People say U.Va. is a special place—and not just because of the pristine columns and cobblestone paths. There is something about the community and the people. Here, Scholars talk about why they chose to come to Thomas Jefferson’s university.

Keaton Wadzinski

Class of 2017
Franklin, Tennessee

“Here, the dynamic of student engagement—going all the way back to Thomas Jefferson—is one that values and appreciates students as an integral part of education. We are respected. Our voices are heard. Our ideas are enabled. ‘Student self-governance’ is not just some lofty ideal we hold dear—it commands and drives U.Va.”

Marisa Reddy

Class of 2016
Cincinnati, Ohio

“U.Va. is a very good place to grow. It’s a community that I’m glad I am being influenced by—people are intelligent, kind and collaborative. I’ll always look back on my U.Va. days and realize that I changed because of the people here.”

Portner Nenon

Class of 2016
Charlotte, North Carolina

“At U.Va., being ‘involved’ is more than a buzzword. Students have the chance to craft an interdisciplinary major, found a student group or conduct research, and many use that freedom to the fullest. Remarkably, though, the busiest students are often the most willing to share a joke or stop to chat on the way to class. Balancing excellence with humility, U.Va. culture offers the chance to develop not just as a student but as a person.”



The Jefferson Scholars Foundation, like its namesake, knows that virtue and talent come from all walks of life. Indeed it is this knowledge that drives the Foundation to search the world over for its recipients.

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David and Jane Walentas

A transformational gift for UVA — $100 million to benefit first-generation students

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The Jefferson Scholarship is the premier undergraduate scholarship at the University of Virginia. Scholars are selected through a rigorous selection process that is based on exceptional performance in the areas of leadership, scholarship and citizenship.

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