Letter from the Chair

Falling Leaves and Budgets.

This is an image of Jeff Legro

Jeff Legro
Photo by Dan Addison

The colors of autumn are reaching their peak. One of the great joys of the year is to see the Lawn painted in reds and yellows. And the transformation of the majestic ginkgo tree between the Rotunda and the Chapel to a luminescent glow is the sign of all good autumn things.

“Fall” this year has a less pleasant side as well. The headline in the morning paper today was “Virginina Revenues Plunge Yet Further.” Not good news for the Departments in the College tied to state funds. Times are tight at the University and doubtlessly you are feeling the pinch of the recession as well.

Despite the budget woes, we in Politics remain optimistic in a few key respects. First we were fortunate to add two new faculty before the hiring freeze went into effect. Meet Professors Deborah Boucoyannis (just in from a teaching stint at Harvard) and Chris Lebron (a talented MIT Ph.D.) who are now capably leading classes.

Second, Politics professors have not slowed in their research – check out the faculty’s recent publications that show lively creative minds at work, economic crisis or not.

Third and most important, the joys and wonders of UVA students flow like an endless river.  Watching undergrads move from first to fourth year is like viewing a high speed film of human development: they grow in amazing ways in front of your eyes.

And then our graduates head off to do incredible things. In this issue read about three former students who are making a mark in the world. Kyle O’Connor (’08) is helping write President Obama’s speeches. Stephen Dinan (’96) is covering those speeches and much more as White House bureau chief for the Washington Times. And Danielle Sewell (’06) reflects on her experience as  Peace Corps volunteer in a country ranked 177 out of 177 in the United Nations’ World Poverty Index.

We hope you are well and finding the delights of fall whatever they may be.  Should your path bring you to Mr. Jefferson’s University, please do stop by and say hello.