Nancy at the University of Virginia

‘I am So, So, Very, Very Jewish:’ The Time My Heritage Went South

This piece is part of Moment Memoir, expanding the conversation through a monthly exploration of the personal and beyond by some of our finest writers. In my junior year of high school, my principal called me into his office and asked me where I wanted to go to college. I said, “Duke.” He said, “Duke?” I said, “Yup.” He said, “Why Duke?” I told him I heard it was the Yale of the South, and “Yale doesn’t take girls.”  The year was 1958. He said, “What about the University of Virginia? They have a great theater department.” I said, “Yeah, but I don't want to go that far south.”  Dr. Rives leaned over, opened a drawer and pulled out an atlas. “Here,” he said. “Look, here’s North Carolina and here’s Virginia.” He could have said, “You have no...

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