The letter copied below from student leaders at Virginia Tech (sent to me by my brother Mike, another 'Hoo) makes me proud to be a graduate of the University of Virginia. Again, the younger generation teaches us that competition need not preclude compassion, that rivalries can be spirted and inspirational, that small gestures (finding candles) can be meaningful.
Thanks to all of the current students at UVA (and the administration supporting them) who, standing with their brothers and sisters at Tech in this most difficult time, have made this UVA alum stand just a bit taller, misty-eyed and all.
Letter to the Students and Administration of the University of Virginia
Date: April 17, 2007
On behalf of 30,000 students, administrators, and our Virginia Tech community, I cannot begin to express our gratitude for the outpouring of sympathy, support, and compassion UVA has shown us in the past two days.
It is an understatement to say the aftermath of our losses has been emotionally trying for us. The realization of losing 32 valuable lives in our Virginia Tech family is something that we are trying desperately to recover from...but even in the most difficult day of Virginia Tech history, we have found strength-it is your university in particular that has sustained us, far beyond what you will ever know.
We thank you for your students and faculty that gathered to memorialize our victims and to share in our sorrow.
We thank you for the initiative and commitment your student government made towards finding 30,000 candles for our grieving campus, so that our student leaders could focus on healing and comforting instead.
We thank you for the hundreds of Hokies who saw your painted bridge, and were moved to tears.
We thank you for the way your students instantly put aside our infamous rivalry to the point where the greatest measures of compassion from another institution have been from you.
Your aid has had such a profound impact upon our students. Please know what UVA is doing is being noticed, is making a difference, and is nothing short of extraordinary.
Thank you for being a testament to the best of collegiate student leadership-and to humanity in general. In what we have been calling the darkest night Virginia Tech has ever seen, you are one of our brightest lights. The strong alliance that has been formed between our school and yours is part of our foundation in moving forward.
From our hearts to yours, thank you for your noble efforts. May you also find solace and restoration as we grieve together as students and as a nation.
In or out of times of need, Virginia Tech will stand beside you as fellow students, Virginians, and most importantly, as friends.
Elizabeth Hart on behalf of Virginia Tech students
Virginia Tech Student Government Association
Director of Public Relations