August 21, 2017

One University. Two hundred years. Endless stories. Since three U.S. presidents – Thomas Jefferson, James Madison and James Monroe – witnessed the laying of UVA’s cornerstone on Oct. 6, 1817, millions have etched their own stories onto this place: stories of breathtaking achievement, breakthrough research and beautiful art; stories of compassion, of progress, of fighting for justice and righting wrongs.

200 University of Virginia Bicentennial | Save the dates: October 5-7 | Learn More

These stories are the University’s most treasured legacy 200 years on, and we will be sharing some of them here as we celebrate this special bicentennial moment.

Already, UVA has welcomed its 200th anniversary in style with a Oct. 6 Bicentennial Launch Celebration on the Lawn. Two historic events followed: the “Universities, Slavery, Public Memory and the Built Landscape” symposium in October and the Women’s Global Leadership Forum in November. Read about these events below and check out this video, shown at the launch celebration to capture the excitement surrounding the dawn of UVA’s third century.

You might want to bookmark this page, as we will be adding stories from UVA’s past and present and highlights from ongoing bicentennial celebrations. For details and updates on those celebrations, visit bicentennial.virginia.edu.

Most of all, look for the stories yet to come in the next 200 years. Thousands are already hard at work writing them.

 

Stories

The Central College Board of Visitors has Gathered Again in the Rotunda

As part of its bicentennial celebration, the University of Virginia has hung portraits of its first Board of Visitors, which included three former U.S. presidents, in its iconic Rotunda. More

November 16, 2017

Six Memorable Milestones for Women at UVA

Women first gained an academic toehold on the University in the 19th century, and gradually expanded their presence until full coeducation blossomed in 1972. More

Novemeber 15, 2017

A Forceful Hillary Clinton Closes Out UVA's Women's Global Leadership Forum

The nation’s first major-party female presidential nominee was the headline speaker at the Women’s Global Leadership Forum, a two-day conference that was part of UVA’s bicentennial celebration. More

November 14, 2017

The Frightfully Delightful History of Trick-or-Treating on the Lawn

Go back in time with UVA Today to learn how members of the University community launched what has become one of UVA’s most anticipated annual events. More

October 27, 2017

Bicentennial Commemoration Continues with Symposium on History with Slavery

UVA has been fully coeducational for only 47 of its nearly 200 years. This is the story of how a determined 18-year-old woman joined forces with a tenacious UVA law grad to take on the University in federal court, scoring a victory for women around the world. More

October 19, 2017

Research: 240 Blacks from Albemarle County Fought with the Union in the Civil War

The John L. Nau III Center for Civil War History has uncovered recruitment and pension records revealing details of black soldiers from Albemarle County who fought in the Union Army during the Civil War. More

October 16, 2017

UVA's Slavery History, No Longer Hidden in Plain Sight

>

One goal of the President’s Commission on Slavery and the University has been “to re-inscribe the history and the lives of the enslaved back onto the landscape in as many ways as possible,” commission co-chair Kirt von Daacke said. More

October 18, 2017

What Does the History of Slavery Mean for Today's Colleges and Universities?

A symposium, held Oct. 18-21, highlighted the recent work of universities and other institutions that have begun to grapple with their own histories of slavery, and will consider appropriate preservation and memorialization. More

October 10, 2017

200 Years On, Architectural Experiments Continue at Jefferson’s University

In honor of the approaching bicentennial, architecture students created their own interpretation of Thomas Jefferson’s famed pavilions, using cutting-edge technology that UVA’s founder would have found fascinating. More

October 3, 2017

The Case for Full Coeducation at UVA Turned On a Late-Night Phone Call

UVA has been fully coeducational for only 47 of its nearly 200 years. This is the story of how a determined 18-year-old woman joined forces with a tenacious UVA law grad to take on the University in federal court, scoring a victory for women around the world. More

September 28, 2017

The Quotable University

Quotes delivered at the University, and those about the place, can serve as signposts along the University’s historic journey, marking its evolution and its ongoing mission. Take a look at just a few. More

September 20, 2017

New $30 Million Clark Scholars Program Supports Underrepresented Engineering Students

UVA announced $30 million A. James Clark Scholars Program, established by a $15 million gift from the Clark Foundation and matching funds from the University, at Thursday’s Board of Visitors meeting. More

September 14, 2017

These 10 Objects – and a New Exhibition – Tell Powerful Story About UVA

Take a look at 10 fascinating objects from a new exhibition in UVA's Albert and Shirley Small Special Collections Library: "The University of Virginia in 100 Objects." More

August 25, 2017

Controversial Old Brooks Hall Still Has Surprises for Modern Renovators

University work crews found evidence of a mysterious fire, from more than 100 years ago, while repairing the grand staircase at the University of Virginia’s Brooks Hall. More

August 2, 2017

Workers Unearth Forgotten Layers of University’s Historic ‘Long Walk’

Sections of the University of Virginia’s Long Walk – a historic pathway stretching from the Rotunda to the far reaches of the Corner – are being examined by archaeologists as they are uncovered and repaved. More

July 21, 2017

Design of UVA Memorial to Enslaved Laborers Wins Approval

A memorial will occupy an open green area near Brooks Hall and offer an opportunity for quiet reflection in a design featuring names of enslaved laborers on polished stone. More

June 9, 2017

UVA Building Named for Former Slave and Stonemason Peyton Skipwith

Born into slavery, Skipwith labored for the University before he and his family were shipped to Liberia – a condition of his emancipation. More

April 13, 2017

The UVA Grounds that Could Have Been

A host of architects have contributed to the University's growth over the centuries. See some of the plans that didn't come to fruition, from the chapel on the Lawn to a 12-story dorm. More

March 22, 2017

UVA President Provides First Gift to Bicentennial Scholars Fund

UVA’s endowment for student scholarships could reach $300 million with matching support from the Strategic Investment Fund, which provides transformational investments in the quality of a UVA education without relying on tuition or tax dollars. More

December 19, 2016

Economic Impact Study: UVA Generates $5.9 Billion for Virginia Economy

UVA directly provides or indirectly supports one in every 76 jobs in Virginia, according to an independent study. More

December 16, 2016

9 Iconic UVA Images, Past and Present

For as long as there have been cameras, there have been pictures of UVA. University photographers recently recreated some of the most iconic images of our students and community. More

November 18, 2016

 

Looking Back

The early University, as seen from the east, from the vicinity of the modern-day Corner and Hospital Drive.

1849

Gregory Swanson was the University’s first African American student, enrolling in the School of Law after a successful lawsuit. Though he’d leave after one year, citing a hostile reception, he paved the way for other African American students.

1950

UVA played Virginia Tech in October 1964 at Scott Stadium, with the Cavaliers winning 20-17.

1964

Students and faculty members pose for a photograph on the steps of the Rotunda. At front left is professor John Staige Davis, whose later death by gunshot on the Lawn would help inspire UVA’s Honor System.

1870s

Former University President Robert O’Neill introduced Rosa Parks during her visit to Grounds in 1990.

1990

The Academical Village, as seen from the south. The buildings in the south Lawn were erected around the turn of the 20th century.

1856

The Rotunda during Final Exercises. At the time, graduates processed from the Rotunda to the McIntire Amphitheatre, where the official ceremony was held until it moved to the South Lawn in 1953.

1930

The first UVA football team, which defeated Pantops Academy and Episcopal High School, but lost to Johns Hopkins.

1888

A student studied in her dorm room in December 1974, a few years after the University’s College of Arts & Sciences opened to women.

1974

Lewis Dabney Crenshaw, king of the “Hot Feet,” a mischievous student organization that was eventually banned in 1911.

1908

The University rebuilt the Rotunda using plans from famed New York architect Stanford White, who also designed the buildings the enclosed the South Lawn and Carr’s Hill, the official residence of the president.

1897

This giant Rotunda cake was presented in honor of Thomas Jefferson’s 250th birthday in 1993.

1993

The fire that destroyed the Rotunda was a turning point in the University’s history, giving rise to the first major round of new construction since the University’s founding.

1895

The School of Nursing’s classes of 1905 through 1908. Women were present on Grounds long before full coeducation, but were restricted to only a few fields of study.

1905

A graduate student peruses books in a biology lab in 1967.

1967

Professor Charles Venable reads in Pavilion VIII. He taught mathematics at UVA for 31 years and was instrumental in advancing the sciences.

1895

The Rotunda’s Dome Room housed the University Library until Alderman Library opened in 1938.

1912

Students attend a dance in the Rotunda’s Dome Room.

1940

Sitting U.S. President Ronald Reagan was at UVA on Dec. 16, 1988.

1988

This image was captured during the last varsity basketball game played in University Hall.

2006

This engraving, found in the University’s Special Collections, depicts the Academical Village in the University’s first years of operation.

1827

Physics professor Llewellyn G. Hoxton posed beside an apparatus for manufacturing liquid helium in 1957.  The Physics Department still hosts a lecture named in his honor.

1957

The Queen came to Grounds as part of a U.S. tour in honor of the country's bicentennial.

1976

An early aerial view of the University shows its expansion, including what is now Madison Hall – originally a YMCA -- in the foreground, and Rouss, Cocke and Cabell halls closing off the South Lawn.

1907

Alumna Tina Fey, then a writer for Saturday Night Live and a member of The Second City comedy troupe, returned to the University in 2001 and led this improvisational comedy workshop with Drama Department students.

2001

Rufus Holsinger, a prolific local photographer, captured this image of the smoking ruins of a chemical laboratory on Grounds. Holsinger’s collection is housed at the University Library.

1916

 
 

Challenge

How well do you know UVA? You might know Grounds from any other campus or the “Good Old Song” from “Aud Lang Syne,” but do you know how many UVA alumni have traveled in space or which New York Times bestselling authors have worn the honors of honor? 

Test your knowledge and learn plenty of UVA lore in our trivia quizzes below.

12 Questions to Test Your Knowledge of UVA Trivia

Take the first today and find out just how well you know the University. More

UVA Trivia, Part 2: Can You Name These Famous Wahoos?

Take the second quiz and see how well you know some of the University’s most famous alumni. More

 
 

#UVA200

 
 

Celebration

The Bicentennial Launch Celebration featured performances by more than 800 UVA students and faculty alongside special guest stars like Leslie Odom Jr., the Tony Award-winning actor and singer who played Aaron Burr in the Broadway megahit “Hamilton,” Grammy Award-nominated R&B singer Andra Day and rock band the Goo Goo Dolls. 

Impressive projection mapping showed the University's history for all to see, and famous alumni including Katie Couric and Jason George took the stage as well, while far-flung Hoos such as Tina Fey and Malcolm Brogdon delivered special video messages.

 

UVA Ushers in Its Third Century With Historic Event

The UVA community gathered for a celebration like no other, as a spectacular projection mapping show, celebrity special guests and thousands of ‘Hoos heralded the arrival of UVA’s third century. More

October 6, 2017

University Commemorates Cornerstone Ceremony That Started It All

The University of Virginia opened its two-year bicentennial celebration by commemorating the original laying of the cornerstone on Oct. 6, 1817. More

October 6, 2017

What Happens When You Interview Two of UVA’s Most Famous Journalists?

Only at UVA’s bicentennial celebration would you find two of America’s best-known journalists – alumni Katie Couric and “Face the Nation” host John Dickerson – debating which character from UVA’s past they would most like to interview. More

October 7, 2017

Go Behind the Scenes on the Lawn Before the Bicentennial Launch Celebration

Production crews and UVA staff are busy preparing for Friday night’s big event, perhaps the most complex production ever to grace this historic stage. More

October 4, 2017

Q&A: Leslie Odom Jr. on ‘Hamilton,’ History and the Power of Loving Your Job

The Tony Award-winning actor spoke with UVA Today before flying to Charlottesville for Friday’s Bicentennial Launch Celebration, where he will join UVA students and faculty members as a special guest. More

October 4, 2017

Exhibit of Memorial to Enslaved Laborers On Display Friday

Bicentennial guests waiting to get into the Lawn on Friday can meander over to the location of the Memorial to Enslaved Laborers, east of Brooks Hall and across from the Corner, to view displays of the design and talk with those working on it, from 4 to 6 p.m. More

October 5, 2017

A Peek at the Spectacular Technology Behind the Bicentennial Launch Celebration

Learn more about the projection mapping technology that will recreate some of the most notable moments in UVA’s 200-year history. More

September 8, 2017

A Celebration Like No Other

Watch the University's Bicentennial Launch Celebration as it streamed live. Please note that some portions are excluded due to broadcast rights limitations.

 

Media Contact

Rob Seal

Director of Media Management and Managing Editor, UVA Today Office of University Communications