10 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2017
    1. must advance the knowledge & well-being of mankind: not infinitely, as some have said, but indefinitely, and to a term which no one can fix or foresee.

      Referencing the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, the similarity between the italicized words "infinitely" and "indefinitely" is one that is striking. They mean practically the same thing but the word "indefinitely" holds more authority in this sentence. It states that knowledge must be advanced indefinitely, or with no exact definite limits. The word "infinite" signifies an immeasurable extension, or extending to infinity. I am sitting here wondering what compelled the authors of this report to be so particular in their word choice, and why they chose to emphasis "indefinite" over "infinite". I dwell on this because of the emphasis that was placed on democratic writing and the idea that, in democratic writing, each word holds so much importance.

    2. Giving then a portion of their time to a finished knowledge of the latin and Greek, the rest might be appropriated to the modern languages, or to the commencement of the course of science, for which they should be destined.

      I think it's interesting how such an emphasis is put on classical languages. I myself have recently been exploring the idea of majoring in Classics with a concentration in Latin, but I often wonder the value in doing so. Since the creation of this document, Latin and ancient Greek has become unnecessary to the culture. People often ask me, "why are you studying Latin?" and often times, I don't have a legitimate answer. I just find it endlessly fascinating.

  2. Oct 2017
    1. The affectionate deportment between father & son offers, in truth, the best example for that of tutor & pupil;

      I am very fond of this mindset of relationship between student and teacher at the University. While some schools and/or methods of teaching are much more strict and fear inducing, this one wants to focus on building character in a caring and more ethical way. Fear is referred to hear as a "degrading motive", and it is good to see that the University was built on foundations other than using fear as a motivator.

    2. each of these was unexceptionable as to healthiness & fertility. It was the degree of centrality to the white population

      This is a very appalling decision making process that was used to determine the location for the University. The first two reasons for placement were rational and good qualities to have in a university setting (fertility and health). However, the third reason: "degree of centrality to the white population" was unnecessary and had no logical background. This determination was extremely unethical considering that they totally ignored the health and fertility of the locations in the end. If they were truly concerned about anything other that the white population of the area, then it would seem that they might have continued looking elsewhere to find a place that was in good health and fertility.

    3. that the condition of man cannot be ameliorated, that what has been, must ever be, and that to secure Ourselves where we are, we must tread with awfull reverence in the footsteps of Our fathers.

      It's interesting how the Report casts the "footsteps of Our fathers" in a defective light. The concept that education is never-ending, and that future generations are superior to former generations is notable. Education is accredited as being the cause of power and happiness to a nation, which I think is an accurate assessment.

    4. Signed and certified by the members present, each in his proper handwriting this 4th. day of August 1818.

      Parallels can be drawn between the Rockfish Gap Report and the Declaration of Independence though one document was created to establish a university and the other to establish a new democratic nation. Both documents were outlets in which Thomas Jefferson dictated his influence over an institution or union with the help of other renowned leaders. It is also somewhat ironic that this document was signed on August 4th, exactly one month after the Declaration was signed but 42 years later. The number of men involved in the creation of this report is significant because it reveals that extensive planning, effort, and compromise went into the establishment of the University, similar to that of the creation of the Declaration of Independence mentioned in the chapter entitled “The People” in Our Declaration. Additionally, the document provides insight into the growth of the United States and the importance of the education of men involved in civics and civic engagement. Jefferson's diplomatic and leadership skills are displayed within these two documents, proving that though he had his faults, he was an exceptional and accomplished leader for his time.

    5. And generally to form them to habits of reflection, and correct action, rendering them examples of virtue to others & of happiness within themselves.

      The Rockfish Gap Report enumerates the purposes of higher education in a broad, general sense which is unlike descriptions of collegiate education today. To us, college is the basis for future careers. The cultivation of being tends to take second precedent. Sometimes, in the thick of schedules, we forget the overarching purpose of college that is expressed by this quote. The foundations of the University were geared toward this overall cultivation rather than specification, which is a healthy reminder going forward.

    6. Medicine

      “Medicine” (under course section) Obviously medicine was essential to society during the time of the University’s founding, but practical and effective medicine in general was a concept that still wasn't mastered by many during the 1800's. Though there were only two classes to take at UVA involving medicine, it's impressive that the University strove to teach medicine to its students in the first place. The University was and is a prestigious institution that likely kept up with new medical procedures and technologies as they surfaced in the states or abroad, though money and budgeting for the medical ‘program’ appears to be an issue in this report.

      The lack of technology and resources available to UVA at the time is also a reflection of how much medicine has evolved, especially if you compare medicine of the past to the feats in medicine of today’s world. Additionally, medical practices during the time of the University's conception consisted of amputating limbs from battle wounds and performing surgeries without general anesthesia, demonstrating that though these practices appear antiquated now, they were essential to teach for the greater good of society.


    7. What, but education, has advanced us beyond the condition of our indigenous neighbours? and what chains them to their present state of barbarism & wretchedness, but a besotted veneration for the supposed supe[r]lative wisdom of their fathers and the preposterous idea that they are to look backward for better things and not forward, longing, as it should seem, to return to the days of eating acorns and roots rather than indulge in the degeneracies of civilization

      This passage uses a comparison of Jefferson and his scholars to people of lesser education in order to emphasize and exemplify the importance of learning and seeking knowledge to the advancement and progression of the human race. Jefferson is most likely referencing the Native Americans here and their traditional practices throughout daily life to explain why choosing to accept what has been taught for generations is making the wrong choice. He rather harshly pleads his desire for students and professors to go forth and challenge their ideals, propose opposing views to their own, in order to learn more about themselves and the world around them. He denounces the idea “to look backward for better things and not forward” as “preposterous” for he firmly believes in the positive outcomes of trusting the process of learning. This relates to my engagement class because we discuss topics of the New Testament, and how some things that were widely accepted as fact, such as the idea that slavery is moral, have drastically changed over time. If people never opened up to the idea that every human should be treated equally, we would still be stuck in a time where skin color was the only factor determining social status. Although true equality has not been reached, it is clear that we have made immense progress as a nation, which would not have occurred if people stuck with old thinking.

    8. arranged at proper distances on each side of a lawn of a proper breadth, & of indefinite extent in one direction at least, in each of which should be a lecturing room with from two to four apartments for the accommodation of a professor and his family: that these pavilions should be united by a range of Dormitories, sufficient each for the accommodation of two students only,

      I found it very interesting that Jefferson thought it crucial to construct the lawn and the range in the exact physical formation, “arranged at proper distances on each side of a lawn of a proper breadth, & of indefinite extent in one direction at least…”, that we see today. The equal distances and congruent structures of the lawn rooms and pavilions were most likely intended to bridge the gap between students and professors of different backgrounds. Jefferson had a larger goal in mind than just putting students at the geographic heart of the university. He wanted to create an environment where UVA students could learn from one another, broaden each other’s perspectives, and embrace new ideologies and cultures. Jefferson was trying to push traditional boundaries of his time by making UVA a place where students and professors gained experience and knowledge from one another. This type of housing accommodation was created with the intention of connecting peers on a level beyond strictly intellect. This connects back to my engagement class in the sense that when people read the Bible, they sometimes come about with radically different interpretations of the same exact verses. However, putting us all together in one class discussing the same lines helps us all gain a new perspective which we did not come in with before.