The End of an Era: Wayne Cozart set to Retire

Wayne Cozart, shown here shaking hands with a grant recipient, retires leaving a rich legacy with the Jefferson Trust.

For over 40 years, alumni have entered Alumni Hall and seen a smiling, familiar face. Since the 1980s, students have seen him walking across the Lawn and welcoming them into one of the three Pavilions he has called home. Wayne Cozart is a fixture of the UVA and alumni communities, always sporting an orange and blue tie. Alongside his wife, Vice President for Student Affairs Pat Lampkin, Wayne’s introductions to undergraduate students have transformed into decades-long relationships.

For him, the student experience and alumni experience are part of one seamless relationship and reflect his appreciation for the unique character of UVA men and women. He fell in love with the concept of student self-governance in his early days at the University. When he moved to Alumni Hall, it was only fitting he extended this concept into “alumni self-governance.” Wayne’s belief in the individual and their abilities, combined with his belief in what is possible for UVA, made him the ideal person to lead the Jefferson Trust for the past eleven years.

At the end of 2020, Wayne will retire from the Trust, leaving a legacy of impact and advancement.

One of the Trust’s original trustees, Sharon Owlett, who rejoined the board after her original term ended, has seen the organization transform under Wayne’s leadership. She remarked, “All of us know what a memorable working relationship looks and feels like: your visions sync, you build on each other’s strategies, you solve each other’s problems, you even share the same sense of humor. What you create is always something in which to take pride in. Those of us lucky enough to work with Wayne throughout his tenure on the Trust have had the gift of that kind of relationship with him. The Trust as it stands today is a testament to his ability to bond with a disparate, diverse group of people to weave us all together to build something great.”

Building synergy and community is what has helped make the trustee experience so unique. These elements are a core part of Wayne’s leadership style and have had a direct impact on the fund’s successes.

Reflecting on his tenure, Wayne notes, “During my time leading the Jefferson Trust, it has transitioned from a brilliant idea by the Alumni Association into a flourishing endowment with assets of $36 million.  Thanks to the commitment and philanthropy of the Trustees, the Trust has been able to have a major impact on the lives of students and faculty.”

Both the Trust’s endowment and annual grant amount have more than doubled during Wayne’s tenure.  His stewardship, mentorship and friendship have positioned the organization toward continued success.

When asked to reflect on his time at the helm, Wayne instead opines on what’s possible for the organization moving forward: the grants, gifts and global impact he knows will shape the University. He says, “In the future, the entrepreneurial spirit of the Trust will take the University of Virginia to new heights further enhancing the Thomas Jefferson’s vision of a great university.”

It is a process, culture and vision we can all rally behind, and a challenge we humbly accept.

A Big Ask: Grant Requests Set New Record

Line chart showing the annual grant cycle dollars requested since 2015. The 2021 amount sets a record high.

Thank you, UVA students, faculty and staff: the Jefferson Trust received 57 proposals this year, seeking a total of $4 million in our annual grants cycle for the first time in the history of the Trust! Submissions span a wide range of topics, including diversity and inclusion efforts, outreach to our local community, and improving teaching and learning for UVA students in the midst of COVID, as well as several creative student endeavors. Our Trustees are now reading and reviewing the ideas that will enhance and expand the University. The Trust will make awards totaling $1 million this year — which means tough decisions ahead for our Trustees!

If you missed the annual cycle deadline, Flash Funding applications will open in January 2021. Flash funding awards grants of $10,000 or less for more immediate use. All proposals submitted in a month will have a decision made on the 15th of the following month. Funding is available monthly until funds are depleted. See our Apply page and Facebook for more information when the application opens.

As always, we are available to answer any questions or meet to discuss your potential project. Contact our Grants Administrator, Amy Bonner, at

Carrying on Despite COVID

Emily Beyer (Engr ’22) conducts research for the Jefferson Trust grant “Guiding Student Research of Air-filtering Technologies.”

This spring, the world as we know it was upended. Workplaces shuttered, students were sent home, and for many, life came to a screeching halt. As the University community worked to adapt and find the best course forward, the Jefferson Trust was determined to support our grant recipients.

The first step was to affirm our continued support as programs and events were canceled, rescheduled or restructured. The majority of grant recipients are students or faculty, who were simultaneously adapting to the new academic landscape, and the Trust’s goal was to ensure that they could focus on primary responsibilities without detriment to their grant funding.

We began to hear from recipients.

  • The Virginia Motorsports Team reported that with students unable to gather, their work on the SAE car had been halted. They requested an extension to delay their participation in the annual SAE race until 2021.
  • A student documentary was delayed as in-person interviews were cancelled and moved virtual.
  • A project that involved a partnership with local elementary school teachers was delayed for a year in anticipation of a more-stressful-than-normal school year ahead.

Some updates were positive!

  • Several groups were able to transition their original events to virtual events. The Alumni Association’s Retold project was one — Trust funds were reallocated to launch the virtual platform.
  • A graduate student conference originally scheduled for April was postponed until October, and in October it went fully virtual.
  • A project aimed at capturing oral histories of alumni of the 1960s and 1970s pivoted when Reunions was cancelled, as the team planned to record the interviews that weekend. However, they were able to reallocate the production-related costs to provide student interns with stipends in order to conduct the interviews via Zoom over the summer.
  • A project funded in February to allow a small group of students to investigate various approaches to modeling COVID saw a dramatic increase in student interest and expanded their original plan to include more than double the student and faculty participants.
  • A research project set to investigate air-filtering technologies to fight air pollution turned into a rapid-response effort in utilizing those same technologies for PPE alternatives against COVID.

And this is just a sampling! Across the board, our resilient grant recipient community was able to dig in and move forward in these unusual circumstances. We want to congratulate all of our grant recipients and their teams on their masterful adaptations and their determination to carry forward in the safest way possible.

Design + Med Ed

Medical Students work to create solutions to challenges observed as a part of UVA’s Medical Design Program.

Design thinking, also known as human-centered design, is a problem-solving framework for addressing complex, system-based challenges. UVA is at the forefront of a growing group of medical schools and health systems exploring how design thinking can be integrated into medical education. Students engage in hands-on ‘design sprint’ workshops focused on priority healthcare issues, using data they collect through direct engagement with patients, healthcare leaders and community members. The UVA Medical Design Program (UVAMDP) gives future physicians the skills, confidence and experience they need to help address complex patient care and public health challenges throughout their careers.

The program was created in 2015, focusing on instruction to first-year medical students. However, due to continued growth and demand, UVAMDP received a second Jefferson Trust grant in 2019 to help expand access to ‘health design thinking’ curriculum and workshops. Funds went towards developing credit courses and electives for medical students throughout their time at UVA and to develop online versions of program workshops that can be shared as research within and outside of the UVA School of Medicine.

The Medical Design Program has become an established and valued part of the medical education culture and offerings at UVA, such that prospective students are consistently inquiring about the program. Medical design lectures are being integrated throughout the school’s curriculum, both in workshops to the entire second-year class and in a new elective for fourth-year students approved by the school’s curriculum committee, with the first course being offered in February 2021.

In addition, and most relevant to 2020, the Medical Design Program team was able to quickly assist in the School of Medicine’s response to COVID-impacted students by quickly developing and deploying virtual five-day design sprint workshops for third- and fourth-year students who were not allowed onto clinical wards, but needed to continue their studies. While their project has been delayed due to the demands of adapting to COVID-19, the pandemic has also helped the team think critically on the types of flipped classrooms and online learning curriculum that will be most useful as long-term educational offerings for students.

Not only is the program impacting medical students and faculty, it is also providing a center for multi-disciplinary collaboration focused on improving public health and healthcare through design thinking and other design approaches. Faculty engagements with the Medical Design Program are from across Grounds, including Architecture, Engineering, Nursing, Darden and the College.

The Medical Design Thinking Team, led by Dr. Matthew Trowbridge, has been nationally recognized for their work, publishing peer review articles, contributing to a recently published ‘Health Design Thinking’ textbook, and speaking widely about their work and impact at UVA. You can visit their website to learn more.