Len Leiser

Admissions Marketing
Len Leiser
  • UVA Class Year: Col ’06
  • Current City: Charlottesville
  • Bodo’s Order: Turkey on whole wheat with provolone, sprouts, cucumber and mayonnaise.

Tell us your UVA story. What did you do during your time on Grounds? What were your favorite memories?

I struggled during my time on Grounds. I put myself out of my comfort zone often, I was constantly challenged to take up new opportunities and I faced relationships across the board that shaped me in many ways. I earned some of the most valuable lessons in life that continue to affect me even today. Nearly all of my favorite memories are with my dorm mates from Echols First Year. Also, I worked for four years at Slaughter Recreation Center and spent a ton of time there. From playing racquetball with George, a legend in my time there, to having one of the best, first bosses in my life that who taught me a lot about leadership and management I spent hundreds (if not thousands) of hours helping keep that facility operational and safe for patrons. I enjoyed the classes and the traditions of UVA as fully as I could. My dorm mates and I may have even invented a few new traditions, just for us.

Tell us what you’re up to today!

I currently work at the Darden School. I’m part of the Admissions Marketing team that supports enrollment for degree programs and I work with some of the greatest people I’ve ever worked with. I’m lucky enough to stay in touch with a few of my best friends from First Year, who still live in the area or not that far away. You’ll find me running 15-20 km around UVA early on Saturday mornings once or twice a month. As long as there isn’t a major event happening on Grounds.

What makes you say Wahoowa?

The Good Old Song

What’s the biggest way in which you hope alumni can impact UVA?

By being responsive and generous. It takes a few years out from graduation to realize how much was offered by UVA when we were students. Whether alumni are five years or fifty years out from graduation, there is always something that can be offered back. For some it might be volunteering, mentoring, making gifts, etc. But if every alumni start from the same foundation of being responsive and generous, it will lead them down paths to find ways to impact UVA in their own manner. I think, at least once, in all of our lives we need someone to help in our personal or professional growth in terms of change, advice or networking. Alumni, and the alumni network, have a kind of power and potential to be an agent of all kinds of opportunity – for prospective students, current students, fellow alumni, staff, faculty, the organization and university itself, and so on.

Pick a pillar that best captures your life today:


Why does that pillar speak to you?

I lived in Japan for more than twelve years after graduation. While I was living there, I learned a phrase that came to have a lot of meaning for me. It goes “ichi-go ichi-e.” It roughly translates to “one life, one encounter” and could be interpreted as “treasure every moment, because it only comes once.” Apparently, it originated from tea ceremony to express the feelings of the host towards the guest in creating a meaningful, memorable experience. I believe that I have a certain skillset or talent towards creating spaces and activities that bring people together and help make meaningful connections. If I can be deliberate and intentional in planning an event, or encounter, and allow for some amount of spontaneity and fluidity in real time, the result could change the way people feel or think, or both. A moment is something that will only ever happen once, like so many of my memories in First Year, with the specific people, in a specific place at a specific time and it can never be repeated. But, encounters and events are repeatable and the when the only variables are people, place and time, the opportunity for serendipity will always exist with high probability. At UVA, we know the people (alumni, students), place (Charlottesville) and time (reunions) so in a way, the pillar of connecting speaks to me because it allows me to chase serendipity.