Dear New UVA Student:
I write to welcome you to the University of Virginia. In just a few days, you will join a community that has high standards for academic rigor, integrity, trust, and respect for others. By choosing UVA, you have embraced these values along with us, and we look forward with great excitement to your arrival.
You were offered admission to this University because of who you are now—your record of academic achievement, your leadership in your community, your commitment to service, and other qualities that distinguish you among your peers. The years that you will spend as a student here will be about who you will become in the future—your intellectual growth, your development as a young adult, the promise of success in your chosen career, and your potential for national and global leadership. Your grades in your classes will not be the only measure of your achievement; the college experience is about your growth and maturation as a human being.
Just as you were admitted to UVA because of who you are, all of your new classmates were admitted to UVA because of who they are. Your classmates come from many different backgrounds, from different parts of the nation and various corners of the world. All of them are unique individuals who are as promising as you are, though they may be different from you—different in race, or socioeconomic background, or many of the other measures of diversity.
With this in mind, I have one request: During your first semester at UVA, get to know at least one person who comes from a different background than you do. Befriend a person whose life experience has been completely different from your own. This will help to open your eyes to the great variety of human experience, and this will be part of the maturation and growth you will experience here—an essential element of your college education. Take advantage of everything that UVA offers you, and remember that a diverse community is something important that UVA offers.
I look forward to seeing you at the Convocation for new students on Sunday, August 21, at 6:00 p.m., on the Lawn. During Convocation, I will speak to you about the unique qualities that distinguish UVA from other universities, and I will share my advice for your success as a student. Until then, I share my best wishes as you prepare to begin this exciting new phase of your life.
Very truly yours,
Teresa A. Sullivan