In his first address to the Class of 2022 as the University of Virginia’s president, Jim Ryan had some advice for UVA’s newest students. 

“When in doubt, build a bridge,” he said.

He urged students to live connected lives. He asked them to reach out to each other, to professors, to UVA employees and to Charlottesville’s neighboring communities.

“Don’t be afraid to engage with people or ideas that are different from you. It is one of the best ways to sharpen your thinking and even change your own mind,” he said. “When in doubt, build a bridge, even if you are not sure where it is going.”

This idea isn’t limited to new college arrivals: faculty members reach across disciplines to solve complex problems, students make connections across cultural divides, staff members make a difference in our local communities. 

Here, find just a few of these stories. Know of someone who is building a bridge at UVA? Let us know at

UVA President Jim Ryan addresses the death of George Floyd and the commitment to advocate for and be part of positive change, and announces creation of a racial equity task force.
Marija Vucelja, who has a love for all things science, will use a prestigious NSF award to quench her curiosity – and that of children.
In response to increased community need for access to fresh, healthy food, Local Food Hub is partnering with the University and temporarily using its facilities to expand its Fresh Farmacy: Fruit and Veggie Prescription Program.
During the pandemic, UVA students have been raising money for Corner businesses, who, in turn, are giving back to the Charlottesville community in their own unique ways.
Looking to help out in this time of crisis? Check with UVA’s new Volunteer Center website.
UVA’s Public Service Awards recognize and acknowledge faculty members who offer their students opportunities to join with them and their neighbors in working together to make this a better place to live.
UVA is teaming with the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce, the City of Charlottesville and Albemarle County to look for ways to regenerate local business.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, UVA’s Center for Survey Research wants to help people and local agencies in Central Virginia get a better idea of what the future holds.