Shaun (Col ’77) & Foster (Col ’76) Duncan
Shaun is involved with the Preservation Resource Center, Longue Vue House and Gardens, and Parks For All in New Orleans, and the Washington-based Cultural Landscape Foundation.
Foster is active with the Nature Conservancy of Louisiana, the Lafitte Greenway, Parks For All, and the national advisory board of the Jefferson Scholars Foundation.
A mutual interest in cultural heritage is second nature to this husband and wife team from New Orleans. For Shaun and Foster Duncan, JGI Board co-chairs, it all starts with loyalty to the University and a love of its Jeffersonian architecture.
Why are you interested in the Jeffersonian Grounds Initiative?
“We find it an intellectual exercise to be involved in the ongoing interpretation of the buildings and the Grounds—in the stories still being revealed and contemporary methods of restoration and maintenance,” Shaun said.
What are the greatest challenges—and rewards—of board service?
“Board members accept the challenge to raise funds and match resources with preservation needs,” said Foster. “If you consider the daily pressure placed on the Jeffersonian Grounds—with its 17 historic structures, 103 student rooms, and 40 acres of gardens and landscape—you’ll understand the nature of the challenge.
“It’s a delight to work with the mighty triumvirate of Alice Raucher [architect for the University], Brian Hogg [senior historic preservation planner], and Mary Hughes [University landscape architect] from the Office of the Architect for the University,” Shaun added.
What are your favorite Jeffersonian spaces at UVA?
“My favorite places are the pavilion gardens,” said Shaun. “They’re cultural landscapes. They vividly portray our interaction with the land, from early uses to house animals and grow food, to more ornamental plantings, to the varied landscape styles of the gardens’ designs and redesigns. They tell a myriad of stories.”
“It is almost impossible not to include the Rotunda when thinking about the University,” added Foster. “The Rotunda is the center of the University, and it manifests Jefferson’s ideal of ‘authority of nature and power of reason.’ ”
How do you envision the Academical Village in 100 years?
“Its significance and relevance will remain,” said Foster, “revealing the principles on which the University was founded. I believe time will uncover more layers and perspectives on UVA’s inextricable link to the beginning of democracy in this country.”