Over the course of nearly four decades, the Jefferson Scholars Foundation has developed an excellent track record of identifying and recruiting outstanding students, both undergraduate and graduate, to Grounds. In 2012 the Foundation moved to further serve the University by launching the Jefferson Scholars Foundation Chaired Professorship Program. This move is an extension of the Foundation’s mission to serve the University by identifying, attracting, and nurturing individuals of extraordinary intellectual range and depth whose contribution and leadership will enhance the University community.

Since the inception of the Program five years ago, the Foundation has established a series of $5 million Chaired Professorships designed to help the president and her academic team attract some of the world’s most outstanding professors to U.Va. To date, the Foundation has raised more than $45 million for this effort and has established partnerships with the College of Arts & Sciences, the Darden School of Business, the Law School, and the School of Medicine.  

In February 2017, the Foundation announced, after an extensive national search, that the Paul T. Jones Jefferson Scholars Foundation Professorship will be held by Jianhua “JC” Cang (pictured below), a renowned neurobiology professor from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois. Professor Cang began work at the University of Virginia in the fall of 2017 and is helping to lead the University’s brain-science research efforts. Currently there are searches underway for the holders of three other Chaired Professorships, and the Foundation expects to announce the next selected candidate within the next 12 to18 months.

The University and the Foundation expect the holders of the Chaired Professorships to be:

  • Nationally and internationally recognized scholars and leaders
  • Superior classroom teachers who are eager to engage with students
  • Dynamic lecturers
  • Leading-edge researchers in their fields
  • Willing to participate actively in the Jefferson Scholars Foundation community by serving on Foundation selection committees, attending Foundation events, and helping the Jefferson Scholars Foundation recruit Scholars and Fellows
  • Individuals whose presence on the faculty will help attract other outstanding colleagues to U.Va.
  • Individuals who embrace interdisciplinary collaboration and recognize its value to the creation of new knowledge
  • Active in, and involved citizens of, the University community



The Jefferson Fellowship is the premier graduate fellowship offered at the University of Virginia. Based solely on merit, the Fellowship seeks to attract Ph.D. and M.B.A. candidates.

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The Jefferson Scholarship is the premier undergraduate scholarship at the University of Virginia. Scholars are selected through a rigorous selection process that is based on exceptional performance in the areas of leadership, scholarship and citizenship.

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The Jefferson Scholars Foundation, like its namesake, knows that virtue and talent come from all walks of life. Indeed it is this knowledge that drives the Foundation to search the world over for its recipients.

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