University plans eventful weekend for inauguration of President Ryan

Gov. Ralph Northam and School of Nursing Dean Dorrie Fontaine will deliver addresses

screen-shot-2018-10-16-at-9-45-30-pm
Jim Ryan's inauguration is the ninth in U.Va. history. Courtesy University of Virginia | Cavalier Daily

University President Jim Ryan will be inaugurated Friday as the University's ninth president, with a number of events planned throughout the weekend. This inauguration is the ninth time a president of U.Va. has been sworn in and is planned to be one of the larger inaugural celebrations in the University’s history. 

Ryan began his term as U.Va. president in August and succeeded Teresa Sullivan, who served as University president for eight years.

Since the inauguration of the University’s first president, Edwin Anderson Alderman, in 1905, the ceremony has been a time to honor the responsibilities and aspirations of both the president and the University as a whole. While past inaugurations have included other events on the side, Ryan’s inauguration stands out in the emphasis being placed on the larger number of events planned for the weekend.

“The events are intended to bring the community together during an important moment in the University’s history — the inauguration of the ninth president, Jim Ryan,” University Spokesperson Anthony de Bruyn said in an email statement to The Cavalier Daily. “We hope all of the University community and the Charlottesville community will be able to participate in some way.”

The celebrations will begin on Friday morning with Profiles of Discovery, where a number of faculty and community members will gather on three separate panels, each focusing on a specific theme. The three themes — “Research Excellence,” “Liberal Arts and Humanities” and “Democracy and Citizenship” — will be explored by the 15 faculty panelists from over a dozen different academic departments in the Rotunda Dome Room. The event will also feature a video showcase of various recent research projects from a number of disciplines.

The actual inauguration ceremony will begin later in the day at 3 p.m. and will be immediately followed by a community reception at the Rotunda. Following in the tradition set at the third presidential inauguration in 1947, the installation ceremony — taking place on the Lawn — will feature various speeches.

The ceremony itself will host a number of notable speakers. Apart from Ryan, speeches will be given by Gov. Ralph Northam, Assoc. Drama Prof. Theresa Davis and School of Nursing Dean Dorrie Fontaine. 

The keynote address will be delivered by Drew Gilpin Faust, the former president of Harvard University and a mentor to Ryan — a former dean of Harvard’s graduate school of education. 

“Alumni, friends, and guests from the local community and around the country will be attending,” said Patricia M. Lampkin, vice president and chief student affairs officer, in an email to all students. “As traditional for a university president’s inauguration, delegates representing a broad range of colleges and universities will march in the procession.”

Historically, some University presidents have used their inauguration to lay out specific goals for their presidency. The events of Ryan’s inauguration weekend are meant to highlight different aspects of the community, and may provide a peek into Ryan’s plans for his tenure. 

“Combined, these events reflect President Ryan’s commitment to maximizing the University’s potential for contributing to the greater good through community, service and discovery,” de Bruyn said. “They are themes that are present throughout the two days and the planned events and activities.”

Saturday morning, the weekend will continue with the Community Bridges 5K run, where Ryan will be joined by former Olympians Paul Ereng and Margaret Groos, according to the inauguration website. All proceeds from this event will go to the Center for Nonprofit Excellence, an organization which works with and supports over 280 nonprofit organizations in the area.

The University will also be holding a Celebration of Service throughout Saturday morning and into the afternoon. According to the inauguration website, the event will host a number of Contracted Independent Organizations and outside service organizations with food and musical entertainment being provided by the University. All attendees are asked to bring a non-perishable food item to donate to the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank.

The celebrations will conclude on Saturday with “Double-Take: Stories That Make You Think Twice” — a live storytelling event themed around the idea of “building bridges.” The event will feature stories from both Ryan and Dr. Vivian Pinn, a former senior official at the National Institutes of Health and the only woman and African-American in the School of Medicine’s Class of 1967, who also spoke to the community earlier this year at the 2018 opening convocation and honor induction. Stories will also be told by students and community members selected from online and in-person submissions.

The schedule of events:

  • Profiles of Discovery — 9 a.m. – 11:15 a.m. Friday in the Rotunda Dome Room
  • Installation Ceremony — 3 p.m. – 4:30 p.m. Friday on the Lawn (Rain location: John Paul Jones Arena)
  • Community Reception — 4:30 p.m. – 5:30 p.m. Friday on the North Plaza of the Rotunda
  • The Community Bridges 5K Run/Walk — 9 a.m. – 10:30 a.m. Saturday, starting at the Chemistry Building
  • Celebration of Service — 9:30 a.m. – 1 p.m. Saturday at the McIntire Amphitheatre
  • Double Take — 2 p.m. – 3 p.m. Saturday in the Old Cabell Hall Auditorium

A previous version of this article erroneously stated that Rita Dove, a former U.S. poet laureate, would speak at the inauguration, based on a press release from the University. The University has since amended its statement to say that Assoc. Drama Prof. Theresa Davis will speak instead.

related stories