Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 67.djvu/287

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The inauguration of Dr. E. A. Alderman as the first president of the University of Virginia closes a historical period of eighty years, during which the institution has occupied a somewhat unique position in our educational system. The inscription prepared by Jefferson and inscribed on his tomb reads: 'Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and Father of the University of Virginia.' The catalogue of the university devotes a page to the statement: "Founded by Thomas Jefferson.—' An institution is the lengthened shadow of one man.'" And it is true that the university has maintained much of the intellectual aristocracy and democratic simplicity of its founder.

PSM V67 D287 The leander mccormick observatory.png
The Leander McCormick Observatory.

There was no president, the administration being conducted by the faculty with their elected chairman and a rector and visitors representing the people through the governor's appointment. There were originally eight independent schools or departments—ancient languages, modern languages, mathematics, natural philosophy, moral philosophy, chemistry, medicine and law. A student could matriculate in any one of these schools, and the elective group system was thus early established. There were no entrance examinations; no distinction was made between cultural and professional studies; no degree other than 'graduate' was given on the completion of a course, but those who carried on research might receive the doctor's degree; no honorary degrees have ever been awarded; there were no required religious exer-