Here at the Alumni Association, we’re not yet marking our own bicentennial—that one’s 20 years away—but we’ve still got a lot to celebrate.
Since its first meeting in the Rotunda on July 4, 1838, the Alumni Association has been a bedrock of support and innovation for the University. We have sought to enhance the University and with it, the value of the Virginia degree. While much has changed in the 180 years since, our commitment to supporting creative and innovative ideas that lift the UVA community is stronger than ever. In upcoming letters, I will share how we are bringing new ideas to Grounds, and how you as alumni, parents and friends can get involved.
In his inaugural address, University President James E. Ryan (Law ’92) announced that he wants every student to have at least one international experience. We know that to meet that ambition, the University will need to have a variety of programming options for our students. We see two distinct roles the Alumni Association can play to support that effort.
First, we want to support global experiential learning—a theme I wrote about in our Summer issue. I’m thrilled to announce that we are now working to scale the pilot program alumnus Dave Burke (Com ’88) led last year. Through the global experiential mentorship program, alumni will host 10- to 14-day expeditions to expose students to international business, law, medicine and policy, while helping them develop networking and cross-cultural communication skills. The goal is for alumni to design and lead the expeditions, opening their global networks to UVA’s next generation. This program will provide an international experience to students who might otherwise not be able to participate in one.
Second, we are designing a new program to support global initiatives through the Jefferson Trust. By dedicating funds for proposals with an international focus, we will provide students the catalyst to pursue projects with a global impact. The concept achieves two important goals: It supports initiatives that strengthen UVA’s global pre-eminence, and it allows students to design projects that tap into their own academic passions and global interests. Along the way, it creates new opportunities for our trustees to mentor students.
These are just a start. I look forward to sharing more about the Association’s innovative work to support you and your University in the coming months. In the meantime, here’s to UVA at 200 and the world of possibilities ahead.
Jenifer G. Andrasko (Darden ’10)
President & CEO
University of Virginia Alumni Association