The University of Virginia is distinctive among institutions of higher education. Founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819, the University sustains the ideal of developing, through education, leaders who are well-prepared to help shape the future of the nation and the world. The University is public, while nourished by the strong support of its alumni. It is also selective; the students who come here have been chosen because they show the exceptional promise Jefferson envisioned. The Academical Village designed by Thomas Jefferson was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1987 along with Jefferson’s home at Monticello. Nearly 200 years after Jefferson first articulated his plans, the Academical Village remains a vital part of student life at the University.
Named in honor of Princess Charlotte, the wife of George III, Charlottesville was settled in the 18th century on a hill overlooking the Rivanna River. Today the city has a population of more than 42,000 with a metropolitan population nearing 200,000. Charlottesville offers a unique combination of natural beauty, rich historical and cultural attractions, and close proximity to both a national park and the nation's capitol. Charlottesville consistently earns high marks as a desirable place to live.