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Welcome to Brown!

Brown College is a residential community of undergraduate students and faculty at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Brown's approximately 300 residents enjoy a friendly, intellectually stimulating, and socially accepting academic community.

Table of residents enjoying the February Brown Banquet.


who we are

Brown is a nationally recognized, self-governed community that accepts first-years as well as upperclassmen. Students must apply to live here, but our application is much more fun and creative than your UVA college app. If accepted, you get to live with active and caring people and attend tons of events throughout the year. Brown is especially diverse – we have actors and artists, engineers and computer scientists, philosophy and politics majors – and we do our best to make sure you fit in. Though we’re a tight-knit community, we provide an accepting and intellectually stimulating atmosphere for people of all backgrounds. There is always something going on in Brown. According to a past resident, "Brown is for the interested and interesting."

John Bonvillian

Faculty Profile

John Bonvillian

Psychology (retired)

John joined the University of Virginia faculty in 1978, and taught there until his retirement in 2015. During these years, John taught many thousands of students; most of these students were in his Introductory Psychology and Child Psychology courses. John relished his interactions with his students, and he often was most impressed by their abilities and achievements. Shortly after Brown College was established, John became a Faculty Fellow there. He greatly enjoyed his time spent with both the other fellows and students. John’s principal research interests are in the development of language and communication abilities in typically developing children and in children with disabilities. Soon after he joined the UVa faculty, John began a series of investigations that examined the early signing of infants and young children with deaf parents. In most instances, the signing children with deaf parents reached early language milestones at earlier ages than their speech-learning counterparts achieved these milestones in spoken language. These findings helped spark what became known as “baby signing.” Since 2000, John has devoted himself primarily to developing a simplified manual sign-communication system. The original goal of this system was to create a sign system that would be easier for non-speaking or severely speech-limited children to acquire. This was accomplished primarily by developing over 1800 signs that were highly iconic; that is, the signs had readily transparent meanings. Somewhat unexpectedly, these signs turned out to be excellent vehicles of instruction for students learning foreign language vocabulary. If a student pairs these iconic signs with a spoken foreign language vocabulary item, then the student is unlikely to forget that item.

Monroe Hill

A Heritage Film Project presents a film by Eduardo Montes-Bradley

“Monroe Hill” unearths the history of the site that contains the last remaining structures of the late 18th century southern plantation. These surviving structures are silent witnesses to Monroe’s struggle as a farmer and a politician from the late 1780’s until the laying of the cornerstone at the University of Virginia on October 6, 1817.

Welcome our New Principal

Brown College welcomes its new principal, Michael Chad Wellmon, and family to Monroe Hill. Chad is an associate professor of German Studies and chaired the General Education Committee that led the curriculum reform process.