The Colonnade Club
UVA Bicentennial Celebratory Program for 2015-2020 

An ad hoc Club committee has been planning events beginning in 2015 through 2020 to recognize the formal founding of the University of Virginia. In addition to the Club’s traditional Cornerstone Celebration, two or three additional Bicentennial events will occur each year. The aim is to engage the membership and the broader community in our Club’s celebration while working in concert with the University.

Schedule of Events

Bicentennial Events from the Past Two Years

April 23rd, 2018 Lecture:  Elizabeth Chew, “The Material World of Dolley Madison” Recording of this lecture can be viewed at:https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=seEmCCmMyUo&t=284s – From ice cream to snack cakes, Dolley Madison is credited for her hospitality, personal charm, and “invention” of the role of First Lady. At Montpelier and in Washington, Dolley Madison used fashion, domestic interiors, and food in the service of her and her husband’s political goals. In this talk, Elizabeth Chew, Vice President for Museum Programs at Montpelier, considers how Dolley Madison’s material knowledge contributed to one of the most famous partnerships in American history.

Elizabeth Chew is Vice President for Museum Programs at Montpelier, where she oversees the Curatorial, Education, Archaeology, Preservation, and Research departments. An art historian, she holds a B.A. from Yale, an M.A. from the Courtauld Institute of the University of London and a Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She has worked at museums and historic sites since 1985. As curator at Monticello for thirteen years, she was instrumental in expanding interpretation to include women, domestic work, and slavery. She curated the exhibition “‘To Try All Things’: Monticello as Experiment” in the David M. Rubenstein Visitor Center and was co-curator, with Rex Ellis of the National Museum of African American History and Culture, of the exhibition Slavery at Jefferson’s Monticello: Paradox of Liberty, which was on view in Washington and traveled to Atlanta, St., Louis, and Philadelphia. Before joining the team at Montpelier, she was Betsy Main Babcock Director of the Curatorial and Education Division at Reynolda House Museum of American Art in Winston-Salem, N.C. She has taught art history at the University of Virginia, James Madison University, Wake Forest University, and Davidson College and published and lectured widely on ways that art and architectural patronage relate to gender, race, and family politics.

Thursday, April 12, 2018 Private Tour: Guy Wilson, Architectural Historian and Commonwealth Professor in Architectural History, “From the Ground Up: Thomas Jefferson’s Architecture and Design” – One of Thomas Jefferson’s most important legacies was his role as a designer and advocate for the creation of an iconic architectural identity for our fledgling country that still endures today. Jefferson’s architectural vision for the United States will be explored in a special exhibition, curated by Richard Guy Wilson, Commonwealth Professor of Architectural History. Thomas Jefferson’s Architecture & Design  investigates and illuminates Jefferson’s many architectural accomplishments, as well as the classical tradition to which his architecture was aligned. The exhibition consists of drawings, prints, paintings, photographs and building and construction artifacts, among other archival materials.

March 28th, 2018 Lecture: Louis Nelson, “The University of Virginia: Revolutionary Intentions and Landscapes of
The University of Virginia is—together with Monticello—righty recognized by UNESCO as a World Heritage site. As the final chapter in his career as both a revolutionary thinker and architect, Jefferson materialized in this place his revolutionary ideas and ideals for shaping a new nation and educating a body politic. But as a product of its place and time, UVA was also a landscape of slavery. This talk integrates these two realities into a single interwoven and complicated place and introduces some of the most recent research and digital tools being used to better understand the place of slavery in the everyday life of this university.

Louis P. Nelson, Vice Provost for Academic Outreach, is the primary advocate and representative for community engagement, public service, and academic outreach programs across the university. UVA’s work in these areas takes place in Charlottesville, across the Commonwealth, the nation and the globe. Community Engagement includes a robust curricular program grounded in community partnerships and a commitment to the education of students for socially responsible, engaged citizenship. Public Service takes place in a variety of ways across the university from health clinics to K-12 programs to expert advice to local and state governments.

In his role as Vice Provost, Nelson serves as the chief advisor to the executive vice president and provost on all academic matters relating to community engagement and public service and he oversees numerous related academic units at the University including the Weldon Cooper Center for Public Service, the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, the Center for Liberal Arts, and the Virginia College Advising Corps. Nelson is also a Professor of Architectural History and a specialist in the built environments of the early modern Atlantic world, with published work on the American South, the Caribbean, and West Africa. His current research engages the spaces of enslavement in West Africa and in the Americas, where he is working to document and interpret the buildings and landscapes that shaped the trans-Atlantic slave trade. He has a second collaborative project working to understand the University of Virginia as a landscape of slavery. His current work to document and preserve spaces of enslavement in Africa has led to his work in partnership with Sites of Conscience at the House of the Slaves in Senegal. He is also coeditor of a forthcoming volume on the spaces of slavery at Thomas Jefferson’s Academical Village and has been a vocal supporter of the initiative to erect a monument to the University’s enslaved populations. He is also a celebrated teacher, having won a university-wide teaching award in 2007 and serving as the 2008 UVA nominee for a state-wide Outstanding.

February 20th, 2018 Lecture: President Sullivan, “Anti-Intellectualism and the Public University”. Recording of this lecture can be viewed at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_yhCBAJeres&t=3s . Lecture from President Sullivan on how strains of anti-intellectualism in American culture intersect and often conflict with the role of the nation’s universities, with special attention to the role of public universities. The distinctions in universities between being elite and being elitist, among other topics related to the relationship between anti-intellectualism and academic excellence.
November 14, 2018 and January 25, 2018:  Painting of a Historical Event – The Placing of UVA’s Cornerstone, 1817: Lecture by fine arts expert Tim O’Kane, a celebrated painter and lifelong Virginian. An expert in still-life and realism, O’Kane is sharing his expertise on painting historical events.

October 6, 2017: Bicentennial Commemoration Events

A Historical Perspective to the Laying of the Cornerstone* – Monroe Hill

A Tribute to the Laying of the Cornerstone* – The Lawn by Pavilion VII

“A History of the University in 100 Objects” Exhibit Talk by Brendan Wolfe*
 Special Collections Auditorium
Co-curator Brendan Wolfe, author of Mr. Jefferson’s Telescope (UVA Press, summer 2017.)

A Bicentennial Launch Celebration
 A multimedia celebration of the University’s heritage and future with an awe-inspiring spectacle featuring performers from UVA and beyond.

February 2017 Event: Student Bicentennial Presentation
UVA students Megan Friedman and Murray Craven Baxter will present on the early foundations of the University. These foundations continue to make their mark today. Discover the classical influences in UVA’s architectural style by exploring Thomas Jefferson’s references to the Renaissance architect Andrea Palladio. Then, learn about early student societies at UVA, and reflect on how they formed the basis for present-day student groups.

October 2016 Lecture: “Slaves and Slavery in the Academical Village” by Professor Kirt Von Daacke
The Colonnade Club was honored to host guest lecturer Dr. Kirt von Daacke, co-chair of the UVA President’s Commission on Slavery and the University, as well as published author of Freedom Has a Face: Race, Identity, and Community in Jefferson’s Albemarle. Dr. von Daacke’s research centers upon social constructions of race, community social hierarchies, and identity in eighteenth and nineteenth century America. His lecture covered the complex racial dynamics that were in play during the earliest years of the University.

You can find more information on the President’s Commision on Slavery on their website. A Visitor’s Guide on slavery at the university can be found here.

October 2016 Cornerstone Commemoration
Our featured speaker Leslie Greene Bowman, President of the Thomas Jefferson Foundation, celebrated the University’s prestigious heritage with us at our Cornerstone Commemoration. Thomas Jefferson’s dream was for the University of Virginia to be one of the United States’ best institutes of higher education. Two centuries and one UNESCO World Heritage Site later, UVA has exceeded his expectations. The Colonnade Club is proud to call Jefferson’s beloved Lawn, and the first-ever pavilion, our home. The laying of Pavilion VII’s cornerstone was attended by no less than three U.S. presidents: Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, and James Monroe.

May 2016 Event: New Cornerstone for the University
In February, the students of the School of Architecture at UVa presented on the potential of a new cornerstone and ceremony to commemorate the bicentennial of the first cornerstone for the University. Alexander Kitchin and his students presented again on this exciting project and how it has progressed since their last discussion in February. Currently adjunct faculty at the University of Virginia School of Architecture, Alexander teaches a design process that investigates the character inherent in materials and how the process of making informs the spaces we design. His studios are part of the Design Thinking Concentration with an emphasis on community engagement and on the skills inherent in the architect’s critical thinking approach. His research includes a hands-on approach to architecture through the active fabrication shop. He has taught, visited and lectured at schools across the country and abroad in architectural design, fabrication, theory, and photography.

April 2016 Event: Thomas Jefferson in Paris: Concert & Reception
The evening started with refreshments and hors d’oeuvres Parisian style in company of Bill Barker as Thomas Jefferson, followed by a 60 minute violin and harpsichord performance by David Sariti and Jonathan Schakel. It included works for violin and harpsichord, and harpsichord alone, with all the music either from Jefferson’s collection or what he might have heard while he lived in Paris between 1784-1789. Composers included Viotti, the Italian violin virtuoso who was in Paris at the time, Claude Balbastre, who was Martha’s harpsichord teacher, and others.

February 2016 Event: New Cornerstone for the University
The students of the School of Architecture at UVa, in collaboration with the Colonnade Club, are exploring the potential of a new cornerstone and ceremony to commemorate the bicentennial of the first cornerstone for the University. Alexander Kitchin explained this fascinating project and his work on the investigation of the timeless and intimate relationships between materials, spaces and people. Currently adjunct faculty at the University of Virginia School of Architecture, Alexander teaches a design process that investigates the character inherent in materials and how the process of making informs the spaces we design. His studios are part of the Design Thinking Concentration with an emphasis on community engagement and on the skills inherent in the architect’s critical thinking approach. His research includes a hands-on approach to architecture through the active fabrication shop. He has taught, visited and lectured at schools across the country and abroad in architectural design, fabrication, theory, and photography.

Kickoff Event: Thomas Jefferson Retirement Series
November 12, 2015
Guest Speaker: J. Jefferson Looney
Editor, Thomas Jefferson Papers, Retirement Years
Academy to College to University: The Pre-History of the University of Virginia
This was inaugural event of the five year Program, led by esteemed guest speaker. J. Jefferson Looney, PhD, Editor of the Papers of Thomas Jefferson, The Retirement Series. Mr. Looney described activities of Mr. Jefferson and events that culminated in the Academical Village and the founding of the University of Virginia.