It was 1979 and my parents and I had been doing the tour of colleges for a few weeks, but as soon as I saw the University of Virginia, I knew it was the college for me. I was captivated by the charm of Charlottesville and the sense of history and living traditions of the University's founder, Thomas Jefferson. "We can stop looking now," I remember telling my folks as we strolled the grounds on that sunny day.
I applied for early admission, forsaking application to any other schools, and was accepted. It remains one of the all-time best decisions of my life and the many friends I made there starting in the fall of 1980 remain the best and closest to this day.
All first-year students were required to live in the dormitories and I was lucky enough to get into what was then referred to as one of the "new" dorms, named Tuttle. Five rooms were arranged in a suite around a common living room and bathroom, and the floors were divided by sex. Each two suites shared a common resident advisor, and our suites quickly became friends with our sister suites on the floor above.
For the remainder of my years in Charlottesville, I lived at the 1800 Jefferson Park Avenue apartments with my other roommates. Although I never pledged a fraternity, I used to hang out at the ΣΑΜ House all the time and many of the friends I regularly stay in touch with today were brothers at that fraternity.
My intent since high school was to complete the pre-med program at UVa and go from there to medical school. But I was weeded out in my third semester and decided to concentrate on my mathematics major, since I always liked math. Having showed no previous aptitude in computer programming in a course I took during a summer program at Cornell in 1979, I decided that I had better learn a thing or two about computers if I were to go this route. To my amazement, I aced my first CS course at UVa very easily, and I was in the first class in the UVa College of Arts and Sciences to graduate with a minor in the subject. The rest is history, as they say.
While at the U, I enjoyed many of the social activities available to the student body. In 1981, I served on the planning committee for the last Easters party, a monster event that substituted for a spring break at UVa. Sadly, Easters was shut down the following year since too many out-of-towners were wreaking havoc on the residents of Charlottesville, but I still have my T-shirt from that last party (don't ask me to fit into it, though). Every spring brought the Foxfield Races, a large gathering of students and local gentry as an excuse to party while watching Albemarle County's finest horse flesh race around the track. And in 1982, I dressed to the nines and attended the gala Restoration Ball after a gourmet dinner with my date at one of Charlottesville's fanciest five-star restaurants.
Speaking of fancy restaurants, you must check out the photos of the White Spot diner after which these pages are named.