Hello, Curry friends and alumni!
My primary role at the Curry School Foundation is to raise unrestricted operating support for the Foundation – otherwise known as the Annual Fund. Over the next few months I’ll explain more about what that even means. For now, I’d like to tell you about my connection to the Curry School of Education and the University of Virginia and why it matters to me that we are able to grow our resources.
Since graduating from the University of Michigan in 2008, I’ve made my career in the world of higher education fundraising. I’ve only been at Curry since January 2011, however, so I’m still pretty new.
When I moved to Charlottesville, I wondered what my connection would be to the University and to the community here. U of M was my alma mater and my previous employer; Ann Arbor was home. Could I feel the same way about U.Va.?
My worries were totally eased as soon as I began settling into Charlottesville and working at Curry. Here was a school whose mission aligned with my personal values and whose faculty, staff, and students were friendly and smart to boot.
At President Teresa Sullivan’s inauguration last April I discovered just how deep my connection with U.Va. really was.
The inauguration took place on a glorious spring day—sunny, not too warm, a gentle breeze. A big crowd of University folks had come down to the Lawn, myself and my colleagues among them. The kickoff for the festivities was a processional of dignitaries from universities and colleges across the country. Of course, I looked to see if anyone from U of M had made the trip.
Much to my surprise, not only was U of M well represented, but their president, Mary Sue Coleman, was the keynote speaker! As she introduced President Sullivan, she expounded on the historical connection between the University of Virginia and the University of Michigan. I learned of Thomas Jefferson’s friendship and extensive communications with U of M’s founder, Augustus Woodward. “The two men were friends, united in their passion about the necessity of public education,” President Coleman said, “and we in Ann Arbor are indebted to the conversations that first took place here in the hills of Charlottesville.”
As you can imagine, I was totally jazzed during her whole speech. I love Ann Arbor, and I love Charlottesville – finding out that there was a connection between the two was kind of like finding out that your best friend’s grandma was also best friends with your grandma.
Odd metaphors aside, that inauguration ceremony really marked the moment when I started to see Charlottesville as home and myself as part of the U.Va. community. Our passionate alumni, the spirit of service and self-governance, the amazing dedication and research of the Curry faculty (hello, top 100 education scholars), and the deep historical traditions are just a few of the reasons why I am incredibly happy to be part of the University of Virginia.
I hope that as I continue to learn about Curry and the University of Virginia, you’ll share your stories and experiences about U.Va. and the Curry School and give me even more reasons to love this fabulous university!