Dear Jefferson Council members and friends,
The Jefferson Council Board and I wish you a very happy Independence Day.
We alumni of the University of Virginia share a very unique academic heritage as the only university established by one of America’s Founding Fathers. I am especially appreciative on this day, the 247th anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, marking the creation of our nation. With your support, the Jefferson Council will ensure UVA returns to the founding principles Thomas Jefferson envisioned for our university, focused on our four founding pillars:
- Promote an academic environment based on open dialogue throughout the University.
- Preserve the Jefferson Legacy.
- Preserve the appearance of the Lawn as a UNESCO World Heritage site, and
- Support and reinvigorate the Honor System.
God bless America, and God bless Mr. Jefferson.
Thomas M. Neale
University of Virginia Class of 1974
President and Co-Founder
The Jefferson Council for the University of Virginia
Bert Ellis, president, The Jefferson Council
Written by Bert Ellis, President of The Jefferson Council
Dear Mr. Unsworth:
I am writing to you in your capacity as Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library, with a request that you postpone the vote scheduled for June 27 on changing the library’s name until everyone involved in the decision has an opportunity to carefully consider all of the ramifications of this landmark decision.
We are aware of no urgency in resolving this issue and no harm of any kind that might result from a reasonable delay. On the other hand, a rush to judgment without regard to fundamental facts could produce long-term harm to both the institution you represent and the reputations of all involved.
Given the many very positive contributions of Presidents Jefferson and Madison it would seem only fair that they be given at least a modicum of due process before being discarded from our community in such a cavalier manner.
I write in my capacity both as President of the Jefferson Council (a non-profit organization formed to preserve the legacy of Mr. Jefferson), and as a 1975 graduate of the College and a 1979 graduate of the Darden School of Business. Our Board of Directors at The Jefferson Council has unanimously instructed me to contact you in this matter, as we consider your planned vote to be of profound importance.
Your role with the Library Board of Trustees suggests a love for books, education, and of course the libraries that facilitate public access to books. I am confident that you are familiar with Mr. Jefferson’s famous observation that “If a nation expects to be ignorant and free, in a state of civilization, it expects what never was and never will be.”1 Thus, the library branches under your supervision play a critically important role in maintaining our democracy and preserving our freedoms. Continue reading