The brain is the most complex organ in the human body, and it now is the subject of study for the University of Virginia’s newest multi-disciplinary, pan-University undertaking: The UVA Brain Institute.

“We are building on broad strength and recent breakthroughs at UVA in several areas related to brain science and education to understand, reverse-engineer and treat diseases of the brain,” Thomas C. Katsouleas, UVA’s executive vice president and provost, said.

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There were gray skies above and mud underfoot, but pure joy in between as the University of Virginia celebrated its 187th Final Exercises Saturday and Sunday.

Despite dire forecasts of monsoon-like weather all weekend – which yielded a few, intermittent showers, mostly on Saturday – the University celebrated the Class of 2016 as it always has, with a procession of graduates, faculty members and festive banners and balloons, making its way around the temporarily reopened Rotunda terrace and down the center of the Lawn.

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The Jefferson Scholars Foundation recently awarded prestigious Jefferson Fellowships to 21 incoming University of Virginia graduate students. The foundation selected the recipients based on their demonstrated record of academic achievement and their commitment to becoming the next generation of outstanding teachers, researchers, public servants and business leaders.

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Air Force ROTC Cadet Nathaniel Jewell is a leader.

In fact, the recent University of Virginia graduate is one of three Air Force ROTC “Cadets of the Year” chosen from around the country.

Jewell, who graduated Sunday with a degree from the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, has been named one of three of the Air Force ROTC’s Cadets of the Year. The award honors Air Force cadets who have excelled in academics, military leadership, service, physical fitness, teamwork and character.

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“Margaret Lowe was one of a kind – a quiet, deeply thoughtful individual dedicated to caring for those around her,” said Daniel Judge, a graduating double major in philosophy and political philosophy, policy and law, and chair of the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award Committee, as he announced on Friday that Lowe was the female student recipient of the 2016 Sullivan Award.

Lowe was a fourth-year Classics-Ancient Greek major who was looking ahead to medical school when she unexpectedly passed away last year while running – one of her favorite activities.

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Rachel Abrams admits that a minor coincidence had a hand in pointing her in the direction of the brick buildings with ornate columns that decorate the University of Virginia’s Grounds.

Groggy-eyed and in the back seat, she awoke as her mother’s car was arriving on the streets of Charlottesville for a college tour during her senior year of high school. The first thing that caught her barely focused gaze was a home labeled by the house number 1214 – the very same number that identified her home in Florida.

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Years of work, dedication and support culminate this weekend for thousands of students earning degrees from the University of Virginia and their families and friends.

Check out some of the key numbers behind graduation weekend.

 

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The University of Virginia’s Class of 2016 is reaping the benefits of a burgeoning employer presence on Grounds and a recovering national economy.

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The University of Virginia’s Class of 2016 has distinguished itself in many ways, earning dozens of prestigious national and University-wide honors and scholarships. This year’s graduating class has a Rhodes Scholar, two Truman Scholars, two Goldwater Scholars, two Beckman Scholars, two Davis Prize for Peace recipients, six Fulbright Scholars and a Schwarzman Scholar.

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Elizabeth Harris’ graduation on Sunday will mark the first time since 1998 that one of the six Harris siblings has not been a student at the University of Virginia.

Elizabeth was 5 years old when her parents, Maura and Greg, moved their oldest daughter, Kelly, from Winchester into UVA’s first-year dorms. She watched as four more siblings – two sisters and two brothers – made the same move. As the youngest in the family, Elizabeth spent years visiting her siblings on Grounds, moving them in and out of dorms and apartments and cheering on the Cavaliers in football and basketball.

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The construction fences have come down (temporarily) and the University of Virginia’s iconic Rotunda, off limits for the past two years due to ongoing renovations, is ready to resume its traditional role during this weekend’s Final Exercises.

Graduates will be able to follow UVA tradition on Saturday and Sunday, amassing on the newly reopened north plaza of the Rotunda, ascending the north portico stairs to terraces around both sides of the building and walking down the south portico stairs onto the Lawn.

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As University of Virginia graduate student Michelle Cho prepares to take her Master of Public Policy degree from the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy on Sunday, she can look back with pride on the footprint she’s left on the Charlottesville community.

Cho will become a “double ’Hoo” this weekend – she received her bachelor’s degree from the College of Arts & Sciences last year – and she’s spent her five years on Grounds learning the most effective ways to bolster equality through policy and action.

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Thirty-four outstanding high school seniors have received prestigious and highly competitive Jefferson Scholarships to pursue their undergraduate studies at the University of Virginia.

The Jefferson Scholarship covers the full cost of attending UVA for four years of study. In addition, the scholarship provides a number of enrichment programs, including a two-week summer leadership development conference, team-building workshops, a travel studies program and career networking opportunities.

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Ken Kong’s friends call him “Master Kong,” because he is beloved at the University of Virginia.

“‘Master’ in Chinese means the person who knows a lot of people and has a good reputation among people,” Kong said.

Kong is a connector of people and an elite scholar. In 2015, he earned his undergraduate degree in computer science and economics after just three years. He will walk the Lawn again Sunday to receive a master’s degree in data science.

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Pamela Kimeto has worked through her share of professional difficulties.

As a young nursing student in Kenya, her first clinical rotation at a rural hospital revealed the devastation and death wrought by HIV and AIDS. She witnessed infants perishing from preventable illnesses like malaria, diarrhea and pneumonia. After becoming a pediatric nurse practitioner at the University of Eastern Africa, Baraton, she even cared for abandoned children who’d taken up residence in the hospital where she worked as a clinical instructor.

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A gene that scientific dogma insists is inactive in adults actually plays a vital role in preventing the underlying cause of most heart attacks and strokes, researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine have determined.

The findings open a new avenue for battling those deadly conditions and raise the tantalizing prospect that doctors could use the gene to prevent or delay at least some of the effects of aging.

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Were you at the University of Virginia through this past academic year? If so, you experienced a lot.

It’s impossible to capture every event in one video. But in just three minutes, Third-Year Class Council President Malcolm Stewart narrates some of the highlights you’re sure to remember forever. You may even see yourself in some of the footage.

Stewart takes you to Trick-or-Treat on the Lawn, shows you otherwise-dignified Wahoos acting like little kids in 14 inches of snow and reveals a spot in the Rotunda that had lain hidden for generations.

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