Money on the Liberal Arts

January 4th, 2012

At an academic panel in Atlanta on the morning of the Virginia-Auburn bowl game, an alumnus posed a question that has been posed many times, and with increasing frequency: Given all the national emphasis on the STEM disciplines (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math), what did I think was the prospect for the liberal arts at the University of Virginia? Read the rest of this entry »

The “Scientific Conspiracy of Nations”: Virginia in Berlin

December 20th, 2010

Fifty years after David Bruce (College ’20), one of the most distinguished diplomats of the 20th century, occupied the residence of the American embassy in Germany, another Virginian followed in his footsteps. Tammy Snyder Murphy (College ’87) is married to the current U.S. Ambassador, Philip Murphy. To celebrate the College’s budding relationship with Humboldt University, Ambassador and Mrs. Murphy hosted a dinner last month, bringing to their residence not just the delegations from Virginia and Humboldt but representatives of Germany’s great foundations—the Max Planck Institute, the German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD), the Leibniz Society, and the Alexander Humboldt Foundation. Read the rest of this entry »

A Passage to China

March 29th, 2010

Humen—Mouth of the Tiger—is where the Pearl River flows into the South China Sea. This is also where the Confucian commissioner of the Qing court, Lin Zexu, tried to turn back the barbarians—the private merchants importing opium from Britain—by dumping two and a half million pounds of opium into the sea. This story never ceases to animate the Chinese; the driver of the mini-van carrying our small delegation of three from the College, pointed to the sea and shouted, “aa-pin!,” Chinese for opium.

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