UVA Darden Dean Scott Beardsley: We Stand United With France

18 November 2015

University of Virginia Darden School of Business Dean Scott Beardsley honored the victims of the recent terrorist attacks in Paris at a 17 November vigil on UVA Grounds, vowing to uphold the universal bonds of liberty and equality during a tumultuous time.

A transcript of Beardsley’s remarks follows.

I speak at tonight’s Vigil in Remembrance concerning the despicable terrorist attacks in Paris on Friday night. Most of the innocent victims were in a French concert hall, shot in the back, while watching an American rock band play. UVA has alumni, students, faculty, staff and administration who are French citizens. An even greater percentage of our community study in or travel to Paris or France. At this time it appears that all of our community members are accounted for, although we are following up on all alumni and community families.

As you probably know, my wife, children and I are all French citizens and speak French at home. We too have family in Paris. They are all okay but shaken, like many of us here. All were deeply troubled Friday evening as we — and the rest of the world — watched the horrifying events unfold in Paris. We were further chagrined to learn that several of the terrorists organized their activities in Brussels, our home of 24 years until July when we moved here. I think I speak for us all when I say that the victims, and the University of Virginia French community, are in our thoughts at this troubling time.

This weekend, President Teresa Sullivan wrote to the University of Virginia community to request that, in the wake of the tragedy, we all come together with a “renewed commitment to respect and care for one another as we know we should.” I join her in that commitment. It is a reminder that we can never take for granted our quality of life and freedom in the large and complex world in which you — the students and future leaders of this world — are being groomed to lead.

The French values of “liberté, égalité, fraternité” (liberty, equality, fraternity) are universal. France gave the United States the Statue of Liberty, a beacon of hope to all in the world. Thomas Jefferson was a Francophile who lived in France and was close friends with the Marquis de Lafayette, who visited Grounds. The Academical Village itself that we stand in was inspired by French architecture and culture.

In the face of adversity and terrorism, let us show dignity and fraternity. Like in the book The Grinch Who Stole Christmas, let us be like the Hoos in Hooville who continued to sing despite having all of their presents stolen. Tonight, let it be known that the Hoos in Charlottesville stand united with France and Paris during this difficult time. Let us carry forward the light of the torch of the Statue of Liberty in our hearts.

When we observe one minute of silence, let it be not only out of respect for France, the innocent victims, and their families, but also out of resolve that we will not kowtow to terror. For that minute, we at UVA are all French; nous sommes tous français.

About the University of Virginia Darden School of Business

The University of Virginia Darden School of Business delivers the world’s best business education experience to prepare entrepreneurial, global and responsible leaders through its MBA, Ph.D., MSBA and Executive Education programs. Darden’s top-ranked faculty is renowned for teaching excellence and advances practical business knowledge through research. Darden was established in 1955 at the University of Virginia, a top public university founded by Thomas Jefferson in 1819 in Charlottesville, Virginia.


Press Contact

Sophie Zunz
Director of Media Relations
Darden School of Business
University of Virginia