UVa Rotunda

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.

Launch Photo Gallery
See the Photos from John's College Years

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.