Christopher Colby, a 2004 graduate of the University of Virginia School of Law, didn't have to travel far to begin his new job at the Law School, having most recently served as a development officer for the Law School Foundation. But when he did change offices, he hit the ground running.
Within days, Colby was interviewing prospective students hoping to land one of the remaining spots in the fall class and welcoming students who have elected to join the Class of 2019.
"It was a matter of less than 24 hours of being upstairs and being down here," he said. "There has been no shortage of work."
Colby joins Cordel Faulk, assistant dean and chief admissions officer, Grace Applefeld Cleveland, his fellow director, and the rest of the Admissions staff on the frontlines of fielding eager applicants. With interviews, Colby said, "You develop your own form, your own rhythm pretty quickly for how you look for a good UVA lawyer through just a few questions."
Before returning to Law School as an employee, Colby served eight years as a Navy judge advocate in the D.C. area and, afterward, ran his own law practice in Gordonsville, Virginia. Colby and his wife, Maggie, who earned her undergraduate degree from UVA in 2005, returned to the Charlottesville area because of their fond memories.
"We came back down through Central Virginia one weekend, and we had forgotten how much we loved this place and missed this place," he said.
Last year, when Colby saw a position had opened at the Law School Foundation, he was eager to apply — and, he said, happy that he did. "Working at the foundation gave me a chance to engage with the younger alumni, especially in the South — Atlanta, Charlotte and Miami," he said.
But when a position opened in Admissions, he knew he had found his "perfect fit."
Colby, a former executive editor of the Virginia Law Weekly, recently shared what makes his job great with the publication he once ran.
"You get to sell a product that can speak to its own success to an audience that wants to buy it," he told the Weekly. "It’s the most fun job in the world; it shouldn’t even be called a job. I get to speak with very enthusiastic young people who want to make change in the world for the better, not just for themselves but also for others, and for their community, and for global change. You see young people with big dreams, and here, you see those dreams ignited with the education that they need to put those dreams into action."
While Colby was in Law School, he also served as a Peer Advisor and was one of the students who helped organize the modern graduate community at the Range (the rows of housing next to the University’s Academical Village). Graduate living at the Range wasn't as organized when he lived there, he said, with some of the space going to other purposes.
"By the time I graduated, 18 months later, we had an application process where we were actively recruiting people who wanted a graduate community," he said. "We had our own budget and our own infrastructure with which to communicate to the University community — none of which we had before."
He said that's part of the beauty of the University of Virginia. It's full of students who think big, and administrators who are willing to help them achieve their visions.
Colby earned his bachelor's degree from the University of Miami in 2001. He graduated from the Naval War College in 2008.
Founded in 1819, the University of Virginia School of Law is the second-oldest continuously operating law school in the nation. Consistently ranked among the top law schools, Virginia is a world-renowned training ground for distinguished lawyers and public servants, instilling in them a commitment to leadership, integrity and community service.