Truly a Treasure - Giving to UVA

Truly a

S uzy Buenaventura is floating on air. The former resident of 12 East Lawn knew that there were many pressing renovation needs for the Academical Village, but she was unsure exactly how she could help.

After considering her options she decided to sponsor her Lawn room for restoration through a major gift to the Lawn Alumni Challenge. “I never dreamed that we’d have this type of opportunity to give back to UVA,” she said. “I’m still amazed at how wonderful it feels.”

Living on the Lawn was the most amazing experience. It was truly a gift. I think about it every day.”

—Dr. Susan Buenaventura (Col ’80)

While the room interiors need relatively light maintenance work, the masonry, roofs, walkways, and colonnades surrounding them need extensive repairs. Buenaventura’s gift is ensuring that these historic living quarters remain a part of the daily fabric of the University for future Lawn residents.

“I don’t know a single person who lived on the Lawn who didn’t treasure that experience,” she said. “You can’t just enjoy it and walk away.”

She recalls the good times she had during her year on the Lawn. “We had a tradition where people would run along the roofs and dump oranges through your chimney in the middle of the night. In the morning, you’d have soot and dirty oranges in your fireplace. We also had something called the Sleep-In, where we’d all carry our beds outside and spend the night on the Lawn, like a big slumber party. “I was a pre-med student and my studies were stressful, but whenever I was at my wit’s end, all I had to do was step outside my door and look at the Rotunda and it was like looking at heaven,” she recalled.

As UVA prepares for its bicentennial, there are wonderful opportunities to reimagine the Lawn. The Lawn Alumni Challenge recognizes our obligation to preserve this site for the University, the Commonwealth of Virginia, and future generations.

Gifts of all sizes to the Lawn Alumni Challenge can be credited to your Lawn room, and there are many other opportunities to give, including:

  • Renovating pavilions and hotels along the Lawn and Ranges
  • Repairing the beautiful, but badly eroded colonnades of the Lawn and Ranges
  • Caring for the historic pavilion gardens, serpentine walls, and alleys

Learn more:

Jeffersonian Grounds Initiative      

Woody Wingfield
434.924.4780 |