6 Matching Annotations
  1. Dec 2017
    1. These are the objects of that higher grade of education, the benefits & blessings of which the legislature now propose to provide for the good & ornament of their country the gratification & happiness of their fellow citizens, of the parent especially & his progeny on which all his affections are concentrated.

      This statement implies that education is the path to happiness for the individual and success for the country. It reveals how the commissioners considered education to be one of, if not the most, important parts of life. This is perpetuated by the Rotunda, a library, being the center of Grounds rather than a church, as was customary at the time. This university was truly founded on the pursuit of knowledge for the improvement of the individual and the world.

    2. To develope the reasoning faculties of our youth, enlarge their minds cultivate their morals, & instil into them the precepts of virtue & order. To enlighten them with mathematical and physical sciences which advance the arts & administer to the health, the subsistence & comforts of human life: And generally to form them to habits of reflection, and correct action, rendering them examples of virtue to others & of happiness within themselves.

      The goals for the university outlined here remind me a lot of the engagement program. My own interpretation of the purpose of this program is to encourage us to open our minds and allow us to see the world for what it is. To instill in us stronger senses of morality and curiosity, and to encourage us to look at the world analytically, not taking everything at face value. In this way the engagements program reflects and furthers the goals of the commissioners for the university as a whole.

    3. And, in general, to observe with intelligence & faithfulness all the social relations under which he shall be placed.

      I think that, in many ways, one of the main purposes of a college education is to teach students about the world and about how to interact with people who are different from you. While the university was founded as a white-only organization, this statement highlights the importance of being able to function in different settings. Knowing how to do this and how to get along with all kinds of people is an important skill that will serve you well throughout life. We have seen this become an ever more important lesson of college as our campus has diversified.

    4. To understand his duties to his neighbours, & country, and to discharge with competence the functions confided to him by either.

      This goal of the university reflects the importance the founders of America placed on the education level of those participating in politics. This was, after all, the original cause for the creation of the electoral college; the founding fathers were afraid the general public would not be educated enough to make proper decisions, so installed a sort of buffer made up of educated individuals. The importance of education level in politics is highlighted by this statement from the commissioners, in which they stated their intention for the university to educate its students and make them able to perform their civic duty to their country.

  2. Oct 2017
    1. This doctrine is the genuine fruit of the alliance between church and State, the tenants of which, finding themselves but too well in their present position, oppose all advances which might unmask their usurpations, and monopolies of honors, wealth and power, and fear every change, as endangering the comforts they now hold.

      While at first read this sentence appears to express that the plan for the university was to be based on the alliance of church and state. Upon closer analysis (and remembering Jefferson's stance on separation of church and state), it is clear that this statement refers to how the alliance of church and state actually prevents the pursuit of knowledge. It emphasizes how this alliance prevents the discovery of knowledge that goes against anything it believes. This further highlights Jefferson's commitment to separating his school from the church, and provides some of his reasoning for doing so.

    2. In conformity with the principles of our constitution, which places all sects of religion on an equal footing, with the jealousies of the different sects in guarding that equality from encroachment & surprise, and with the sentiments of the legislature in favor of freedom of religion manifested on former occasions, we have proposed no professor of Divinity; and tho rather, as the proofs of the being of a god, the creator, preserver, & supreme ruler of the universe, the author of all the relations of morality, & of the laws & obligations these infer, will be within the province of the professor of ethics;

      Placing these areas under the ethics department emphasizes Jefferson's intention for the University of Virginia to be a place centered around open and free thought. It goes along with his decision to have the Rotunda as the focal point of the campus - a place of learning rather than a chapel, which was typical of campuses at the time. This was Jefferson's way of keeping the focus away from religion and focused on knowledge.