Arise and Build!
The Great Fire
Alumni and Friends Respond

Letters from Alumni and Friends

The outpouring of sympathy for the University from its alumni and friends was swift. Responses varied in tone from aggrieved to shocked, but all were consistent in expressing not only sorrow for the loss, but also certainty that the University would rise above the tragedy.

  • Starling W. Childs to Mary-Stuart Smith

    "It is almost impossible to realize that the Rotunda is no more and the Lawn without it must resemble nothing so much as a body without its head."
    Text Page Images

  • Charles H. Cocke to Louise Cocke

    "I felt & feel as though a temple had been profaned. No loyal alumnus can fail to feel a personal loss."
    Text Page Images

  • James Pleasants to Francis H. Smith

    " ... we felt as if the loss of the beloved old Rotunda and Public Hall, with its priceless contents, would be the most irreparable of disasters, and saddest of blows."
    Text Page Images

  • Edmund Randolph Williams to Mary-Stuart Smith

    "So bright, however, is the prospect for speedy relief and the rebuilding of the old place that our sympathies may be turned to congratulations."
    Text Page Images