When I walk down the Lawn on May 18 it will have been three years, eight months, and 23 days since I moved to Charlottesville, marking the longest I, an Air Force brat, have ever lived in one place. It's a place I'll be sad to leave, but one I'll be lucky enough to take with me. The people I've met and the lessons I've learned have left an indelible mark on me, and because of my experiences here I leave the University of Virginia a better man.
Sometimes The Cavalier Daily has been a bigger part of my life than eating and sleeping. I still can't believe it was Mario Kart 64 that set in action a chain of events that would lead to my eventual election as EIC. (Ask me about it sometime). I still look back in awe at the opportunities I enjoyed simply for volunteering my time to write a weekly column. A year's supply of free Coke and trip to Austin to cover the Bush election were more than I could have asked for when I first tried out for Opinion.
But it wasn't until my years as Opinion editor and Editor-in-Chief that I realized what an amazing entity The Cavalier Daily is. I could fill pages praising the work of my peers, thanking readers for sustaining this paper, or waxing philosophical about how the CD is the last bastion of untainted student self-governance at U.Va. They're all true, but it's all been said before. I struggle to put into words just how I feel about this paper and this University; how do I sum up four years of excitement, anger, pride and fear? Each day and each person meant something to me, for better or for worse. I choose to thank the better.
Let's start at the roots. Mom and Dad, I don't know where I'd be had you not raised me to be good, given me the independence to make all my own decisions, and inspired me with your faith in humanity and love for all people. I'm so happy that after 33 years, you're finally enjoying an empty nest, but I'll always be your baby boy.
To the B-hive, Brent, Brad and Bryan, I admire each of you for how talented and dedicated you are. It's tough being the youngest brother of such renaissance men. Thanks for setting good examples for me to follow.
To my Theta Chi boys, thanks for understanding when I disappeared for a year, but always being there to help me celebrate when the "weekend mutant" emerged from its basement hole. The Greek system gets a lot of unwarranted criticism, and always having a place to hang out was an essential escape for me this year.
To The Brink and Frat Kidd, a ton has changed since BC1R, but thanks for your friendship. I'm really proud of both of you, and know you have incredible futures on your horizon. Now, if only I could get a job too...
I'll never claim to be a ladies man, but I've been blessed to be friends with some amazing women. To Kitt, Megan, Emily, Amy, Cortni, Mellon, JC/LC, and Sarah, thanks for being so supportive, for feeding me, and making sure I stay sane.
The best thing about college is the people you meet, and I wish I could thank them all. Here's the admittedly incomplete list of people who get my props: Pat Lampkin and Wayne Cozart, for being a second set of parents; Aaron Laushway, for always having time for lunch and a good story; the "fat campers" of L2K2, for doing great things for the University that often go unnoticed; and shout outs to AD, the Gamblord, Beaks, Ick, Gorman, Samer, Nickelback, Patio, MJ, Dougler and 109 Observatory. If I've left anyone out it's because I'm a terrible person, sorry.
To the staff of The Cavalier Daily, new and old, thank you thank you thank you for teaching me what it is to be dedicated, to care about something so much that you give up insane amounts of time, often for work that goes unnoticed and under appreciated. Your ability to step up when things go wrong will forever solidify my knowledge that the CD is unbreakable.
To the 114, show us has-beens how it's done. Build on what you've learned and share it with your staff. Don't forget the ideals of this newspaper, and don't feel it's necessary to do something just because it's always been that way. Andrew, the sleepless wonder, you're going to make the paper shine. Guillaume, thanks for stepping it up; the paper is grateful to you. Chris, the hotshot youngin', your ambition is admirable and I know you'll be superb for the staff this year. Brian, I have been so proud of you since you were my Opinion associate, and I know you'll use your uncanny ability to write about anything in an intelligent manner to make the ledit space rock.
Justin, I couldn't have asked for a better successor. You possess a level-headedness and keen understanding of what lies at the core of a newspaper. You care about each person you interact with, and this will take you far this year. You're at the helm of the ship now, buddy.
Thanks again to the JB and SB, for making our jobs easy, for supporting decisions we made, and for sticking with it. You should all be very proud.
To my managing board, there were many days when I couldn't have made it without you. I never had to worry that things wouldn't get done, because you were always one step ahead of me. I've never seen such courage as you possessed in dealing with some unimaginable chaos.
Justin, you were a vital member of our board, and you know how proud I am to pass the torch to you.
Jeff, thanks for being such a skilled writer, and for teaching me that sometimes you have to put business ahead of personal relationships. You're one of the smartest people I know; good luck in the future.
Peter, no one knows how hard you work, and that's simply not fair. You put in countless hours to make the paper visually appealing, something so many take for granted. Thank you for the Frank's pizza nights and of course our hand-to-palm high five. Give this man a jersey!
Emily, thank you for keeping us boys in check, for staying till the paper rolled, for humoring me and my bad jokes, and for teaching me countless lessons about what it means to be committed to a cause. You were a fantastic managing editor, and deserve much more recognition than you receive.
No parting shot would be complete without thanking Sharon Bradley, for your unyielding commitment to this paper, for serving as our surrogate mother, and for being such a pleasant person to be around. Keep these new kids in line.
The University of Virginia is a beautiful place. It's a lone pianist on the third floor sharing her melody with me as I exit Newcomb and having the Rotunda steps all to myself late at night.
The Cavalier Daily is a strength that will never die. It's a staff setting aside their mourning on Sept. 11 to put out an award winning page, another staff reacting to a departing managing board member with understanding and guts, and 114 years of history.
For nearly four years, I made the basement of Newcomb Hall my niche. Thank you to all who have shared it with me. It's time for me to go where the sun shines bright and the pipes don't leak.
Come May, I won't just be graduating; I'll be leaving home.
Brandon, Bdog, Bnut, Bdiddy, Flanders, Flan-wu, Moon Doggy, BA