student South Lawn Task Force, the U.Va. Master Planning Council, the Buildings and Ground Committee, and the Undergraduate Research Network. Neale received a 2004 Walter R. Kenan grant for summer research, which she used to research the history of slaves at U.Va.

Baird, 21, of Atlanta, is majoring in the politics honors program, one of six students selected for that honor. He is a Jefferson Scholar, an Echols Scholar, a Robert K. Gooch Scholar and a member of the Raven Society. The third-year class president, he received a David A. Harrison III Undergraduate Research Award to study political participation in Europe, under the mentorship of Larry J. Sabato, director of the Center for Politics. He is currently studying civil and political participation in his native Georgia. He has plans to get a law degree and a masters degree in public policy.

“This year's honorees represent a new generation with passion, promise and a global perspective,” said USA Today editor Ken Paulson in Wednesday’s editions of the newspaper. “We’re pleased to be able to salute the good work and commitment of these outstanding students, all of whom are destined to make a difference.”

The 60 winners and 23 honorable mentions were selected from among more than 600 nominees submitted to the newspaper.