The Virginia Women’s Chorus received a 2018 Jefferson Trust grant to commission a musical piece by music composer Ola Gjeilo to celebrate the Bicentennial of UVA and to commemorate the history of women at the university. Read more about the chorus here.
Victoria Harker has a long history with the Jefferson Trust. She had been a member of the Alumni Association’s Board of Managers for five years when she joined the Trust – she was there at the Trust’s inception and felt that it was only natural to become a Trustee to show her support and confidence in the effort.
Victoria chose UVA in 1982, in part because she aspired to become a lawyer, and because the University had one of the top five English Departments in the nation. She pursued an undergraduate degree in English with a concentration in Economics. After graduating in 1986, she spent several years working at a law firm, where she had the opportunity to help edit a legal book on business joint ventures. That experience was so fascinating she changed gears and ultimately earned her MBA in Finance in 1990 from American University. In addition to the Jefferson Trust, Victoria has served as Chair of the Board of Managers for the Alumni Association and has served a term on the Board of Visitors for the University of Virginia.
Victoria has been able to share her positive UVA experience with her younger sister Ellen (College ‘88), as well as her sons Zach (College ‘15), Ethan (Curry ‘18), and Benjamin (College ‘20). As a student, some of her favorite memories include watching Speidel, Goodrich and Goggin perform at the Mineshaft, as well as seeing concerts and watching the basketball team play in U Hall. She also had a great deal of fun sledding down O-Hill toward the Treehouse on cafeteria trays. Another favorite UVA memory was created last fall on the steps of the Rotunda, at the announcement of Jim Ryan as UVA’s President-elect. “After serving for over a year on the search committee, this was a huge honor and very inspiring,” she said. “I know Jim will lead the University into its next century with great distinction.”
As a Trustee, Victoria’s favorite grants have been ones that provide seed money directly to students to help them start up small ventures and evaluate their commercial capabilities. This comes as no surprise, considering her fascination with and professional background in finance and investment. After receiving her MBA in Finance, Victoria led an illustrious career as the Chief Financial Officer for several companies. She currently serves as the Chief Financial Officer and Executive Vice President for TENGA, Inc., a diversified media and digital marketing solutions company.
As she approaches the end of her six-year tenure as a Trustee, Victoria remains excited about the future of the Trust, particularly in its potential for new areas of investment and growth. “Serving on the Strategic Investment Fund (SIF) Committee, I have seen what wonderful new areas investments like these can accelerate,” she said. “The Jefferson Trust is a student-facing investment fund and has great prospects to grow well into the future.” She also believes that the future investment climate will only continue to favor initiatives and organizations such as those funded by the Trust, as corporations and public institutions continue to look for areas to “put money to work,” particularly with regard to social justice and environmental conservation.
The annual Madison Lane and Rugby Road Charitable Trust Visual Arts Prize is intended to expand students’ opportunities for creative expression and to showcase significant accomplishments in the Arts. A $2,500 award is presented through The Jefferson Trust in partnership with UVA Arts to one undergraduate or graduate student each spring. A student’s submitted work must be created while he or she is enrolled at UVA, and eligible medias include: drawing, painting, watercolor, film/video, photography or sculpture.
The 2018 Madison Lane and Rugby Road Charitable Trust Visual Arts Prize was awarded to Grace Patrice Anyetei-Anum for her photograph entitled “Re-Presenting the African Woman.” This photograph is part of her thesis exhibition entitled “Re-Presenting the African Woman”, where she is hoping to use her photographs as a way of enlightening her fellow Americans about the diversity that exists on the African Continent. There are 54 different countries with over 1,500 languages spoken, but for many years Africa has been mistaken for a country. Anyetei-Anum photographed women from different countries in Africa she met at UVA to achieve her goal, with clothing serving as a way to make clear distinctions among the cultures and between being African and being African-American. Anyetei-Anum said, “Although we are all black, differences do exist in our various cultures.”
The idea is simple: everybody has a story to share. Project co-leads Amy McMillen and Alicia Wang were abroad in Copenhagen when they heard about the international organization, The Human Library. “It was such a simple yet beautiful concept, we decided to bring it back to Charlottesville,” says Amy.
The Human Library at UVA is a project that enables students, faculty, and staff at the University of Virginia to verbally share their stories and engage with other community members willing to learn. Each participant is either a “reader” who will stop by to listen to a story, or a “book” who is an individual with a story they would like to share. The project has spotlighted issues that are traditionally difficult to grapple with, such as mental disorders and immigration. But the Library also lets students share unique parts of their identity through constructive dialogues and Q&A exchanges. The sheer variety of stories shared through the Human Library has led the project to immense success with their past events, including their most recent on April 6th. This event was a chance for students to hear from their peers on topics like picking a non-traditional path in the healthcare industry, overcoming breast cancer, and dealing with deafness.
We asked Amy what her goals are for the future of this project. “My hope for the Human Library is for people to continue to have the courage to tell their stories as well as listen to others who are different than themselves,” she says. The Human Library is meant to extend beyond just UVA’s Grounds to touch others in the Charlottesville community. “An overarching goal for the project is to help connect the University and the surrounding Charlottesville area, as we have so much to learn from each other. In the future, I hope that the Human Library continues to partner with the community and elevate people’s stories that otherwise may not be recognized or understood.”
Reflecting on the concept of The Human Library, Amy shares her own story with the Trust. “If I were to be a book for the Human Library, my title would be In Between. Ever since I was born to an American father and a Chinese mother, I have been a bridge between two cultures and have learned how to balance opposite entities. When I was ten years old, I went from living a highly privileged lifestyle in China to moving to the Land of Opportunity and cleaning houses with my family every weekend to keep food on the table.” Stories such as Amy’s demonstrate how narrative storytelling can build empathy and break barriers between people, making for genuine conversation and powerful dialogue that breaks through surface-level chatter.
The Jefferson Trust is excited to support such a meaningful, student-led initiative, and we look forward to continued success from The Human Library at UVA. Check them out on Facebook.
From enriching socioeconomic diversity on Grounds to strengthening relationships between student groups here, Jefferson Trust grants are once again set to encourage creativity, innovation, leadership, community and an enhanced student experience.
The Jefferson Trust, an initiative of the University of Virginia Alumni Association, awarded 19 new grants totaling $700,000 on Friday, April 13, on the South steps of the Rotunda. Once again, student organizations made a strong showing this year, garnering 8 of the grants and securing more than $109,000 in funding.
Many of the grants this year sought to strengthen communities, whether it was Hoos First Look, which brings socioeconomically disadvantaged high school juniors to Grounds in order to enhance socioeconomic diversity here, or the Queer Student Union Community Partnership program, which seeks to foster positive relationships throughout the University. Amy Bonner, Associate Director of the Jefferson Trust, said, “One trend the Trustees saw in this year’s pool of proposals was an interest in community-building—student groups seeking to work more closely with other groups to break down barriers, faculty focused on positive interactions for students, even two groups seeking to improve diversity at the University. Many of those were projects chosen for funding this year. The Trustees are always interested in making a positive, and broad-reaching, impact at the University and specifically to students.”
Established by the Alumni Association in 2006, the Jefferson Trust has invested in 179 initiatives, representing over $7 million, brought forth by students and faculty representing all 11 schools and a myriad of programs and organizations at UVA. With grant awards ranging from as little as $2,500 to as much as $100,000, all of these seed-funded projects add exceptional value to the UVA experience. Many evolve to become a permanent part of the fabric of the University’s life and legacy.
The 2018 grants include:
Science Delivered: $19,000. The program brings scientists from UVA straight into the classroom to provide engaging, hands-on science enrichment for local students in grades K-6.
UVA Financial Education and Wellness Program: $57,900. Student Financial Services is expanding the University’s financial literacy efforts, developing relationships, conducting programming and research, and sharing resources with offices such as the Dean of Students, the Career Center, and the Office of African American Affairs.
UVA-SWO Partnership for Rangeland Ecology Research and Education: $67,800. This project combines environmental sciences research, educational exchange, and community health, within the context of a rangeland ecology/bison grazing experiment on the Lake Traverse Reservation in northeastern South Dakota.
Student Flourishing Initiative-Platform Development: $100,000. The Student Flourishing Portal is a digital platform of vast and diverse content, exploring student flourishing in theory and practice to support curricular, co-curricular, and research activities enhancing student lives, skills, experiences, and wellbeing.
Presswork: A Program for Hands-on Historical Printing & Research: $69,865. The project will establish a permanent printing lab and exhibition space in UVA’s Harrison Institute, where visitors and students alike would engage in hands-on printing activities, as well as learn about a range of printing processes—from technologies integral to Thomas Jefferson’s work to modern-day 3-D printing.
A Virtual Exploration of Central Grounds Through Time and Space: $35,100. This program will use Geographic Information System and Virtual Reality technologies to reference, spatially and temporally, all the relevant documents, images, photos, and models from many different efforts to create an engaging learning environment for future generations.
QSU Community Partnership Program: $6,000. A 2-year plan to foster an extended and positive relationship with fellow community groups by holding a series of networking programs with African-American, Asian, Latino, Middle Eastern, Christian, Jewish, Muslim, and Military communities; as well as with the Honor Committee and the University Guide Service.
Hoos First Look: $10,479. UVA’s first ever fly-in program aimed at bringing socioeconomically disadvantaged juniors in high school to Grounds, with the mission of increasing socioeconomic diversity at the University, and encourage undergraduate students to foster a more inclusive community on Grounds through active participation in the program.
Virginia Women’s Chorus Bicentennial Commission: $8,000. Funding allows the Virginia Women’s Chorus to commission a piece of original choral music composed by renowned composer Ola Gjeilo that will simultaneously celebrate the University’s Bicentennial and the history of women at the University.
Civil War Era Charlottesville: $26,400. Funding will support a pair of new digital projects examining the lives of University of Virginia students and African-American men from Albemarle County who served in the Union army or navy, including creation of a website dedicated to telling the stories of UVA Unionists.
Words on paper: art to engage science and policy: $38,923. This new class, melding experiment with performance art, will bridge the divide between arts and science, reflection and action, UVA and the world off Grounds.
Profit with Purpose: $4,000. Profit with Purpose educates, connects, and empowers students to think about investing differently through workshops, building relationships, and providing experiences.
TRANSFERmational Project: $15,300. This initiative creates a disciplined approach for the support of transfer students to the University of Virginia.
Strategies of Interpretation II: Highland: $17,837. The program for a course and accompanying public lecture series will create the opportunity for the University and Charlottesville community to interrogate further the issues of historical interpretation and its public presentation.
Hoos Connected: $39,000. Hoos Connected is a University-wide campaign designed to help UVA students build cohesive and supportive peer connections that demonstrate the value of forming deep, caring relationships with others who are different from themselves.
Language Forward Initiative: $50,770. A real-time immersive online program that aims to expand opportunities for UVA students to interact with native speakers.
The Ridley Scholars Outreach Video: $10,000. The Ridley Scholars will produce an outreach video during the 2018 calendar year that will target prospective African-American students and is estimated to impact 20,000 prospective students and their families.
The Jefferson Trust Daniel S. Adler Student Award
The Human Library: $36,626. Striving to tackle stereotypes and prejudice through conversation, the Human Library allows individuals to share the unique story embedded in the threads of their lives and bridges the gap between the University of Virginia and the Charlottesville community.
The Jefferson Trust Global Initiatives Award
Community Resilience & Global Engagement: Disaster Preparedness in Nursing: $87,000. Within a global context of increasing need for community resilience post-disaster, this program wraps student educational and research experiences around sustained UVA faculty research with long-term community partners in Bluefields, Nicaragua.
Each spring, The Jefferson Trust awards two $2,500 Intramural-Recreational Awards to club athletic teams that excel in the areas of commitment, leadership and service to the community. This year, the Virginia Women’s Club Lacrosse Team and Quidditch at the University of Virginia were recipients.
The Virginia Women’s Club Lacrosse Team is comprised of 30 members, representing a variety of areas of study in the McIntire School, Nursing, Engineering, Curry School, and various majors in The College. The Club meets for practice 4 times a week and travels to tournaments 1-2 weekends each month. Organization, timeliness, and communication are necessary attributes to keeping all 30 members on track for success both on and off the field.
Virginia Women’s Club Lacrosse has grown extremely well over the past two years: from an 8-7 record in 2016 to a 13-5 record (including a WCLA National Championship bid) in 2017. In RPI rankings, the team jumped from 22nd in the country to 12th in just one year, and currently place 8th out of 82 WCLA Division-1 programs. Most recently, they went 3-1 at the 2018 Santa Barbara Shootout. Some of the Club Lacrosse Team’s off field involvements include coaching local youth teams, participating in the One Love Foundation, Lacrosse the Nation, Camp Kesem, donation collections to Heal C’ville Fund and One Goal. 23 of the club team members are also active in their respective sororities community service and events as well.
As the club lacrosse team strives to continue to strengthen the program, it is essential they play the most competitive teams on the highest (and farthest) stages. They are very grateful for the Jefferson Trust Award to help them achieve this. Currently the team is ranked #7 in the nation (2nd in their region) and has received an at large bid to the National Championship in Round Rock, TX in May.
Founded in 2011, Quidditch at the University of Virginia is looking to have a season of unparalleled success this year. Their record has improved to 29-4, compared to a 13-11 record in 2016-17 school year. These wins have come from tournaments in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, and the Mid-Atlantic Regional Championship, where the club earned second place among nineteen teams. This semester the team has gone undefeated, winning three tournaments while beating rivals such as Duke, Virginia Tech, and UNC. These successes have solidified the Quidditch Club as the fourth ranked team in the nation, making their fourth consecutive appearance at the US Quidditch Cup in Round Rock, TX in late April. At the Quidditch Cup, the team went 4-2, reaching the sweet sixteen round.
The entire Quidditch Club is comprised of two teams: the competition-oriented A team, who will represent UVA at the US Quidditch Cup, and the B team, creating an inclusive environment for students who want to play quidditch, but have tight schedules, or are looking for fun ways to exercise and meet new friends. A fun side to playing quidditch so closely intertwined with a worldwide acclaimed book is getting to share the hobby with others. Quidditch Club at UVA continues their “kidditch” program at a local elementary school in the fall, giving quidditch demonstrations at a “Wizards in the Woods” event in the summer, and the club has been invited to open a game for Minor League Baseball’s Richmond Flying Squirrels. Quidditch at UVA takes great pride in representing the University of Virginia at community events, in their competitions, and educating more people as interest in the sport continues to grow!