Students are drawn to UVA by the opportunity to learn and discover. Activities beyond the classroom—competing with the Climbing Team, rehearsing with the AcHOOstics, attending Black Fridays at the Luther Porter Jackson Black Cultural Center, or volunteer trail building at a state park with the Virginia Woodsmen—allow students to shape a UVA experience uniquely suited to their passions. Key to the breadth and variety of extracurricular activities is the support of the Parents Fund, comprised of annual gifts from parents and distributed under the direction of the Parents Fund Executive Committee.
To participate fully in academic and extracurricular life on Grounds, a student must be feeling well. Parents know this, which is why they are taking the lead in funding construction of the new Student Health & Wellness Center.
The four-story, sunlit building—projected to be completed in 2021—will host educational and research activities as well as clinical spaces and a retail pharmacy. It is part of an overall transformation of Brandon Avenue into a walkable, park-like Green Street landscape connecting the School of Medicine, South Lawn, and historic Grounds. Preventative and wellness care will be at the heart of the center.
A leadership perspective and a personal experience inspired Victoria (Col ’86) and Drew Harker’s gift to the Student Health & Wellness Center. Victoria Harker, a member of the Board of Visitors (BOV) from 2012 to 2016, explained, “As the former chair of the BOV’s Finance Committee, I very enthusiastically supported the development of the new UVA Student Health & Wellness Center, which will provide an even wider array of critical mental and physical support services for our students. As the parent of three Hoos, the eldest of whom had a sudden life-threatening medical crisis during his fourth year, I became even more keenly aware of the need for significant investment in health care support for UVA’s students. I could not be more proud of the work that has been done by Student Affairs to date to make this vision a reality and look forward to seeing the Student Health & Wellness Center come on line in the near future.”
Personal and professional perspectives also motivated Parents Fund Executive Committee members Lesley and David Koeppel’s support for the project. “As a parent, I know the importance of having peace of mind when our children are away from home and get sick. The Student Health & Wellness Center gives us that peace of mind,” said Lesley Koeppel. “As a therapist, I appreciate that UVA is recognizing the mental health needs of students and making this enormous effort to support students’ mental health and well-being by expanding this way. Having seen the plans for the new center, I am comforted to know that it will be a place to help students in a beautiful and welcoming way. Whether they come into the building for counseling, medical issues, education and information, or overall health and wellness, students will feel comfortable inside.”
Parents Fund Executive Committee members Anna and Jim Garabaldi’s gift to the center recognizes the potential-unlocking importance of good health: “We couldn’t be more excited about the new Student Health & Wellness Center. It will elevate the UVA student experience by ensuring access for all students to the health and wellness tools needed for an optimal student experience. A happy and healthy UVA student is one who will be poised for full engagement and success while at UVA and beyond—and a student who can achieve their highest potential while at UVA. It’s the icing on an already amazing multi-layer UVA cake!”
Leadership gifts from the following current and former Parents Committee members will also help build the center: Michelle and John Binnie, Victoria and Mark Collins, Laura and Roger Lavan, Amy Dana and Joseph Profaci, and Ann and Douglas Smith.
The Student Health & Wellness Center will also receive $500,000 from the Parents Fund. “Our mission is to enhance the student experience,” said Jeff Boyd, director of development for parent giving, “The new Student Health & Wellness Center is at the heart of that.”