Here at UVa, the welcome talks that start Days on the Lawn were underway when the news broke on April 16, 2007. Jack Blackburn, our dean who passed away in 2009, shared the news with the crowd and offered our office's phones to those who needed to call a loved one in Blacksburg. What was going to be a fun, upbeat day on Grounds became one full of fear and worry. The entire UVa community came together to support Virginia Tech in a variety of ways.
While some people insist that UVa and Tech are rivals, the fact is that we are more like siblings than rivals. Every UVa student who went to high school in the state probably has a former classmate at the other state universities. Faculty and administrators here know their counterparts at the other schools. We look forward to seeing each other while sitting on panels or attending conferences. There are many families who have "house divided" stickers and flags because one child goes to UVa and another goes to Tech.
We are Hoos, but we love our Hokie friends.
The longest lasting message ever painted on Beta Bridge, April 17-June 9, 2007
Beta Bridge, June 9, 2007
I can't publish this without adding a note about what happened at the Boston Marathon on Monday. As a former Bostonian, I always quipped that my favorite days of the year in Boston were July 4th and Marathon Monday. I love my old town and while devastated to hear about the victims of the tragedy there, I'm heartened to know that so many emerged to help however they could. I'm also relieved that the UVa students, faculty, and administrators who ran or went to support the runners are all okay.