Students, alumni and friends of the University of Virginia enjoyed a night of dancing and music at the 51st Annual Restoration Ball, held March 22 under a large tent on Peabody Lawn. The black-tie affair is a spring tradition that brings together students and alumni from across the University. Sponsored by the Jefferson Literary and Debating Society, the University Guide Service and other organizations, the ball has been held annually since 1963.
This year some 800 tickets were sold for the event, which raised more than $7,000 for the Rotunda renovation project. The renovation entered the next major, two-year phase of work in May. This $42.5 million second phase includes updates to utility systems for better safety and accessibility; restoration of exterior historical features, including the column capitals; and renewal of the Rotunda’s landscape spaces. The entire renovation is funded through a combination of private philanthropy and state appropriations. Of the original $50.6 million project, $7.8 million remains to be raised.
Pippa Mason, Restoration Ball chair, found the wide-ranging community support for the Rotunda particularly inspiring. “A major goal for this year was to expand the scope of organizations that sponsor the ball,” she said. “We had a wide range of sponsors from Student Council, the LGBTQ center and the Salsa Club to the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship. We also saw large support from the Greek community, with eight fraternity and sorority sponsors. One of the great things about the Restoration Ball is that it’s open to the entire student body.”
Mason described the planning for the ball as a key part of the U.Va. student experience. “What I found really powerful about planning the ball was the level of responsibility that the University administration entrusted to me as a student,” she said. “I knew that the ball was entirely student run prior to committing to the chair position, but I was blown away by the autonomy and respect granted to me. ‘Student self-governance’ is not just a buzzword here.”
The Restoration Ball’s generous sponsors included the following organizations:
Sigma Kappa, Student Council, Gamma Phi Beta, International Relations Organization, Sigma Delta Tau, Beta Theta Pi, Sigma Nu, Salsa Club, Vietnamese Student Association, Virginia Tent Rental, University of Virginia Dining and the U.Va. Office of Advancement
College Council, InterVarsity Christian Fellowship
Chi Omega, LGBTQ Center, Sustained Dialogue, University Guide Service, Kappa Kappa Gamma, Echols Council, St. Elmo Hall and Second Year Council