Plans by the University of Virginia to expand the number of students and use facilities all year will neither overwhelm the community nor detract from the region’s salubrious milieu, according to UVa President Teresa A. Sullivan.
Sullivan told the members of the Charlottesville Regional Chamber of Commerce that the university’s plans to add more than 1,400 students and 100 graduate students to its rolls will not harm the area’s quality of life.
“We understand the concerns about growth,” Sullivan told the chamber at its 97th annual dinner, held Tuesday night at the Boar’s Head Inn Pavilion. “We know we need to modestly increase our enrollment to provide more space for Virginia students, but the university’s growth will be modest, measured and thoughtful and not overwhelming.”
Sullivan said the university is part of the area’s attraction. She said students and staff volunteer through Madison House and other organizations to help members of the community. She also noted that the defense intelligence community, including federal agencies and contractors, has found Central Virginia attractive for reasons that vary from weather and scenery to the proximity of the university’s research and education facilities.
“We want to be good neighbors,” she said, noting that the quality of life was one reason she accepted the UVa president’s position.
Chamber officials noted that part of the region’s reputation as a great place to live comes from amenities including Charlottesville’s Downtown Mall and honored a native who helped to create the current environment with the chamber’s Paul Goodloe McIntire Citizenship Award.
Alvin R. Clements, whose efforts on Charlottesville’s Central City Commission in the 1960s and 1970s eventually led to creating the Downtown Mall, won the 2010 award, established in 1975 to recognize outstanding citizen contributions to the greater Charlottesville area.
The chamber made the announcement following Sullivan’s talk.
“Alvin Clements’ leadership is marked by his steady, quiet, gentle, reasoned, ongoing approach to building a better community,” said Bryan Thomas, regional executive for BB&T and chairman of the award committee that selected Clements. “We are honored by his lifetime of service and we are honored to honor him tonight.”
“I think he’s a fine choice,” said former Charlottesville Mayor Francis Fife, prior to the dinner.
Fife appointed Clements to many committees and boards and recalled that, oddly enough, the proposal to create a pedestrian mall on Main Street proved controversial.
“There were people who were afraid that taking traffic off of the street would create sort of a dead scene,” Fife said. “We hadn’t decided if we were going to go with the mall or not, and we thought it was best if someone else took a look at it.”
Clements served as president of Citizens Bank and Trust Company, which merged with Fidelity American Bank, of Lynchburg. He was chairman of the board of Central Fidelity Bank in Richmond, which later was purchased by Wachovia. He commuted to Richmond from his Charlottesville home, rather than move to the big city.
The life-long regional resident also served on the city’s School Board, the chamber of commerce, the United Way-Thomas Jefferson Area and numerous boards and commissions, including the library board, the local chapter of the American Red Cross, American Cancer Society and Lions Club. About the only civic activity in which he did not engage was a run for public office.
“[Clements] was someone who we knew was respected in the community and would look at it fairly,” Fife said.