Your Clicks Pick 2019’s Top UVA Today Stories

illustration: tony Bennet holding winning basketball net left Big Click pointer icon right

UVA Today readers sure liked to click on stories involving Cavaliers men’s basketball head coach Tony Bennett in 2019. (Photo illustration by Alexandra Angelich, University Communications; Photo by Matt Riley, UVA Athletics)

December 17, 2019

The creation of a new School of Data Science. A new early decision option for prospective undergraduate students. Men’s basketball head coach Tony Bennett declining a raise.

This is just a small sampling of stories out of the University of Virginia that caught readers’ eyes in 2019.

As we prepare to switch out our calendars, here’s a look at some of UVA Today’s most-read articles (as measured by story views and social media engagement), presented in no particular order.

UVA Plans New School of Data Science

UVA announced plans to establish a School of Data Science – an effort made possible by the largest private gift in the University’s 200-year history.

The school aims to position the University as a global leader in efforts to improve society through teaching and research grounded in the powerful, emerging field of data science.

Keep ‘The Good Old Song’ Good

The University released a special video announcement requesting that spectators refrain from inserting, um, undesirable language into “The Good Old Song,” traditionally played after touchdowns and athletic contests. The video includes UVA President Jim Ryan, football head coach Bronco Mendenhall, student-athletes from several sports, professors and alumni, including celebrity Tina Fey.

National Champions!

A year of incredible resilience and a tournament full of clutch plays culminated with the UVA men’s basketball team defeating Texas Tech, 85-77, to win the program’s first NCAA championship.

Tony Bennett Declines Raise

In the aftermath of the magical run to the title, UVA Director of Athletics Carla Williams – with the blessing of University President Jim Ryan – approached Cavaliers coach Tony Bennett about a raise.

Bennett declined, instead asking Williams for additional compensation for his staff and other improvements that would benefit his program.

Pharrell Williams 2019 Valedictory Speaker

Virginia Beach native and 13-time Grammy winner Pharrell Williams was announced as the keynote speaker at UVA’s 2019 Valedictory Exercises. (Here’s what he actually said.)

Williams founded From One Hand to AnOTHER in 2008. The foundation provides more than 1,700 children across the United States with summer camp experiences focused on “S.T.E.M.M.,” which stands for science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics and motivation.

Shout-Out of UVA Quarterback Bryce Perkins Shocked Professor

Lisa Speidel, an assistant professor in UVA’s Department of Women, Gender & Sexuality, was at a rock concert in Harrisonburg when Bryce Perkins – the star quarterback on the UVA football team – gave her a “shout-out” during the broadcast of the Cavaliers’ victory over Florida State.

Suddenly, Speidel was the rock star.

Mapping the Teenage Brain

UVA psychologist Joseph Allen’s study of the teenage brain found, among other things, that close teenage friendships, especially same-gender peer relationships, are a great proving ground for young people to learn about maintaining close relationships and negotiating differences.

Here are four key lessons Allen has learned.

Grab Your Hard Hat and Meet UVA Football’s No. 1 Fan

By day, he operates a forklift and other machinery at a factory outside of Richmond. By night and on weekends, he dons a faux gold chain, a giant V-Sabre pendant, a Cavaliers’ shirt or jersey and, of course, an orange UVA hard hat.

Som Patasomcit is the “#1 UVA FAN.”

Black Twitter 101

What is Black Twitter?

Meredith Clark, an assistant professor in the media studies department who is writing a book and teaching a class on the subject, was a good person to ask.

UVA Adds Early Decision Option

UVA announced a new admission option for prospective undergraduate students: an early decision plan that offers high school students the opportunity to apply to the University and receive their admission decision in the first semester of their senior year, in exchange for their pledge to attend if accepted.

When early decision notifications went out on Dec. 6, the first members of UVA’s Class of 2024 flooded social media to celebrate.

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