Thirty years ago, Gregory Brown (Col ’89) became the 66th resident of 48 East. In time, he came to reflect on that life-changing experience, leading him to a greater appreciation of his brief tenure as a Lawn resident. For his 30th reunion gift, he chose to endow 48 East in perpetuity as a way to honor his sense of a shared succession—as just one of many who lived in the room before him, with many more to come.
We caught up with Brown after Reunions Weekend as he relived his memories of 48 East.
Why I Wanted to Live on the Lawn
It was not for the prestige or status. I wanted to feel a deep connection to the University and its traditions. Nothing is more emblematic of the UVA experience than living on the Lawn. In this almost mystical place, living among men and women of character and integrity, you become part of that history.
My notion of a Lawn residency was service to the community. That was the primary defining factor as I saw it. It seemed to me that service was the hallmark of most of the residents. My route to the Lawn became, then: How do I give back to the University? How will I, as a person, be judged by my acts of service? If you want to experience something, serve it.
So, why the white suit?
Here’s the story: In my second year, I ran for student council. I ended up runner-up for last place. It was a humbling experience. I was a University Guide at the time and had to give a tour the next day, so I decided to wear a white suit. I wanted to show myself that I could bounce back, stand up high, and represent the school with pride. Later, I was put in charge of a student council committee. I’m pretty sure it was one reason I ended up getting a Lawn room. So, how do you respond to an ignominious defeat? You wear a white suit and give a Lawn tour.
Endowing my Lawn room was a chance to honor those who came before as well as future generations. By contributing back, those of us who lived here can honor our experiences, our service, our being a part of that environment.
For More Information
Since their conception, Lawn rooms have been home to our accomplished students and most outstanding citizen leaders. Through the Lawn Alumni Challenge, past Lawn residents who want to preserve their rooms for the future can make a gift of any size to any part of the Jeffersonian Grounds Initiative. Lawn alumni may also make lead gifts to restore and renovate their rooms so that these historic living quarters remain part of the daily fabric of the University as safe, fully functional spaces for future residents.
For more information, contact Woody Wingfield at 434-924-0266, or firstname.lastname@example.org.