Sunday, October 17, 2010

Mr. Jefferson

It is currently my fall break, and I decided to make a trip from Michigan down to the University of Virginia, where I did my undergrad.  Never would I have ever predicted the thought "Oh thank god, West Virginia" would cross my mind, but man, after driving through Ohio, it's a welcome relief!  It's actually a really pretty state to drive through, and I do miss being around mountains.  Also, I was out of Ohio.  Not sure I can emphasize that point enough.

But given how long my last post was and in honor of being back in the lovely Charlottesville, VA, I figured today I would keep things short and talk about one of my favorite facts regarding the University and its founder, Thomas Jefferson.

I love Thomas Jefferson.  I don't think you can go to UVA without loving Thomas Jefferson.  We're kind of obsessed.  The man was a genius.  He was good at everything, from farming to creating a country.  How many people can say that?

One thing he did toward the end of his life was design his own gravestone and epitaph, choosing to highlight just three of his many accomplishments.  The stone, which is still in excellent condition in his family cemetery at Monticello, reads:

"Here was buried Thomas Jefferson, author of the Declaration of American Independence, of the Statute of Virginia for Religious Freedom, and father of the University of Virginia."

Of everything he had done in his life, including being President and Vice-President of the United States, Governor of Virginia, and initiator of the Lewis and Clark Expedition, he felt these three things were most important.  To me, this says a lot about where he placed his priorities.

Just a little something I've always found interesting, especially considering he insisted before his death that these three things and "not a word more" be inscribed on his tombstone.

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