The 2019 Recipient
Community Bridge-Builder Wins UVA’s Coveted Sky Alland Scholarship
Charlottesville, VA — J. Thomas Villalobos Roberts (Col ’20), who has helped heal lingering community divisions following the tragic events of August 2017, has won the Sky Alland Scholarship. It’s one of the University of Virginia’s highest student honors, which this spring marked its 25th anniversary.
The award, which covers the next academic year’s full tuition and fees, recognizes a rising fourth-year (UVA parlance for a rising college senior) who embodies enterprise, leadership, achievement, humility and devotion to UVA. Roberts rose to the top of an especially competitive field in a multistep selection process conducted by peers, the dean of students, and distinguished alumni, many of them past recipients.
Since May 2018, Roberts has worked with the New Vinegar Hill Project in downtown Charlottesville, furthering its mission to ensure financial literacy, affordable housing, and business opportunity within the local African-American Community. A dual Economics and Foreign Affairs major in the College, he worked on the project as a research fellow in UVA’s Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy.
New Vinegar Hill is one of several high-intensity commitments Roberts has made to the University and the community. As a University Guide tour leader, he developed a University history class for some 45 students. He volunteers at Madison House, UVA’s community service hub; serves as the managing editor of Seriatim, a student journal of American politics; and serves as a support officer in UVA’s student-run Honor System, investigating cases and advising accused students as needed.
Roberts performs piano in collegiate-judged competitions. He has proficiency in Spanish, Portuguese and Farsi.
“For 25 years now we’ve recognized an impressive and diverse succession of students. They’ve all made a difference to the University and then gone on to even greater accomplishments beyond UVA,” says Sky Alland board chair Kent Sullivan (Col ’78, Law ’82). “Thomas exemplifies that legacy and the spirit of the award, both in his enterprising spirit and in his humility. We couldn’t be prouder of his selection.”
The scholarship’s can-do, all-in selection criteria take their inspiration from namesake J. Schuyler Alland, a 1979 graduate of the Commerce School and entrepreneur who built a successful national marketing research company before he was killed in 1992.
For further information, contact:
Director, Scholarships, Endowments and Awards
UVA Alumni Association