The University of Virginia’s Center for Politics is looking to raise $30 million dollars in the Bicentennial fundraising that is set to occur over the next three years. Renowned politics professor Larry Sabato has kicked off his campaign by personally donating $2 million to the cause.
The campaign comes as a way to celebrate the University’s 200 year anniversary and begin the next century of the University’s history on a positive note.
The relatively new Politics Department, only 18-years-old, is a rather small one. With an expanding staff, increasing numbers of students pursuing majors in Political Studies, and growing breadth of programs for students, the Center for Politics is in need of an update.
Larry Sabato believes that some of the required facilities, such as an auditorium and a library, are only a few of the needs the Center of Politics lacks, which is why Sabato decided to take the first step.
“I thought it might help to show how much I believe in what we are doing to improve civic education,” Sabato said in regards to his $2 million donation.
The University of Virginia’s Center of Politics does not only impact the lives of the faculty and students that attend the school; its influence also spans nationally with programs such as the Youth Leadership Initiative, which helps nearly 100,000 elementary and secondary school teachers, and PBS documentaries on political topics.
The Center of Politics also has influence internationally with the Global Perspectives on Democracy program that brings bright young people to Charlottesville from over 30 countries to learn about the U.S. governing system.
These programs have all been made possible with few resources and funding, and Sabato believes that “we need to endow these projects to preserve them for the future.” Not only will the donations be used to preserve current programs, but they will also be funding new projects, such as student real-world internships for students.
Sabato’s entire campaign is dedicated to bringing the much needed attention to politics. He wants to encourage students to pursue politics, especially those who do not trust the American political system. “I think it’s those moments – when we dislike what we see or feel the need to look away – that politics needs the most attention,” Sabato said.
Proessor Sabato made it clear that his priority are new and current students.
“I always say, no part of a great university is complete without students in the hallways!” Sabato said, “We want the students at Thomas Jefferson’s University to find the Center, and by extension, government and politics, to be exciting and intriguing.”
Overall, Sabato just wants to continue Thomas Jefferson’s legacy.
“[Thomas Jefferson] founded the University on an enduring faith that the new American Republic could survive so long as its governance was grounded in an educated and well-informed citizenry,” Sabato said, “We take seriously our responsibility to teach and help build the next generation of strong, ethical leaders, and to encourage people of all ages to be actively engaged in politics and government.”
For more information about the campaign and to make a donation, please contact the University of Virginia’s Office of Development.