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President Sullivan’s Statement Regarding Hannah Graham

Fri, 2014-10-24 17:10

To the University Community:

It is with tremendous sadness that I write to inform you of the confirmed death of second-year U.Va. student Hannah Graham, who had been missing since early on the morning of September 13.

Hannah showed great promise as a student and as a young woman. She brought immense energy and delight to her learning at the University, and she was a source of friendship and joy for so many people here at the University and abroad, particularly her friends on the ski team. Thomas Jefferson wanted students here to fulfill “destinies of high promise.” For Hannah’s young life to end so tragically, and for her destiny of promise to be left unfulfilled, is an affront to the sanctity of life and to the natural order of human events.

This is a sorrowful day in the life of the University, and our entire community is grieving with the Graham family. We offer our sincere condolences for their loss, and we will continue to hold them in our thoughts and prayers in the days ahead.

Teresa A. Sullivan

RELATED: Statement from John and Sue Graham

Statement from John and Sue Graham

Fri, 2014-10-24 17:09

When we first met Chief Longo he promised to find our precious daughter, Hannah, and during five long weeks his resolve to fulfill that promise never wavered. When we started this journey together we all hoped for a happier ending. Sadly that was not to be, but due to the tenacity and determination of Chief Longo, Hannah is coming home to us and we will be eternally grateful to him for this.

The search for Hannah would not have been successful were it not for the many, many people who helped, including Mark Eggeman and VDEM, local, state and federal law enforcement officers, the staff of the City of Charlottesville, and the dedicated members of numerous volunteer search and rescue groups. We thank you from the bottom of our hearts. We also give our heartfelt thanks to all those who took part in the community search, to the citizens of Charlottesville, and to the individuals, businesses and organizations, both local and national, who provided untold resources to help support the search for Hannah. We would also like to take this opportunity to express our gratitude to those who provided support to us and to our family throughout this ordeal, including the staff and students of the University of Virginia, our friends, neighbors and work colleagues, the staff and students of West Potomac High School, Hannah’s friends, and the countless kind people who have sent us messages of support. We thank you all.

We are devastated by the loss of our beautiful daughter, Hannah. Over recent weeks Hannah has been described by those who know her as bright, witty, thoughtful, loyal and fun to be around. She was all those things and more. Put simply, Hannah lit up our lives, the lives of our family and the lives of her friends and others who knew her. Although we have lost our precious Hannah, the light she radiated can never be extinguished. We will hold it in our hearts forever and it will help sustain us as we face a painful future without her. We are so very proud of Hannah and all that she achieved. Although only 18 years old, Hannah had just started her second year at the University of Virginia when she disappeared and was excelling academically. She loved U.Va. and the City of Charlottesville, and was very happy to return there after the summer break. Hannah had intended to pursue a career in global public health, she wanted to help others, and it is heart-breaking for us that she was robbed so tragically of the opportunity to fulfill her dream.

In closing we would like to draw attention to the fact that, although the waiting has ended for us, there are other families both in Virginia and beyond who have not been as fortunate in that their loved ones are still missing. Please continue to hold these families in your thoughts and prayers.

We do not intend to make any further statements at this time, nor to comment on the ongoing criminal investigation. We ask the media to respect our privacy and that of our family as we continue to grieve.

John and Sue Graham
October 24, 2014
Alexandria, Virginia

RELATED: Statement from U.Va. President Teresa A. Sullivan

U.Va. Professors Elizabeth Varon and Rita Dove Win Library of Virginia Awards

Fri, 2014-10-24 16:19

University of Virginia English professor and poet Rita Dove and historian Elizabeth R. Varon are among several winners of the 17th Annual Library of Virginia Literary Awards. At an Oct. 18 awards celebration in Richmond, Dove received the 2014 Carole Weinstein Prize in Poetry, and Varon received the 2014 Literary Award for Nonfiction for her book, “Appomattox: Victory, Defeat, and Freedom at the End of the Civil War.”

The Weinstein Prize, established in 2005, is awarded each year to a poet with strong connections to Virginia. The $10,000 prize recognizes significant recent contributions to the art of poetry and is awarded on the basis of a range of achievement in the field. The other literary award categories were fiction, poetry and literary lifetime achievement, as well as nonfiction. Those winners also receive an engraved crystal book.

Dove, who served as U.S. poet laureate from 1993 to 1995 and as poet laureate of Virginia from 2004 to 2006, previously won the Library of Virginia’s 2008 Literary Lifetime Achievement Award. In addition to editing “The Penguin Anthology of 20th-Century American Poetry,” she has published nine volumes of poetry, a book of short stories, a play and a collection of poet laureate lectures.

Dove, Commonwealth Professor of English, was awarded the 1987 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for her book, “Thomas & Beulah.” Many other accolades and honorary degrees have followed, including the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Furious Flower Poetry Center at James Madison University, the 2011 National Medal of Arts from President Obama, the 2003 Emily Couric Leadership Award and the 1996 National Humanities Medal from President Bill Clinton.

Previous U.Va. recipients of the Weinstein Prize include George Garrett, Charles Wright, Lisa Russ Spaar and alumna Kelly Cherry.

The judges of the 2014 Literary Award for Nonfiction said they felt that in “Appomattox,” Varon “expertly traces the shock as news of the surrender spread and spawned a three-way American debate over the meaning of the war that still reverberates today.” 

Varon, the Langbourne M. Williams Professor of American History, will give a talk at the U.Va. Miller Center on “Andrew Johnson’s Impeachment and the Legacy of the Civil War” on Oct. 28 at 3:30 p.m.

Varon has also published “Disunion!: The Coming of the American Civil War, 1789-1859”; “We Mean to Be Counted: White Women and Politics in Antebellum Virginia”; and “Southern Lady, Yankee Spy: The True Story of Elizabeth Van Lew, A Union Agent in the Heart of the Confederacy.”

The other two nonfiction finalists also were U.Va. faculty members: Barbara Perry, co-chair of the Miller Center Oral History Program and author of “Rose Kennedy: The Life and Times of a Political Matriarch,” and Alan Taylor, Thomas Jefferson Memorial Foundation Professor in the Corcoran Department of History in the College of Arts & Sciences and author of “The Internal Enemy: Slavery and War in Virginia, 1772–1832,” for which he won a Pulitzer Prize earlier this year.

Berlin Wall Symposium to Celebrate 25th Anniversary of Historic Fall Nov. 3-9

Fri, 2014-10-24 16:02
Robert Hull

In April, University of Virginia officials unveiled four panels from the former Berlin Wall, on loan from a private collector and installed at a site adjacent to Alderman Library and the Small Special Collections Library.

During the first week of November, the University will connect those physical artifacts with history through a Grounds-wide series of events marking the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Cold War symbol.

The Berlin Wall Symposium: The Fall of a Symbol, The Will of a People” will offer a dynamic, multidisciplinary exploration of the fall’s importance through lectures, talks, presentations and live performances. It will bring together academics, scholars and artists from the University community and beyond to highlight the cultural, political and historical implications around one of the watershed moments of the 20th century.

The Berlin Wall installation at U.Va. is on loan from Robert and MeiLi Hefner, who own the panels, dubbed “The Kings of Freedom” for the graffiti artwork preserved on one side.

“The Berlin Wall stood for 28 years as a symbol of Communist repression and of the Cold War in general,” said Allen Lynch, a politics professor and former director of U.Va.’s Center for Russian & East European Studies. “On the evening of Nov. 9, 1989, upon the announcement of an easing of travel restrictions from East to West, tens of thousands of East Berliners marched to the wall. Border guards without orders allowed the crowds to pass into West Berlin unhindered.

“That night, in front of international television, Berliners began to dismantle the wall physically. Thus, a wall that divided families, friends, an entire nation and, symbolically, an entire world, came down, propelled by the very people the wall was designed to contain.”

In 1990, Robert Hefner, sensing the long-term magnitude of human change and historical enormity of the wall’s fall, negotiated for a section of the wall and secured the four complete panels, which contain two spray-painted Pop Art murals by the graffiti artist Dennis Kaun.

Painted on the West German side are two kings: a brightly colored, joyful king, representing freedom; and a largely colorless, blindfolded king, oblivious to the needs and wishes of the people. The East German side remains unadorned. Hefner believes these two sides – the colorful, lively West German side and the dull, gray East German side – artistically represent the character of freedom and enslavement.

Jody Kielbasa, U.Va.’s vice provost for the arts and director of the Virginia Film Festival, organized the symposium.

“It has been an extraordinary honor to collaborate across Grounds to assemble a remarkable group of scholars, artists and experts to reflect on this critically important moment in history,” he said. “Through their scholarship, their first-person experiences, cultural expertise and creative artistry, these individuals will examine the fascinating array of forces that toppled what stood for decades as the ultimate symbol of the Cold War.”

Numerous events across U.Va. disciplines will take place during the week to celebrate this historical event. The series will culminate in a ceremony at the “Kings of Freedom” Berlin Wall exhibit at 5:30 p.m. on Nov. 9, followed by a reception in the Newcomb Hall Ballroom. The event is open to the public.

Two art projects are of special note.

Artist Sam Welty, known for his murals on Charlottesville’s Free Speech Monument – the chalkboard at the east end of the Downtown Mall – will take to the mall’s bricks to recreate Kaun’s iconic “Kings of Freedom” image.

Across town on the construction fences surrounding the Rotunda, award-winning photographer and artist Gar Hoover shares “The Art of the Wall,” a solo show of 24 photographic prints, each six feet high. These images depict the political murals and accompanying graffiti from the east side of the longest surviving stretch of the Berlin Wall, which became known as the largest outdoor gallery in the world. (More about this project can be found here.)

Some of the symposium’s other lectures and presentations include:

  • Grace Hale, professor of history and director of U.Va.’s American studies program, will lecture on the legendary rock ’n’ roll performances at the Berlin Wall given during the late ’80s, preceding the wall’s fall, by artists including Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen (Nov. 3, 5:30 p.m., Harrison-Small auditorium);
  • Karen Van Lengen, Kenan Professor of Architecture and former dean of the Architecture School, who was in Berlin at a friend’s apartment one week after the fall of the wall, will share a trove of rarely-seen film footage, her memories and a collection of rare artifacts to tell her story of living in a land soaked in new freedom (Nov. 4, 5 p.m., Campbell Hall, room 153);
  • The U.Va. Center for Politics and the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy will present a panel of scholars – including Sergei Khrushchev, senior fellow at Brown University’s Watson Institute for International Studies and the son of former Soviet Premier Nikita Khrushchev – to discuss the rise and fall of the Berlin Wall and its impact on the policies and politics of Europe, Russia and the United States (Nov. 5, 6 p.m., Harrison-Small auditorium)

The symposium also will feature the premiere of an original historical drama, “W/E: a Theatrical Piece of The Wall,” presented by the U.Va. Drama Department at the Helms Theatre. The production, created by associate professor Colleen Kelly and playwright Doug Grissom, features vignettes developed and performed by members of the M.F.A. acting program. The piece, which incorporates narrative drama along with music and movement by Marianne Kubik, associate professor of movement, examines this world-changing moment from a variety of angles.

In addition, the Virginia Film Festival, running concurrently with the symposium from Nov. 6-9, will present a series of five films as part of the symposium, including the popular Cold War comedy,“Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,” directed by Stanley Kubrick.

41 on 41,” features 41 storytellers who weave a multidimensional profile of President George H.W. Bush, the 41st president of the United States who was in office at the time of the wall’s demise. There will be a discussion following the documentary with the film’s executive producer, Mary Kate Cary; Marlin Fitzwater, press secretary for President George H. W. Bush; and Barbara Perry, co-chair of the Miller Center Oral History Program.

 “Red Army” turns a unique lens on the social and cultural transformation of the Soviet Union leading up to the fall of Communism, mirroring the rise and fall of the fabled Red Army hockey team. A discussion will follow with the film’s director, Gabe Polsky.

Also screening are “Walesa: Man of Hope,” Polish filmmaker Andrzej Wajda’s biopic tracing the rise of Nobel Prize-winner Lech Walesa’s Solidarity Movement in the 1970s and the peaceful revolution he inspired, with an introduction by Dariusz Tolczyk, associate professor in U.Va.’s Department of Slavic Languages and Literature; and German director Wim Wenders’ “Wings of Desire,” a visually entrancing film that earned Best Director at the 1987 Cannes Film Festival.

The symposium is supported by the offices of the President, Executive Vice President and Provost, Vice Provost for the Arts and The Hefner Collection. Other participants include the School of Architecture; the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy; the American studies program, Center for German Studies, Corcoran Department of History, dance program, Department of Drama, Department for Germanic Languages & Literatures and the Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics, all in the College of Arts & Sciences; the Center for Politics; the Harrison Institute and Small Special Collections Library; the Miller Center; the Thomas Jefferson Center for the Protection of Free Expression; and the Virginia Film Festival.

Details and information about the Berlin Wall Symposium can be found here.

Former Diplomat: Fighting Climate Change Requires More Than Just Policy

Thu, 2014-10-23 16:27
Bruce A. Vlk

Worldwide electricity generation is slated to increase significantly in the next few decades, and “If we care about climate change, we have to be more engaged than we were in the past,” former U.S. Ambassador Carlos Pascual told University of Virginia students Wednesday at Garrett Hall. “The direction we’re going in right now is not positive.”

The solution to fighting climate change is not just simple government policy, he said, but working to find common ground with stakeholders such as banks, investors and companies.

From 2011 to 2014, Pascual served as the U.S. Department of State’s Special Envoy and Coordinator for International Energy Affairs. Prior to this appointment, he served as ambassador to Mexico and Ukraine, the State Department’s Coordinator for Reconstruction and Stabilization, and special assistant to the president and National Security Council.

During his talk on “21st Century Energy Geopolitics,” sponsored by the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the International Relations Organization, Pascual stressed the importance of energy to foreign policy. He detailed how global energy markets have changed significantly in the past 20 years as energy sources have become more diversified and the main international players have shifted.

For example, as U.S. shale gas production has boomed in the past decade, total U.S. natural gas production has increased by nearly a third since 2005, cutting U.S. petroleum imports from their high of 60 percent of domestic consumption in 2005 to 35 percent today.

Drawing on his experience in Ukraine, Pascual spoke at length about the country’s current situation. He said if the struggle is only between Russia and Ukraine, then Russia is likely to win. However, “if you bring the rest of Europe into the equation with its market forces, then you might have the basis for a solution.” If you can affect the growth rate of that market, then you send signals to banks and investors, he said, noting that the West’s initial sanctions were largely symbolic and not market-focused.

At the conclusion of his talk, Pascual gave some advice to students as they look to start their careers. “In 1986, after three years in the Foreign Service, I was asked to go to South Africa to work against apartheid,” he said. Against the advice of some of his colleagues, he took a chance. “When you get those opportunities to influence and affect change, don’t be afraid to grab onto them,” he told the students. 

After his public lecture, Pascual met with U.Va. graduate students in the Tri-Sector Leadership Fellows. Students from the Batten School, Darden School of Business and School of Law learned how he’s used multi-sector perspectives to solve problems throughout his career.

Volunteers Plan to Help Cavalier Football Fans Limit Their Waste this Weekend

Thu, 2014-10-23 15:27
Matt Kelly

The Homecomings Weekend clash between the University of Virginia Cavaliers and the University of North Carolina Tar Heels will not be Saturday’s only contest in Scott Stadium. Student volunteers also will be defending U.Va.’s ranking in the “Game Day Challenge,” a national competition among colleges and universities to divert and reduce waste at home football games.

The annual contest is sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s WasteWise program, the nonprofit organization Keep America Beautiful and the College and University Recycling Coalition. It is designed to promote waste reduction and increase awareness of waste-reduction programs. This year, 88 schools are participating.

U.Va.’s Department of Athletics, U.Va. Sustainability and U.Va. Dining are again partnering in this competition, in which the University has participated since 2010. Last year, U.Va.’s recycling efforts placed fifth in the nation and first in the Atlantic Coast Conference. It also finished second nationally and first in the ACC in greenhouse gas reduction category.

“We’re excited to be working with the largest group of volunteers we have ever had,” said Nina Morris, outreach and engagement program manager with U.Va.’s Office for Sustainability. “One hundred volunteers will be dispatched throughout the tailgating areas and in Scott Stadium to help fans recycle. The volunteers will be collecting compost from the concession stands as well as from ‘Pancakes for Parkinson’s’ and other spirit-building events prior to the game.”

All season, U.Va. Sustainability has been promoting a goal of “zero waste” from the suites inside Scott Stadium, which means diverting at least 90 percent of the waste away from landfills. Plates and utensils used in the boxes are compostable, and volunteers sort through the compost after the game to remove any contaminants. More than four tons of compost has been diverted from the suites thus far this season, Morris said.

“By diverting as much material away from landfills as possible, U.Va. reduces our environmental impact, avoids costs and gets to educate and engage the community on the benefits of composting and recycling,” she said. “We’re thrilled to have such a strong partnership with Athletics and Dining to make U.Va. a champion in the Game Day Challenge.”