It's the Lawn, stupid!
Well, not necessarily. It might be the gravel path where you met your wife or the garden where your fiancé proposed. A quiet spot for thinking or study. A place to gather with friends. Or even a parking lot. Readers found lots of places to love on the U.Va. Grounds.Posted 2/22/07
Top step of the Rotunda, right side, leaning against the column, smoking a good cigar, watching the sun set over the Pavilions. The garden out back of the Colonnade Club might be my second choice.
Paul Corbin (Economics ’74)
Under that great big tree in front of the Rotunda (on the north side) whose branches just fall over and embrace you.
Lesley Suejean Park (French, Mathematics ’04)
The Dome Room. Jefferson dined there as he was spending his last days overseeing her creation. That’s all you need to know.
Chip Roy (McIntire ’94, MS Management Information Systems ’95)
I really enjoy studying near the random doorway by the pond across from the parking garage. It is so peaceful, and hardly anyone studies there.
Jennifer Ann Waggy (College ’10)
My favorite spot in those days was sitting on the outdoor patio at Pavilion XI looking up at the mountain as the sun sets.
Ellyn Foltz (MA English ’77)
One of my favorite places on Grounds are the steps of Cabell Hall. I enjoy reading on the steps before class and looking out onto the Lawn.
Michael Stephen Phillips (History ’07)
The giant ginkgo tree between the Chapel and the Lawn that coats the ground in an inch or two of beautiful yellow leaves each fall.
Lily Whitesell (Anthropology, Environmental Sciences, Spanish ’04)
The International Residential College
Marcie Weadon-Moreno (Government ’05)
My favorite place on Grounds was sitting in the windows in New Cabell Hall. When I was young, my Mom was a graduate student in the sociology department, and I have very vivid memories of sitting in the windows, imagining myself as a Wahoo and reading my Babysitter Club books while my Mom was working. Ten years later, I sat in those same windows studying and reading for my classes once I actually became a Wahoo.
Elisabeth Miller (Sociology, History ’02)
My favorite place on the Grounds is 9 West Range, where I lived near the Poe Room for three years!
Henry Gould (College ’54, MA Math ’56)
I know it’s unoriginal, but my favorite place on Grounds is sitting under those beautiful maple trees on the Lawn when the fall colors are at their peak and reading a good book. A close second would be near the boxwoods in Garden X where my husband proposed to me on a rainy day in April, 17 years ago.
Renee (Walsh) Garnett (Spanish ’87)
I fear that my favorite place on Grounds won’t exist for long … the interior windows in the hallways of New Cabell, overlooking the courtyard. Long and wide, these window ledges gave me the illusion of privacy as I read a chapter or ate a snack before class. I think I even took a nap or two in these perches.
Susan M. Gantz (Foreign Affairs ’99)
The gardens. That is where I got engaged to another 1990 ’Hoo, Maria Chesley.
David Fisk, M.D. (Asian Studies ’90)
My absolute favorite place on Grounds is sitting on the benches in front of the statue of Thomas Jefferson on the Lawn. It’s shady but I still “people watch” and my children love to use the large bushes around the statue as their “secret hiding place.”
Jennifer McDonald Brecht (History ’91, MEd Educational Psychology ’97)
The Lawn ... especially on fall mornings.
Henry McGill III (Foreign Affairs ’93)
Dead center of the Lawn on a late fall afternoon.
Benjamin Shiftan (History ’06)
The steps of the Rotunda — it really gives you the feeling of what lies ahead of you.
Jennifer Ragland (English, Women’s Studies ’89)
There are so many beautiful and even magical places on Grounds it is almost impossible to choose only one. The Lawn is the obvious choice, although I do love sitting on the steps of the Rotunda looking down towards Old Cabell Hall, but I would have to say that the garden behind Pavilion IV is also a favorite. Both of these places are beautiful and hold many treasured memories.
Daphne Rankin (Foreign Affairs ’04)
My favorite place on Grounds would have to be the huge flowering tree by the Rotunda, on the Rugby Road side. It has a bench under the branches (which reach the ground in some spots) and is a quiet enough spot to read, but you also get to watch everyone as they walk by and take in the sounds of Charlottesville. An added bonus is that when the tree is in bloom, it is the most beautiful sight and smell on Grounds.
Adrienne Saltz (Psychology ’06)
The underground steam tunnels we weren’t supposed to go in. Just kidding. There is a statute of limitations on that, right?
The Alderman stacks. No, seriously, my real vote is for the Lawn — where else?
Edwin Lamberth (Medicine ’67)
My favorite place on Grounds is the Robertson Media Center because of the movie selection, the various viewing rooms and the great atmosphere.
Christine Bogan (College ’10)
My favorite place on Grounds would have to be right outside Brooks Hall, next to the Rotunda or in one of the gardens; it is so beautiful out there, especially on a warm day. The best thing to do there is read or people/squirrel watch; it’s fun!
Jadie Rose DeLille Wright (College ’10)
My favorite place on Grounds: standing in front of Cabell Hall looking up the Lawn at the Rotunda. The perfect view!
Paul Ticco (MA Marine Affairs ’83)
It’s not novel, but my favorite place on the Grounds is the Lawn, particularly the colonnades that pass in front of the Lawn rooms and Pavilions. Some of my fondest memories are of just-warm spring evenings walking those paths and lingering to take in the very strong sense of place and timelessness. My daughter is now a fourth year at U.Va., her undergraduate experience coming to a close, and this is one of the great things that I have shared with her. In May of her senior year of high school we took a baking class together at Meander Plantation in Orange. She had been accepted at U.Va. early for the next year and was so looking forward to it. That night in Orange, the air had that new spring feel to it, so we hopped in the car and headed for Charlottesville as I told her about those nights some 20-plus years earlier. It was just a quiet walk up and down the Lawn through the evening, through history and through the future and will always be a special moment for us.
John Nichols (Drama ’78)
That is an excellent question.
But in the end, there can be only one response.
Douglas Parker (College ’72)
The gardens behind Pavilion VII (the one with the club).
Sam Nystrom (Drama, English ’04)
Without a doubt Alderman Library. Perhaps because I spent so much time there over four years, nothing brings back the feelings associated with being at U.Va. quite like the sight, sound and smell of the entrance to Alderman. Even the organic chemistry homework I did there seems pleasant when I’m there.
Meg Khavari (Religious Studies, Biology ’03)
Brooks Hall lawn.
April Finn (Anthropology ’06)
My favorite place on Grounds is the Dome Room of the Rotunda. I enjoy studying in the Dome Room, with its beautiful view of the Lawn and the peaceful play of natural light from the oculus. It is a wonderfully quiet place steeped in beauty and history … a good place to think.
Benjamin Leonard (College ’10)
As an alum of the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society, Jefferson Hall holds fond memories for me. I also miss the Lawn gardens every spring!
Charlotte Hudgins (English ’03)
I am moved to write by all those who shared their hopes and resolutions for 2007 — my tendency would be to hang back, stay hidden and not reveal anything. But they shared, and they inspired me to share, too.
Like most Virginia students, my favorite place on Grounds is the Lawn, especially at night. I tended to pick classes based on whether I could get to them by walking up or down the Lawn, and I often sat against a tree and read there between classes. No place in the world gives me the same connection to the past, to the unique American past, and no place challenged me as much to make some kind of contribution to my country. I felt then and I still feel that I have to live up to the Lawn in some way. You can imagine how thrilled I was when my daughter (College ’02) moved into a Lawn room. Despite the passage of many years, when I visited her, the Lawn still affected me in exactly the same way. And no, I do not feel I have fully met the challenge. Yet.
Diane D. Johnston (College ’75)
Lynne M. McNamee (Religious Studies, Spanish ’92)
Favorite place: Garden VIII, where the following poem was conceived and is now enclosed for your consideration.
Thinking of Wang Wei in Mr. Jefferson’s Gardens
Wind last night, and the temperature dropped.
The autumn sky is clear in the distance.
Red burnishes the maple leaves, tiny flags.
Two birds fly away, and a branch quivers.
The heat’s glaze has disappeared overnight,
and now the dead have no chairs to sit on.
I feel ghosts move and the passing of time.
Squirrels chatter their odd alphabet.
Somehow I fit in back here,
path through the garden filled with tiny pebbles.
Soon the dead leaves will blow in to my hair and onto my clothes
piece by piece like a colored quilt.
Mark Rosenberg (English ’96)
It’s hard to choose one favorite spot in such a beautiful place. Is it the steps of the Rotunda? My room on the Lawn? One of the gardens? The Chapel? What comes to mind are actually two places: the walkway alongside Bryan Hall, and a tree — I think it’s a ginkgo — between the Chapel and the wall of Garden I that turns the most amazing yellow every fall and is a brilliant green against a Virginia blue sky in the spring.
Jean M. Zachariasiewicz (Echols, French, English ’01)
As I read the question, I knew the answer instantly ... my favorite place on Grounds is sitting on the steps of the Rotunda looking out over the Lawn. When I am in need of a mental escape, I imagine that it is a warm day in spring and I’m sitting on the cold marble steps looking out over the Lawn, watching the U-Guides give tours and the students playing Frisbee. Return visits to U.Va. always include plenty of quiet time revisiting the calm of the Lawn.
Betsy Brentz (Psychology ’83)
I would say looking at the Lawn from Cabell Hall steps, student watching.
Debby Stanford (Department of Economics)
This is most likely a very pedestrian (but maybe common) thought, but I have always been mesmerized by the sight of the Lawn and its surrounding features just after a heavy snowfall. Somehow, the buildings take on an almost surreal beauty with the red brick in warm contrast to the white snow, and the columns becoming a cream-gold in the lights of the walkways. The word “magic” comes close to describing the feel of the place — it is quiet and still, but somehow very alive. Ghosts of Mr. Jefferson and legions of students gone before, perhaps?
Rob Austin (History ’71, MBA Darden ’78)
My favorite place on the Grounds was the Rare Book Room in Alderman Library. I remember my visits there with nostalgia and awe. Forty-seven years after my entry in the College, my initial visit is as clear as if it were yesterday.
Stanley Goldstein (Biology ’64)
29 West Lawn.
Tom King (College ’72)
The garden behind East Lawn which holds the spire from a mediaeval building at Oxford.
Richard McClintock (Classics ’66, MA ’67)
I’ve always loved the serpentine walls near the Range.
Mark Lidman (College ’71)
First, of course, the Rotunda. Not a day went by when I didn’t cross its paths and realize that I was the luckiest person to go to the University. My favorite hideaways were the pavilion gardens — each unique, each beautiful. Also loved the reading room in the library — and the old copies of Life magazine … and Mr. Turner’s watercolor studio … and the Chapel … and the Amphitheatre on a sunny day in the spring ... and Poe’s room … and, and, and ....
Kelly Smith (Studio Art ’82)
I have half a dozen very favorite views, but predominant is the conventional one looking up the Lawn toward the Rotunda, possibly from an angle — just a bit to the right of Homer, toward McIntire School of Commerce.
Alan Bruns (College ’50)
The Dell for its serenity and lack of overdevelopment by the ever-expanding University.
Gil Pearman (Rhetoric and Communication Studies ’88)
Paul Hobby (History ’82)
We have all had the privilege to walk the Lawn, stroll the Rotunda and simply enjoy the Jeffersonian architecture, but it was my pleasure to live in the upper level of “the Crackerbox” on the Lawn my last year. Without fail, every time that I visit the University, (especially in the spring) I find myself walking back to the Crackerbox and just sitting in the gardens that were outside my window. It had to be the best location on the Lawn, with not only direct garden access but also being able to go down my steps and walk into the bathroom and shower facilities found directly across the brick walk.
While it is difficult to single out any one place within Albemarle County, the University complex, the Grounds or any location associated with U.Va., that is the one place that I feel is my own special “place” on the Grounds.
Best regards to you and to everyone associated with the best University in the world. My father graduated from U.Va., four of my siblings graduated from U.Va., and two of our three sons have graduated from U.Va. with the third to finish in a few years.
Van Krebs (College ’68)
I graduated more than 25 years ago so some of these places may not exist anymore:
- The dome room of the Rotunda
- The windows facing the courtyard in New Cabell Hall when the azaleas are blooming
- The steps of the Rotunda (Mad Bowl side) at 2 a.m. on a cold night with a full moon
Stephen Simon (English ’81)
Steps of old Cabell — at night.
J. Stewart (English ’97)
H. William Porterfield, M.D. (College ’50)
Nick Leach (College ’10)
My favorite place is (or was — I don’t know whether or not it is still there) the old geology building. I think it was called Brooks Museum. Sticking out like a sore thumb in the middle of the greensward along University Avenue, there it was, so Victorian amidst the classical Jeffersonian architecture of all the other buildings in the Central Grounds area. I was in it a couple of times many years ago, when it was still used by the geology department, and viewed with interest some of the exhibits. I’d like to know whether it stands yet, and if so what it is used for. While some considered it an obsolete eyesore, it had its own character, and its presence was part of the history of the University, worthy of preservation for that alone.
Lucille B. Garmon (PhD Chemistry ’66)
The Lawn — the Dell — the Virginian — Midsummers on the Rotunda terrace — Thornton Hall — the Commons — the old Engineers’ Club — pick a favorite? I can’t.
Harold S. “Pete” Moore (Mechanical Engineering ’49)
My favorite place on Grounds is the upper (portico level) western terrace of the Rotunda ... it has a marvelous distant view of the hills to the west, while offering a dynamic off-axis prospect of the Lawn and a layered view of mysterious spaces hovering over the Colonnade below (i.e. Pavilion upper porches). It’s especially good when the grand magnolias, which are wrapped by this terrace, are in bloom.
Susan Pikaart Bristol (Architecture ’82, MArch ’86)
Parent of Clark Bristol (College ’10)
Despite the general unpopularity of New Cabell Hall, I’m sorry that future generations of students won’t get to enjoy its deep window sills, broad enough to support a person and her backpack, and the perfect place to curl up between classes and read solely for pleasure.
Pallavi Guniganti (English, Economics ’02)
Marcie Camp Williams (Sociology ’05)
During my second year, I enjoyed walking the pathway running southeast of the Lawn, connecting Central Grounds to the Corner. Every Tuesday and Thursday after class, a professor whose name I never discovered walked the very same path to his office, always a few paces ahead of me. He always smoked a pipe, and the smoke would fill the air with a fragrance both mysterious and comforting. When I smell pipe smoke even now, I wistfully think of that path, U.Va.’s majestic Grounds and the wonderful community of professors and students of which I was a part during that time.
Laura Smith (German ’96)
Looking at the Rotunda from the Lawn, any time of day or night, but especially on a clear, sunny day in the fall.
Buford Scott (History ’55)
“THE LAWN” — without question.
John “Jack” A. Rorer (College ’51)
There’s no better place than “the quad.” The memories from old dorms my first year at U.Va. can’t be beat. Whether it was a sunny day and full of Frisbees and sunbathers or a cold night in the dead of winter when you’re headed home from Rugby Road with half of your dorm ... I’ll never live in an “academical community” quite like it again. Passing by over the three years following I could only look longingly at newly arrived undergraduates and be excited for them and all the years that lay ahead.
Kelsey Johnson (Economics, Psychology ’06)
Do I have to pick just one?
Looking down the Lawn from the Rotunda to Cabell Hall.
Rugby Road in the fall.
The dell behind Hancock and Bonneycastle.
I loved it all!
Julia Hollon (History ’91)
The gravel path behind the Pavilion Gardens, between Old Cabell Hall and the Chapel, is by far my favorite place on Grounds. Ducking onto the path instead of walking down the Lawn was my way to escape the constant bustle of the Lawn sidewalks. Instead of activity fliers and random Lawnies in bathrobes, I ran into the first blooms of spring and the pleasant starkness of the trees in winter. No matter what the season, the gravel always provided a pleasant crunch beneath my feet, which was perfect for mulling over whatever I had on my mind as I traveled in between classes. I rarely if ever ran into other people walking on this path, except for the day during my fourth year when I ran into a special person walking the opposite direction — my future husband, who was then only an acquaintance.
Carla Galdo (Spanish, Foreign Affairs ’02)
My most favorite place so far is the walkway that boxes in the Rotunda. On a perfect sunny day the Lawn looks fantastic especially with the rays of sun shining through the trees. It’s a place that I hardly see people, but I love that walkway; it’s so calm and peaceful and scenic.
Sheetal Patel (College ’10)
My favorite place on the Grounds is the Lawn, including the Jeffersonian buildings surrounding it.
Robert P. Black (College ’50, MA ’51, PhD Economics ’55)
My favorite place on Grounds is Pavilion Garden V. Five months from now, I will marry Jared Warren (Economics ’03). We dated all through our time at the University and it has always been a special place in our hearts. Nearly six years ago, on one of our very first dates, he took me to Pavilion Garden V for a romantic picnic. He had spent all day exploring the gardens and hand-picked Garden V as his favorite. From the moment of our picnic, we have always referred to Garden V as “our garden.” Last summer, as we were walking up and down the Lawn reminiscing, he suggested we go to our garden. Upon walking into Garden V, right at the spot where we shared that picnic so many years ago, he got down on one knee and asked me to marry him. Pavilion Garden V has always been such an important part of our relationship, and I couldn’t imagine any other place on Grounds being more special to me.
Blair Lawrence (Economics, Spanish ’04)
My favorite place on the Grounds is the walkway along the West Range where I was first introduced to my wife, Janice (MA Economics ’68), as we walked to the weekly Friday afternoon graduate seminar in 1967.
Joe Jadlow (PhD Economics ’70)
This fall one of my teachers made a comment about how humans seem to lack a connection or contact with nature anymore. Spurred on by this comment I hiked up O-hill one warm fall afternoon and climbed to the top of a large willow oak. From about 20 feet up I was able to take the same beautiful panoramic view of Charlottesville that fortified Jefferson’s resolve to locate the University here in Charlottesville. It was a great place to sit and see time not as still, but as the same.
Nicholas Paul Feucht (Economics ’07)
My favorite place on Grounds is the Lawn in front of the Rotunda. When I used to walk to and from class, I’d sometimes pause to look around at the beautiful scenery. Between the amazing autumn leaves in the fall, the snow-covered Rotunda in the winter and the wonderful green grass in the spring, you just had to pinch yourself and realize how lucky we were to go to school at such a beautiful place. I will always cherish my walks on the Lawn during my wonderful years at U.Va.
Laura Dornan (Economics ’05)
One of my favorite places on Grounds was sitting on the steps of Old Cabell Hall — day or night, watching the world of U.Va. go by. Usually I’d be waiting for a friend or doing some reading between classes, but instead of studying I would end up watching students involved in bake sales or political protests or throwing Frisbees; seeing the latest clothing styles; overhearing moments of conversations; and if I was there at the right time, listening to musicians practicing in Cabell. I loved hearing the African Drumming and Dancing Ensemble and how it contrasted with the colonial style of architecture around me. Sometimes (if I was lucky!), I’d catch a glimpse of that cute guy I was interested in. Admit it, you all did it!
Beth Darrow Condon (Biology, Environmental Sciences ’01)
During the fall semester of my first year I took a music class in Old Cabell Hall on Bach. My favorite memory is sitting in the Dome Room of the Rotunda listening to the Brandenburg Concerto through my earphones and looking across the Lawn at the trees in full fall color. It was inspiring being surrounded by all of that beauty and history. I remember thinking about students who, 150 years before me, sat in that very spot either studying in their library or perhaps listening to the same music. It was the first time I felt really connected to the University.
Sondra Denk (Foreign Affairs ’87)
The steps of Alderman Library ... and Michael’s Bistro (which should definitely count as part of Grounds :)
Ivi Kolasi (Religious Studies, Economics ’05)
When I was a student at Virginia from 1975 to 1979, my favorite places were the small and private gardens behind the Lawn. It was so nice that although they were the professors’, they were also the students’, because we were all a community. I will never forget the freedom and solitude I felt when I could settle down in a corner to read D.H. Lawrence or one of the Victorian novels Dr. Shannon assigned weekly.
Sarah Christensen Cox (English ’79)
As a fourth year in my last semester, there are many places — the Gardens, the Rotunda, the serpentine walls — that I feel compelled to call my favorite. However, there is one place that brings me, as a history major, back to the past every time I pass through — this is the windy brick path between Levering Hall and the Lawn. I often go out of my way to travel this path, which I affectionately refer to in my head as the “colonial village.” Prior to an 8 a.m. class, when the vast majority of students are still deep in sleep, the crisp morning air and sounds of only chirping birds and the occasional history professor pacing towards his or her office are all I hear. It is in these moments that I feel I can truly imagine the vision of Mr. Jefferson when he designed this University.
Louisa Collier (History, Spanish ’07)
Dear old U.Va. My favorite place was Memorial Gym since I spent lots of time in the training room, on the indoor track and in the boxing training area during my four years at the University, having been a 1955 class member. Thanks for the inquiry.
Bob Greer (College ’55)
The Sally Brown Reading Room.
Tracy Rushing (German ’05, Medicine ’10)
Garden of Pavilion VIII (I was a University Guide and was married in the rain there!)
Tracey L. Krupski MD, MPH (Chemistry ’92)
My favorite place on Grounds is probably the rear garden of Pavilion I, in early April, when all the trees — I think they’re dogwoods — are blossoming, white and pink. During the day you can sit there in a snow of pink and white petals. Sometimes I’ve read on the benches for a while, then stood up to go, and a shower of petals falls off my shoulders and head.
Year-round, though, the best garden is the garden of Pavilion VII, the Colonnade Club. It’s a wonderful place to sit and read, or think or have a quiet talk with a colleague or student.
I’m always amazed that students don’t use these gardens more; I always urge them to, but they never seem able to do it. They're all too busy. Maybe when they’re alumni, they'll come back and sit in the gardens and muse over all they missed of the University, when they attended it.
Chuck Mathewes, associate professor of religious studies
My favorite place on Grounds lies just a few hundred yards from the Rotunda — close enough that it still has the wonderful, Neoclassical feel, but different enough that it makes you feel like you’re truly in a place that’s different from the usual Lawn scene. Walk down one of the driveways away from the East side of the Lawn and then head south until you reach the Crackerbox. In between the south side of the Crackerbox and the back entrance to what I believe is Garden X is a beautiful tree that appears to be akin to a weeping cherry. Go visit in April when the tree is in full bloom, take a seat, and enjoy the tranquil surroundings of a Jeffersonian path less traveled!
Chat Hull (Physics ’06)
Favorite place on the Grounds ... unquestionably, the Lawn! Serene, beautiful, functional, innovative design.
Little wonder it was voted America’s greatest architectural achievement in our first 200 years.
Richard Price (College ’72, Law ’80)
Running up O Hill is really beautiful, especially in the fall.
Melissa Patterson (College ’10)
My favorite place on Grounds is ...
Clemons Library during the finals season.
Friends and classmates congregate for a shared experience of intense studying and spontaneous bouts of laughter.
Students compile what chairs and cushions they can find in an effort to study throughout the night.
The library staff works valiantly to supply students with books, laptops and even staples for the innumerable term papers.
Secret Societies cause havoc with their impromptu pizza deliveries.
Finals brings out not the best or worst of people, but simply their character under great stress.
It is one of the few places on Grounds where someone can witness the true spirit of the Wahoo.
Desiree Davis (Media Studies ’07)
The Amphitheatre ... so nice to study there, have class or eat lunch in the spring sunlight.
Emily C. Hogge (Foreign Affairs ’05)
The stairs of the Rotunda on the Lawn side at night, looking out on the illuminated colonnades.
By the way, when did those ghastly handrails go up on the Rotunda stairs, and more importantly, when can they come down?
Kir Bennett (Economics, German ’93)
My favorite places are the Rotunda and the Lawn at Graduation. The symbolism of a fourth-year graduating student, standing at the top of the Rotunda stairs looking down at the beautiful green grass of the Lawn — and all those gathered to celebrate a student’s special moment — yet realizing that while one’s journey ends facing Old Cabell Hall and knowing that life’s real odyssey begins upon exiting the white commencement chairs opposite those same Rotunda stairs.
Fred Daniels (English ’87)
When I was at the University of Virginia, one of my favorite places to go was the stacks at Alderman Library. As I looked through books that were 200 years old, I felt like I was escaping into history. And it was always so quiet that I did my best studying there.
Jennifer Sizemore FitzGerald (Rhetoric and Communication Studies ’92)
With the cascading tiers, lush grass and smiling students, studying on the Lawn has to be one of my most fond memories of Virginia. It was most enjoyable in autumn with the changing leaves, and spring, as the Earth welcomed the new year and breathed new life into our days.
Janet Dillon (Chemistry ’96)
As a student, I loved exploring the Pavilion gardens, each with its own unique landscape bounded by curving serpentine walls. Whatever the season, the gardens provide a soothing oasis in the midst of the day-to-day University bustle, and even now they are one of my favorite places to visit when I return to Grounds.
Susan Stuelpner Klobuchar (English ’96)
My favorite place on Grounds is at my son’s side. He is a second-year student living in Brown College. Given that I took my degree from the University, it is a real thrill to be reliving the Virginia experience through him. It only gets better. Another of my three sons will be entering the University next fall.
Hugh A. Hamlin (Foreign Affairs ’77)
Why, the Lawn, of course, dean … and the ranges, where I lived, too; then, of course, the library ….
Jan Bakker (College ’58, MA English ’61)
I love the Colonnades — they remind me of some ancient ruins, and they’re more special because they’re tucked away off the beaten path just a little.
Jeannie Harding (History ’97, MT ’97)
The small gardens behind the Lawn rooms. I used to sit in them during the late afternoons and evenings when I needed quiet time, and admire their trees.
Trina Mizrahi (Jewish Studies, Psychology ’03)
The Gardens (pick one).
Cooper Wriston (Echols, Biology ’03)
The Cemetery. It is very peaceful with beautiful trees. The tombstones are interesting and always made me feel connected to the history of U.Va.
Cassondra Thomas (PhD, Environmental Sciences ’04)
Oh, wow … favorite place. OK, number one, I think, is the Cemetery behind the old dorms. My friends and I used to hang out there on nice sunny days and study. I’d like to think the dead didn’t mind and liked having the company. We used to debate at Anastasia’s headstone about whether she was really the daughter of Czar Nicholas.
If I could say a second, I think it would be the Colonnades. It has such an “old U.Va.” feel about it. A good place to sit and think, study, or just hang out with your friends ... like hanging out in Roman ruins.
Julia Wilkinson (English ’87)
My favorite place on Grounds is Garden VII. On July 28, 2006, I proposed to Patrice Devane (McIntire ’04) under the tree located in the center of the garden. Patrice and I will be getting married in July 2007 in the U.Va. Chapel. Because Garden VII has come to mean so much to us, we will be having our rehearsal dinner at the Colonnade Club (Pavilion VII) adjacent to Garden VII. I look forward to bringing our future li'l ’Hoos back to Grounds to share our new tradition of stopping by our starting point.
Jeff Robinson (Economics ’04)
The steps of the Rotunda on a clear night — facing the Lawn.
Katie Welch (College ’10)
Robert Montague (College ’56, Law ’61)
I’m not sure what it’s called — the concert hall or auditorium in Old Cabell Hall — it’s magical.
Kathy Rhoad (English ’85)
William J. Barker, M.D. (Biology ’77, Medicine ’81)
I wonder if most of us don’t love the quiet nooks at U.Va. — spots where you got an illusory feeling that you were the only one who’d discovered them. The elevated terrace beside the Rotunda, at night, comes to mind. The whispering wall, when no one is around to watch you test it. If you’ve buried a friend as an undergraduate, you never forget the intimacy of that chapel. Everything outside it spins, but those tan stones look so solid.
Still, when I took my children to U.Va., it was a public spot they couldn’t bear to leave. On a dark stage in Old Cabell Hall, they danced where John Prine, Wynton Marsalis and Dizzy Gillespie once played, when my friends and I had way too much homework to be there. Norman Graebner couldn’t finish his last lecture in that auditorium because so many societies (most anonymous, some cloaked) kept interrupting to honor him. All those years as you sat, an empty vessel wanting to take something in, “The School of Athens” looked out on you. You knew, even at 19, that there was something sort of corny about the painting. The colors were too bright compared to the original, the group too obsequious in their gestures toward each other. Surely the artist had left out some of the world’s best thinkers. So why did you always find yourself — in those old brown folding chairs with those white columns behind you — leaning slightly forward, your foot tapping, your scalp straining to anticipate each new word?
Holley Camp (English ’88)
Serpentine gardens for studying ... that was the best.
Peter R. Lehrman (English ’01)
West Range Cafe and the International Residential College.
Priyangka Das (Psychology ’08)
My favorite places on Grounds are the U.Va. gardens. I love photographing the ever-changing and vibrant colors in spring, verdant foliage during the summer, the oranges, golds and browns of autumn and snowy night scenes in the winter. They are a perfect place for schoolwork or leisure (or, more often than not, some combination of the two.) Whenever I visit Charlottesville, I still stop by to peer over the serpentine walls to see what’s growing.
Rachel E. Sharp (Environmental Sciences ’04, Master of Teaching ’04)
I know that things have probably changed since my day, but I always loved the nooks and crannies you could find along the serpentine walls off the Lawn. Especially on a beautiful spring day.
M. Kathleen Fogarty-Douglas (MA English ’79)
My favorite place on Grounds was upstairs at Newcomb Hall. Across from the information desk was a lounge featuring a piano (often occupied by talented pianists). Adjacent was a newspaper reading room with very comfortable sofas. I used to love getting lunch in the Newcomb Hall Dining Room after classes and then adjourn to these upstairs rooms to read, study and ... nap. What a life!
John S. Haverstock (Foreign Affairs ’84, Law ’87)
The fountain hidden among tall grasses in the wastewater lake (?), between the McLeod Deck and ASC. Look for it, and if it’s still there, you can find tranquility.
Zeina Saliba, M.D. (Linguistics ’03)
My favorite place on Grounds is Alderman Cafe. I love to step out of the cold into Alderman because it’s always so warm and it is a great place to meet friends and professors for coffee — it’s always buzzing with people and conversation!
Sarah E. Lewis (Biology, Spanish ’09)
This second semester has helped me realize that my favorite place on Grounds is most definitely being within Brown College — in the lounges watching a movie or just being in my room. If I have to choose outside of my dorm area I would say Clark Library — the study rooms are so nice (I wish we had bean bag chairs, though).
Thanks for the opportunity,
William Ryan Caviness (College ’10)
My favorite place on grounds is the OAAA [Office of African-American Affairs] office.
Khalifa Sultan Lee (College ’08)
One of my most favorite places on Grounds is the gardens. I remember sitting in the gardens at night, while an undergrad, letting my thoughts rinse through my mind as I breathed deeply the rich aroma of that special place.
Terrell L. Strayhorn (Music, Religious Studies ’99, ME Educational Policy Studies ’00)
The Lawn, looking up from the bottom at the Rotunda.
Erin Elaine Horn (Psychology ’06)
My favorite place on Grounds is on the steps of Old Cabell where you can see the length of the Lawn up to the Rotunda and bask in all its majesty.
Kyle Reese Elliott (Philosophy ’08)
My favourite place is the stadium. It’s where I can relax and show my school spirit with my friends.
Hiu Tung Lau (College ’10)
The grassy area that you walk through to get to the Corner.
Kate Szuchy (Psychology, Astronomy ’04)
Favorite place on Grounds — the “Black Bus Stop,” also known as the BBS, or the bus stop in front of the Comm School. It was a great place to connect with friends. Second favorite spot was probably Alderman Library stacks!
Jocelyn Frasier (English, Afro-American and African Studies ’93)
This may sound weird, but the stacks of Alderman Library is my favorite place on Grounds. It was always so deathly quiet in the carrels back there — a perfect place to study. The shelves would be sagging from the weight of the books, and of course that musty book smell filled every dark corner. It almost overpowered the senses, but for me it was inspirational. I felt like I was deep in the heart of scholarship, with the weight of human knowledge leaning over me as I studied for exams or did problem sets.
Chris Gurr (Chemistry, Spanish ’98)
I like the small gardens behind the great Lawn, especially the ones with boxwood hedges.
Isabella Bannerman (Studio Art ’82)
Ginny and I choose the Lawn and the surrounding environs of the Academical Village. We agree with Garry Wills when he describes this “place” as “one of the nation's architectural treasures ....” It inspires higher education that is uniquely Jeffersonian, and therefore, uniquely American.
Ginny, our son, Michael (4th Year, Politics Department and student in the DMP), and I (M.Ed. '76, Ph.D. '02) are proud of our education and association with the University.
Additional Note: Because we have spent so much of our “fun time” over the years at Scott Stadium and, now, JPJ Arena, they are tied for our “second favorite place” on Grounds.
Michael R. Sorrell (MEd Special Education ’76, PhD Educational Psychology ’02)
Ginny O. Sorrell
The Lawn. It’s the picture everyone envisions when they think of a traditional University.
R. Durwin Lemon (History ’77)
Winter: Rotunda Library/Dome Room
Spring: Pavilion Gardens
Fall: The Lawn
Tom Montague (Drama ’91)
Class, a cappella, friends and visitors, Christmas lights, student advocacy and ceremonies on The Lawn.
Marie Tansioco (Economics ’02)
William Powell (College ’62, Darden ’66)
I would have to say my favorite place is a small garden below the walk-through connecting West to the Main Hospital. In the spring the garden blooms with tons of yellow and color and in the fall there deep reds and oranges, and even a young apple? tree that bears fruit! A small bench is available and even though you can see the tiny place from the walkway, when you are down there it’s as if no one else is around. This is definitely my own “secret” garden because everyone sees it yet no one else seems to enjoy it!
Catherine Morrissette (PHS ’07)
My current favorite place on the Grounds is our private football tailgate spot behind Zehmer Hall, the School of Continuing and Professional Studies. It’s an oasis on football game days. A very peaceful and serene spot yet right in the middle of all that noise and commotion.
Bruce Milam (English ’74, MEd Administration and Supervision ’76)
The Pavilion gardens.
Debbie Albert (Environmental Sciences ’91)
Although I have many “fond” memories of the Alderman stacks, my favorite place on Grounds is probably the Scott Stadium parking lot. As a senior in high school, it’s where I realized that I wanted to be a part of the Wahoo tradition, and where, later in life, I hope my children will do the same. Nothing compares to a Saturday afternoon spent with family and friends, all joining hands to give a yell for dear old U-V-A.
Matt Edmonds (History ’06)
My favorite place is the upper walkway around the Rotunda.
Bobby Sutherland (Classics ’85)
Without a doubt, the Lawn. It is a secular temple complex. Just being there is a religious experience, thanks to Mr. Jefferson’s classical architecture. It is regrettable that modern architects have forgotten the rules he followed.
David J. Llewellyn (College ’72, Law ’79)
The entrance to Clark Library with the murals painted all over the walls. It reminds me of Italy.
David Scott Heppe (College ’10)
My favorite place on the Grounds is the upstairs veranda at the Colonnade Club, especially on a pristinely beautiful fall day with golden maple trees and a cobalt blue sky, as we had on Parents Weekend last October.
John D. Stewart, M.D. (Interdisciplinary ’74)
Favorite place on Grounds: The front of the Chemistry Building, illuminated at night.
Christopher Gerner (Mathematics, Economics ’06)
One of my favorite places to study was Alderman Library. I loved hunting through the Old Stacks for a quiet place to read and then taking some time to explore the incredible books around me. I was always in awe of the collection that the University houses in Alderman.
Karen Ryan (Art History ’92)
My favorite place on Grounds is the garden behind Pavilion V. There’s plenty of open space to lie on a blanket and read, or to look at the stars at night. Plus it’s where my husband proposed to me!
Ariella Hanker (Chemistry ’04)
My favorite place on grounds is a little dorky — the comfy chairs in the basement of Clark library. They may be a weird orange color, but they are perfect for studying, perfect for between class napping and perfect for lounging around to have a little quiet time.
Michelle Henry (College ’10)
The steps leading up to Alderman Library are memorable. Walking up and into the library I would get nervous and excited with the anticipation of immersing myself in a world of books and language and knowledge. Walking out of Alderman I was always filled the enthusiasm gained from my trip to the stacks. It was as if the Grounds had magically appeared, with the Lawn to my left, the tall trees and green grass seemed to grow straight out of the pages of my books. Of course, it is always easier to romanticize when there is no paper due!
Leah Klass (Anthropology, Latin American Studies ’98)
The amphitheater is my favorite place on Grounds.
Jennifer Lauren Weaver (English ’08)
My favorite place is the top floor of the Rotunda. The open space, the richness of the detail of the woodworking, the history that flows through it — I could sit there for a long, long time.
Terry Flanagan (Biology ’81)
My favorite place on Grounds? The bench midway down to the Corner from the Rotunda. It’s a spot I used to sit and read in between classes — close enough to the Corner to grab a bite to eat, close enough to the Lawn to smell whatever that smell is that reminds me of the University. The bench, by the way, was placed there by my family a few years ago, to honor my Dad, Bert Weiss, College 1939. Dad and I first saw the University together when we traveled down from New York on a college trip. It was April. And the sky was a blue color we didn't often see up north. We were just about where that bench is now, walking up from the Corner when I decided — this was my school. In 1969, there were no women at the University. But that didn't stop me from visiting the Admissions office. I thought about that smell, the sky, the charms of U.Va. that everyone who has ever seen it knows, as I wrote my application. The rest, as they say ... is history. Dad suffers from memory loss now, but he can still sing The Good Old Song!
I also loved the Cave — the hidden snack bar that used to be in Cabell Hall. You had to go up stairs, down stairs until you found this little jewel. I’d imagine there are many students who have gone through all four years without even knowing the Cave was there.
Wendy Weiss Newman (Rhetoric and Communication Studies ’74)
I am tempted to begin this, “Long long ago and far far away.” That is, at the University during the 1960s. I was fortunate enough to live on the Lawn in ’64-’65. It has to be my favorite place at the University. The sense of history, the fireplaces, the outside “facilities” — all these were part of the Lawn experience. The thing that made it special, for me, however, were the fall and spring early evenings when you could take your rocking chair outside, sit, read, perhaps have a libation. It was as if the troubles of the rest of the world were shut out. In the hectic pace — especially of modern life — it really is good to “get away from it all” occasionally. We all need a “Lawn” every now and then.
Henry Curry (College ’65)
My favorite places on Grounds are the gardens. They are such peaceful places tucked away from the still-audible hustle and bustle of Central Grounds. I cannot tell you how many times I have lost myself in study or simply just sat back and appreciated the beauty of the place. The gardens are a truly spectacular place to find a calm amongst the midst of college life.
Andrew Fink (Biology ’08)
My favorite place on Grounds is the Cemetery. It contradicts the “spooky” cemetery stereotype in that it is actually very peaceful. It’s a wonderful place to study on a sunny afternoon, and I like to walk through it when I’m stressed out, because it helps me calm down, almost as if the members of the University community who are buried there are touching me with their peaceful reassurance. One snowy night first year I introduced a friend to the Cemetery. Not long after, we started dating, and last year he proposed to me during a picnic there. When I’m stressed and need a place to get reconnected with life beyond class and current stresses, the Cemetery is where I go.
Janice Reade (Speech Pathology and Audiology ’07)
My “new” favorite place is my seats at the John Paul Jones Arena.
Howard Gordon (Economics ’69, Law ’72)
I would probably have to say, Pavilion XI. I remember when it first opened in the mid-’70s, and it quickly became a great gathering place after a long evening of studying. We also had the opportunity to hear some live music in an intimate setting from artists such as Livingston Taylor. At that time, there was really no other place like it right on the Grounds!
Laurie Ferris Lindsay (Foreign Affairs ’78)
My favorite place on Grounds is the Lawn. For me, the Lawn and the Rotunda embody the University as a whole.
Jessica H. Duane (Psychology ’07)
Great question! Here’s my favorite spot:
A stone stairway behind the Monroe House. It’s a quiet spot, right off the path leading to Newcomb behind Monroe Hill, and overshadowed by a weathered old tree that forms a double-V shape when seen from the right angle.
Thanks for the updates!
Sarah Caroline Wade (College ’10)
My favorite place on Grounds is a bench in front of this huge tree behind Brooks Hall, to the left of the Rotunda. I love sitting there when it’s nice outside because it’s so peaceful. Sitting there makes it so easy to just take a minute and relax.
Eva Watterson (College ’09)
Besides the obvious (the Lawn), I always had an affinity for the stairs entering the stacks in the Science and Engineering Library in Clark Hall (spent considerable hours there as an Environmental Sciences major). There was just something about going “down the hole” on that narrow, winding staircase that branded itself in my memory.
J. David Fuss (Environmental Sciences ’92)
My favourite place on Grounds is the garden (I don't know the numbers of the gardens ...) with the spire from Merton College .... I know that the spire is currently under repair but it is still my favourite garden!
Anna Natalie Rol (English ’09)
Actually, I have two — my old dorm was directly across the street from Scott Stadium — could see games from second-floor balcony — and the old gym — played b-ball for hours every day. The quote from Jefferson about health on the front door made a big impression on me.
Dan Scinto (College ’69)
One of my favorite places was sitting in the Amphitheatre on a nice autumn or spring day. We used to sit there between classes, and it was not so much the beauty of the place but that we were able to chat with each other and catch up with friends who were walking to class. I remember one particular spring day during my last semester at U.Va. I was sitting in a large lecture hall and it was a gorgeous day. I started thinking, this is my last semester, I know I’m graduating, why am I suffering through this class when I could be sitting in the amphitheatre catching some rays? I immediately packed my belongings and left the class so I could savor one last afternoon of a stress-free life.
Carla (Miles) Woods (Rhetoric and Communication Studies ’85)
Re: favorite place on the Grounds. It was in the early ’60s, and I would walk from my fraternity house on old Carr’s Hill Road along a wooded path that wound between other fraternities and the President’s home toward my classes, or to Alderman Library. It was usually side by side with our mascot, Ox, a wonderful collie. Our pets ran free and easy on the Grounds in those days. We would cross University Avenue, pass the chapel and proceed along the pebbled paths between the West Lawn and the West Range. The careful raking of those paths would have made a Zen priest proud. From there, up any one of the alleys between the gardens and Pavilions and onto the Lawn for classes at Cabell Hall, old and new. Taken almost daily, this route made me feel closer to the generations of instructors, students, builders and caretakers who preceded our class. It was impressive at all times, day or night, with secrets to be revealed in all kinds of weather and from season to season. As an experience which shaped my awareness of the everlasting pleasures to be found in nature and in great design, it was an unexpected and priceless gift of an education at the University.
Grady Lewis (English ’65)
My favorite place on Grounds is the Amphitheatre. Not only is it a great place to get some reading done between classes while enjoying the sunshine, it is also host to some of the greatest events on Grounds. From Tom DeLuca's hilarious night of hypnosis to the moving Take Back the Night Vigil, some of my favorite memories of my time at U.Va. are of time spent in the Amphitheatre.
Emily Rogers (Psychology, Spanish ’06)
There are so, so many places that are my favorite places on Grounds. The obvious ones are the Lawn and my Room 38, at the many monuments, under the many trees, the Cemetery. I’ll nominate this one though: The gate across from the entrance to the Old Med School, there at the Corner. It has this inspiring inscription: “Enter by this gateway and seek the way of honor, the light of truth, the will to work for men.” Then, the long view up the hill to the Rotunda. I urge everyone to go there, read and reflect, and enjoy the long walk up to this eternally magnificent place.
Mary Bland Love (Government ’74, Law ’78)
The big table on the fifth floor of Alderman. Great for studying in groups, reading ... and napping.
Carter B. McCrory (Government ’06)
My favorite place on Grounds is a place I can no longer visit: the Newcomb Hall fifth floor offices of the Cavalier Daily, which were closed down in 1993 due to fire code problems and asbestos removal. But the people, the good times and the lessons I learned live on in my memory — and I probably feel safer knowing that today's CD staff can no longer climb out on the roof of Newcomb after a long day’s work!
Diane DeBerry Krehmeyer, (Psychology, Rhetoric & Communication Studies, 1991)
My favorite place on Grounds is East Lawn, the side facing the hospital, in the early morning hours, with a coffee in my hand, on my way to practice piano in Cabell.
Allison Christy Hoover (English-Poetry Writing, English Education ’07)
The Lawn at the beginning of spring.
Gregory L. Schroder, M.D. (Chemistry ’82)
I really love Old Cabell, so much so that I have once thought if I could put it in my pocket, I would take it away with me. I would, however, hate to deprive fellow ’Hoos of the chance to sit on its steps and lean back against a column under the lazy afternoon sun. Waves of students hurry from one class to the next. Squirrels prance up and down the Lawn. Distant silhouettes flicker, as people tour the Dome Room. Then the sun dips into watercolors to give way to a star-spotted sky. In the orchestra circle, you find yourself surrounded in semidarkness and jazz, catching glints and beats bouncing off the brass. Without Old Cabell, there would be no Music Library secluded in the basement, where a Virginia Gentlemen groupie could claim a wooden desk and chair for herself to “study.” No snippets of concert rehearsals heard through the staircase. But really, Old Cabell is still where it is, because it just won’t fit into my pocket.
Joyce Wu (French, English ’04)
A&S Online, Feb. 22, 2007