C is for Celebrities at UVa

Dean Groves – Probably the most popular faculty member at UVa. You’ll admire him, your parents will love him, your professors, faculty, and staff will speak highly of him. Dean Allen Groves is the Dean of Students, went to UVa as a graduate student, and understands the student experience better than most adminstrators. He can be found at every major UVa event, he tweets constantly about UVa sports teams, he makes himself readily available for setting up meetings via email at meetdeangroves@virginia.edu, and you have exactly four years to give him a high-five, as it’s always on the List of Things To Do Before You Graduate. Make sure you get your RAs to have a program with Dean Groves at some point – it’ll likely be one of the best, most honest, and most open conversations you have with an administrator at UVa.

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Mark Sherriff – An extremely popular Computer Science Professor. He typically teaches CS1110 (though that might have changed by the time you’re reading this – sorry!), the introductory programming course in Computer Science that’s a favorite of most engineers and fourth years looking to add another useful skill to their resume. He’s engaging, enthusiastic, and nerdy – an all-around cool guy who will teach you well and keep you entertained throughout lecture. Also, you’ll definitely have the upper hand on all of your non-technical friends after taking a class with him. If you take his class, go into his office hours sometime and talk about games (he’s a big WoW and League of Legends fan, among many, many others – basically anything available on Steam). Or ask him about his opinions on net neutrality and copyright policy; they’re very strong but he’s done his research and knows why the ‘Net must always remain neutral and copyleft is the future for intellectual property laws.

Caricature of Larry Sabato's Crystal Ball by Kelsey Talbott

Larry Sabato – A nationally-known politics professor and runs Sabato’s Crystal Ball for every major election, where he determines the political leaning of each state and predicts who will win an election. Nate Silver, who I’m sure you heard about in the most recent presidential election, basically took Sabato’s game and added more intensive data analytics and prettier graphs. But Sabato’s the real deal, the original guru of predicting political outcomes (Nate Silver’s pretty good though, too, and I’m sure Sabato and Silver are friends), and he’s nationally known for his skills. His intro politics course is either loved or hated – there really isn’t an in-between. Some think it’s too difficult and too focused on his own research, making it more like “Politics According to Larry Sabato.” Though, some absolutely love it, are challenged by his works, and enjoy his teaching style. In the end, it’s hard to disagree with his thoughts and ideas about politics, since he’s been right 99% of the time (though, no real data was performed to get that percentage).

Siva Vaidhyanathan – Siva teaches MDST2010 – Introduction to Digital Media Studies, and he’s one of the most-respected media scholars in the nation as well. He wrote the book, The Googlization of Everything, which you’ll likely read in any class discussing the implications of our advancing technological culture. His class is great for any tech enthusiast, anyone wanting to learn more about the machine you’re reading this post on, or anyone looking for an interesting interdisciplinary class – it can satisfy some credits here and there too! Siva cares about students and the student experiences, is never afraid to speak his mind or voice his opinion, and he’s very loud about it. On top of that, he’s always looking to put together extracurricular events, talks, and lectures that would better interested students’ experiences. His lectures can sometimes suffer from egoism, much like Sabato’s, but again, he’s one of the smartest guys in his field, so can you really blame him? He’s really down-to-earth and always happy to meet with students during his office hours, so take advantage of them.

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Patricia Lampkin – You’ll develop an interesting bond with Ms. Lampkin – one that doesn’t include face-to-face communication, likely, but one that is completely based on the emails she sends to you. She’ll update you about the current happenings at UVa, safety concerns for events around grounds, and her signature will often appear on the bottom of emails letting you know she approved the distribution of an email to the entire student body. Ms. Lampkin resides in Pavilion V with her husband, Wayne Cozart, another UVa celebrity, so you know she’s important. She’s an extremely friendly, kind, and caring woman, who is always happy to help better the student experience and improve conditions for students. Talk to her if you get the chance.

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Wayne Cozart – You probably “met” Wayne in your first week at UVa, as he gives the Secrets and Traditions at UVa talk. Mr. Cozart knows a surprising amount about the history of UVa, the traditions that have continued over the many years, and the secret societies that, supposedly, no one outside of the groups knows about. Mr. Cozart appears to have become a close friend to many societies, and he knows their group members, their traditions, and their rituals and practices very intimately. You can hear his talk about these UVa traditions every year at the Miller Center, usually on the first Friday of the year, or in the Unforgettable Lectures class, which you absolutely should take during your fourth year.

Ms. Kathy – Ms. Kathy is one of the happiest, most genuine, and warmest staff members at UVa. She works at Newcomb, happily swiping in students during the day, and getting a hug from Ms. Kathy is just as important as high-fiving Dean Groves. If you’re having a bad day, grab some food from Newcomb and let Ms. Kathy cheer you up. She’ll always put a smile on your face with her, “Hey good-lookin’, how are you doing today?”

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