As‘s last major contribution to American public life, the University of Virginia combined his deepest civic and personal passions: democracy, , and the dissemination of knowledge. Springing from concepts developed in his early years as a politician and gentleman architect, Jefferson’s design for the university, which he called the “Academical Village,” was a large, complicated composition based in the rules and monuments of classical architecture. Tightly organized around a U-shaped, terraced lawn with a library at its head, Jefferson’s university combined faculty and student housing, classrooms, dining halls, and utility spaces into a relatively self-sustaining complex. Understood even by its founder as a place that would have to adapt to changing needs and a growing population, the university was amended and reconsidered throughout the nineteenth century, until a massive fire in 1895 allowed for a substantial reorientation of Jefferson’s initial vision by the New York architecture firm of McKim, Mead, and White. Over the course of the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, however, attempts to alter and preserve the Academical Village have been far more cautious.