Will Alderman Be Canceled? Not Yet.

Edwin A. Alderman

The University of Virginia Board of Visitors has tabled a discussion about renaming Alderman Library in honor of former UVa President Edgar F. Shannon until the Board’s February/March meeting.

John Nau, chair of the Buildings & Grounds Committee, told the full board Thursday that he had spoken to “every member of the board” about the measure but “there’s still work to address this issue.”

There was no discussion, and a presentation of the renaming proposal included in the board information packet was skipped.

Alderman was UVa’s first president, appointed after the job of running the university had proven too complex for the Board of Visitors alone. Serving from 1904 to 1931, he extended UVa’s outreach to a broader population, updated teaching methods, and admitted women to graduate programs at UVa despite resistance from faculty and alumni. Under his leadership, UVa entered a growth phase, growing enrollment dramatically, expanding the number of faculty, building the endowment, and increasing its budget more than ten-fold. Alderman has been criticized in recent years for his retrograde views on race and his embrace of the then-progressive enthusiasm for eugenics.

The timing of the renaming is meant to coincide with the reopening of Alderman Library after extensive renovations. In its backgrounder on the renaming of the library, the Ryan administration omitted criticism of the former president in favor of playing up Shannon’s role from 1959 to 1974 in navigating integration, the Vietnam War, and coeducation.

“Under President Shannon’s leadership,” says the briefing book, “the University developed the character and values it still embraces today as we strive to be both great and good.”

In a concession to traditionalists, the administration’s PowerPoint presentation (page 6)  said the university would continue to honor Alderman’s legacy by retaining the existing dedication plaques in the main entrance of the
building and rename this portion of the building, now known as Memorial Hall, Alderman Hall.

— JAB

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Wahoo74
Wahoo74
2 months ago

I attended the University when Edgar Shannon was President. He was an outstanding leader and gentleman.

Edwin Alderman was as well, in the context of his times
. That last phrase is something Progressives seem incapable of understanding. President Alderman led the University into the 20th century. Were his eugenicist viewpoints antithetical to our values today? Absolutely.

So were President Wilson’s Jim Crow racism and pro-eugenicist views, but he led America through WWI.

So were FDR’s racist views. He presided over a segregated US military and illegally imprisoned hundreds of thousands of loyal US citizens of Japanese descent.

Should we cancel them as well? Rename Wilson Hall? Rename the FDR highway in NYC?

Spare me. Judge great leaders compared to their peers.

GRob
GRob
2 months ago

I also attended UVa during Shannon’s tenure.
If he had anything to do with the transition from the UVa of the 1960s to the disgrace it is today, he should be vilified, not celebrated.

Clarity77
Clarity77
2 months ago
Reply to  GRob

You are absolutely correct as the seeds were planted under Shannon and if you happen to hang around present day C’ville or on the Grounds you will sure enough run into the present day “seeds” although they are now pot bellied and fat and cannot fit into their Che Guevarra t-shirts. Their long hair, if still they have it, long ago having turned gray. They were instrumental in the turmoil of the 60’s and now seek to recreate the same. No doubt they consider themselves as being “great and good.”

Boston Reader
Boston Reader
2 months ago

Guessing Shannon was a member of Farmington CC when it had a rather unprogressive admission policy. Probably a few skeletons in his closet also. Like everyone else.

walter smith
walter smith
2 months ago
Reply to  Boston Reader

As I recall, people went after Frank Hereford for that as well…

The Wokies are worse than the Pharisees…
Very smug in their glass houses…

Clarity77
Clarity77
2 months ago

I also attended under Shannon’s stint as president, and up until 2 years ago regularly wrote checks to the library. I then had lunch with Unsworth, current dean of the library, and learned first hand he is an avowed Marxist. I happened to quote Jefferson and he immediately responded with quotes from Karl Marx! I literally felt like I was going to vomit and considered getting up and leaving the table. My gut level revulsion at anything socialist/Marxist/communist/collectivist stems from having grown up in Venezuela at a time when it was a vibrant, wealthy nation to now under Marxism witnessing a suffering populace with a per capita income level less than that of Haiti!

Last year at a UVA reuinion I attended a construction tour and reception for the library. I questioned the tour director as to why a plan to rename Alderman to which I received a very terse and in your face reply, “Oh no, we WILL be renaming the library!” My response which I chose to share privately later with my fellow UVA roommate and reunion attendee, “well you can forget EVER receiving another dime from me!”

Fast forward to yesterday, while overseeing work being done on my south Florida residence by 3 expat Cubans, we shared our common experience with Marxism. The one simply concluded, “they destroy everything!”

Simon Bolivar, the great South American liberator specifically sent his nephew to study at Jefferson’s university so as to learn how to perpetuate and build a constitutional republic that acted in the common citizen’s favor and not a dictatorial, tyrannical communist government which they now have. Jefferson and Bolivar truly cared about the future of both their native countries and yet present day right here at the very heart of our University, the library, as Jefferson so envisioned it, sits an avowed Marxist as dean!!!

While writing this I am juggling one of my grandchildren on my lap and I look at her with sadness in that I cannot confidently consider even remotely the thought of her attending my alma mater at this very point in time. Normally as Christmas approaches I would be looking for UVA themed toddler clothing but I cannot even bear the idea of even supporting this so called “great and good” institution or encouraging her to ever attend! Yes I am quite sad at this state of affairs as I love the University, as Jefferson envisioned it, not as it is now under Ryan and his cabal!
When will US citizens get it, and especially anyone connected with UVA of all universities?! As the one Cuban expat also concluded Marxism is in fact a cancer. A cancer is to be done away with but somehow the BOV cannot recognize that and allows it to grow. My checks will go to the Jefferson Council, and not UVA while this cancer is perpetuated and allowed to exist!

Clarity77
Clarity77
2 months ago
Reply to  Clarity77

Could someone please explain how it is that when it comes to the American library system having been founded and based on Jefferson’s very own personal and beloved collection of books, which he gave to form the Library of Congress to encourage and lay the basis for the pursuit of reason, and to promote the well being(including mental) of the American citizenry, we now have in place as directors of both the American Library Association and yes our very own UVA Library, known and avowed Marxists? Marxism which not so long ago was clearly recognized as the epitome of insanity!

Clarity77
Clarity77
2 months ago

So how does Marxism play out in the life of the most well known American “academic” being Cornel West. Check out this link. Is this someone who should be given a platform and be an example to the youth of our country? Is this account of his life not Exhibit A as to Marxism being in fact a symptom of an insane, lunatic? Is this the kind of guy who should be invited to speak as he did at the Presbyterian church on the Corner just prior to the beginning of the C’ville events and who incited attendees(faculty as well as students) to march over to the Rotunda?
https://1ft.io/proxy?q=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.forbes.com%2Fsites%2Fjemimadenham%2F2023%2F12%2F01%2Fwhy-cornel-west-is-broke%2F%3Fsh%3D76b701a055aa