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

With COVID-19 shuttering schools across the state, members of the Virginia College Advising Corps used their ingenuity to create YouTube videos and mobile telephone applications to complete their missions.
Rising third-year student Alizé Dreyer and her mother, Ayşegül, are two of the nearly 200 volunteers speaking 30 languages who have signed up to help translate since April.
Spurred by her volunteering experiences at Madison House, alumna Tara Loyd has spent her career helping those who are less privileged. She’s now doing so in Madagascar.
Based on service they did in the Charlottesville community prior to leaving Grounds, students in a religious studies course created their own Passover Haggadahs – the text that Jewish people use to orchestrate the ritual of Passover.
The integrated Translational Research Institute of Virginia, a partnership between UVA, Virginia Tech, Carilion Clinic and Inova Health System, has announced its fourth class of scholars.
Second-year student Lucia Hoerr started a nonprofit organization when she was 9 years old to provide backpacks and school supplies to needy kindergarten through 12th-grade students in Charlottesville and throughout much of Virginia.
Larry Terry brings successful experience in criminal justice reform to the table, but stresses that there is no one-size-fits-all solution to the issues we face in 2020.
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.