1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Virginia, University of

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16946271911 Encyclopædia Britannica, Volume 28 — Virginia, University of

VIRGINIA, UNIVERSITY OF, a state institution for higher education, situated at Charlottesville among the foot-hills of the Blue Ridge Mountains. Its buildings, arranged around a large rectangular lawn and erected from a plan prepared by Thomas Jefferson, are noted for their architectural effect. At the head of the lawn is the Rotunda, modelled after the Roman Pantheon and now containing the university library; and at the foot of the lawn are three modern recitation and laboratory buildings. On the sides are grouped buildings for each individual professor and dormitories for students. There are also a chapel, a gymnasium, a hospital, and on the summit of Mount Jefferson Hill, a mile south-west of the campus, is, the M‘Cormick Observatory. The university comprises twenty-six independent schools, but the courses of instruction given in these are so co-ordinated as to form six departments: two academic—the college and the department of graduate studies; and four professional—law, medicine, engineering and agriculture. The institution owns 522 acres of land, has productive endowment funds amounting to $1,978,000, and receives from the state an annual appropriation of $80,000. It is governed by a rector, chosen by and from nine visitors, and a board of visitors appointed by the governor and two visitors ex officio, the state superintendent of public instruction and the president of the university; and the corporate name of the university is “The Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia.” In 1904 Edwin Anderson Alderman (b. 1861) was elected president. In 1910 the faculty and officers numbered 110, the students (men only) 803, and the number of volumes in the libraries 88,000.

The university traces its beginning to an act of the legislature in January 1803 for incorporating the “Trustees of Albemarle Academy.” In 1814, before the site of this proposed institution had been chosen, Thomas Jefferson was elected a trustee, and under his influence the legislature, in February 1816, authorized the establishment of Central College in lieu of Albemarle Academy. The corner-stone of Central College was laid in October 1817, and Jefferson, who was rector of its board of trustees, evolved a plan for its development into the university of Virginia. The legislature, thanks to the efforts of Joseph Carrington Cabell, a close personal friend of Jefferson, adopted the plan in 1818 and 1819, and seven independent schools—ancient languages, modern languages, mathematics, natural philosophy, moral philosophy, chemistry and medicine—were opened to students in March 1825; a school of law was opened in 1826. In 1837 the School of Medicine became a department of three individual schools; and in 1850 the School of Law became a department of two schools. After the gift of $500,000 by Andrew Carnegie there were established in 1009 the Andrew Carnegie School of Engineering, the James Madison School of Law, the James Monroe School of International Law, the James Wilson School of Political Economy, the Edgar Allan Poe School of English and the Walter Reed School of Pathology.

Under Jefferson’s plan only two degrees were granted: "Graduate," to any student who had completed the course of any one school; and "Doctor" to a graduate in more than one school who had shown powers of research. But in 1831 for the Doctor’s degree the faculty substituted, following British custom, the degree of Master of Arts. The college now grants the degrees of “Bachelor of Arts,” “Cultural Bachelor of Science” and “Vocational Bachelor of Science”; the Department of Graduate Studies, the degrees of “Graduate in a School,” “Master of Arts,” “Master of Science” and “Doctor of Philosophy”; the Department of Law, the degree of “Bachelor of Laws”; the Department of Medicine, the degree of “Doctor of Medicine”; the Department of Engineering, the degrees of “Civil Engineer,” “Mechanical Engineer,” “Electrical Engineer,” “Mining Engineer” and “Chemical Engineer”; and the Department of Agriculture, the degree of “Bachelor of Science in Agriculture.”

See J. S. Patton, Jefferson, Cabell and the University of Virginia (New York, 1906).