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UR Defined

By Tom Nicholas

April 21, 2014

(A brief primer in University of Richmond student lingo, for new members of the Class of 2018. This list is by no means exhaustive.)

UR: The most widespread conversational abbreviation of the University’s name. “U of R” is also perfectly acceptable, as is just “Richmond” (though the latter can be difficult to differentiate from references to our namesake city). Forms generally not used include “The U of R,” “U of Richmond,” “U Richmond,” and “U Rich.” Use them at the risk of sounding outside the know. Never, ever, at any time, should you ever, ever use “Richmond University.”

PAA: Acronym for Peer Advising Associate. You’ll start hearing from your PAA in May – they’re current students who work in Academic Advising and help you over the summer as you fill out forms, pick classes, and get ready for your first semester of college. The first of many upperclassmen to welcome you to our community!

OA: Acronym for Orientation Advisor. Your OAs are rising sophomores who will be your guides through new student orientation (which, incidentally, begins on August 20). They’re great sources of advice – and often become good friends, too!

Boatwright Beach: The lawn sloping down from Boatwright Memorial Library to Westhampton Lake. Named for the hordes of students that congregate there to work, hang out, and get some sun on warm afternoons.

D-Hall: Our Heilman Dining Center serves up some of the best college food in the nation, relies increasingly on locally-sourced ingredients, and is renowned for its dessert bar. Among students, it’s known exclusively as “D-Hall.” Not “the D-Hall,” not “the dining hall,” not “the Heilman Center” or “the dining center.” Just D-Hall.

The Pier: One of many dining alternatives to D-Hall, Tyler’s Grill is located in the Commons overlooking Westhampton Lake. It’s also known by students as “the Pier” – as is the open seating space in front of it, which often becomes an event space on the weekends for concerts, comedians, movies, dance parties, and more. If you hear students mention eating at the Pier or going to an event at the Pier, they mean the first floor library-side of the Commons.

Passport: Yet another dining option, the Passport Café is located in the Carole Weinstein International Center and serves up cuisine from around the globe. Students typically refer to it simply as “Passport.”

8:15: Colloquial abbreviation for the coffee shop in the library (The 8:15 at Boatwright), serving up Starbucks coffee and a variety of other food and drink (autumn’s Spider Cider is a student favorite). When the coffee shop first opened, morning classes began at 8:15 a.m. each day. The class schedule has since changed, but the name stuck.

URWIN: Name of the secure campus wireless network (some pronounce it in two syllables, a la “irwin,” while others pronounce it in three, a la “you are win”). Richmond has been named one of the most wired campuses in the U.S., and URWIN is available almost anywhere you go on campus (including many outdoor spaces). If you hear students mention connecting to URWIN, they’re not talking about a person or a program – they’re talking about the wireless network.

Triceragoose: Name of the most ferocious waterfowl on Westhampton Lake, derived from the odd bulbous structure above his beak. Alternately known as King Duck (though that usage has declined in recent years). Watch your back.

TLC: Not the television channel (though that’s on our cable TV channel lineup, available in all residence hall rooms and classrooms); at Richmond, the TLC is the Technology Learning Center, which assists students with all technology for academic projects. Need video equipment to film a documentary? They’ve got you covered. Printing a poster to present your research at an academic conference or our annual Student Symposium? Their massive, high-pixel printers will astound you. They’ve also got highly-trained student and professional staff to assist.

The Secret Garden: Term used for several out-of-the-way walled gardens on campus. It refers most often to the Keller Garden, located behind Keller Hall next to Crenshaw Field. However, some students use the term to refer to the Chapel Garden (or Columbarium, adjacent to Canon Memorial Chapel), or even the Garden of the Five Lions.

Garden of the Five Lions: A sunken garden/courtyard next to Weinstein Hall. There are, indeed, five lions hidden within it – trying to find them all as you pass through is a common first-year pastime.

Gotty: Colloquial term for the Gottwald Center for the Sciences. Used most often by natural science majors, who tend to view Gottwald as a second home on campus (and spend loads of time there, given how much research they do in addition to classes).

RVA: Shorthand term for Richmond, Virginia. You’ll see RVA stickers on bikes, cars, and instrument cases all over town. Richmonders are proud of their city, and with good reason: RVA was recently named one of Frommer’s’ Top Destinations for 2014 – in the world – for its history, culture, outdoors opportunities, and up-and-coming food scene. As Frommer’s put it, “While you weren’t looking, Richmond got cool.”

Carytown: Richmond neighborhood that students frequent most often when they want to get off campus for fun. Ten blocks along Cary Street feature more than 250 locally-owned restaurants and shops, ranging from fine French dining to cheap burger joints, from upscale retail to great thrift shopping, from bike repair shops to a fully-restored 1927 movie palace that shows second-run films for $1.99.

Pony Pasture: A park on the James River, about one mile from campus. Students visit Pony Pasture most often on weekend afternoons – it’s a great place to study, sun, hang out, and rock-hop (when the water level is low) in the beautiful, rugged nature that makes the city of Richmond a top destination for outdoors enthusiasts.

Tags: Why Richmond? Around Campus

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Tom NicholasTom Nicholas
Senior Assistant Director of Admission 


A Richmond alumnus (Class of 2007), Tom has been working and blogging for the Office of Admission since he graduated. He loves his alma mater and the city that shares its name.

Learn more about Tom


Beth Anne SpachtBeth Anne Spacht
Admission Counselor


Beth Anne was a double major at Richmond (English and Latin American & Iberian Studies) and now enjoys helping prospective students discover the best of her alma mater.

Learn more about Beth Anne

The University of Richmond is a highly ranked liberal arts university offering an extraordinary combination of the liberal arts with law, business, leadership studies, and continuing education. The university is consistently named a best value in higher education by leading publications.

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