Juli and Brian O’Reilly

The O’Reilly family at the 2019 Women’s World Cup in France. From left to right is Meaghan, Brian, Juli and Jacqueline. (Photo courtesy the O’Reilly family)

By Abby Roberts

Juliana Schulte O’Reilly (Col ’86) and Brian O’Reilly are known in the UVA community as dedicated supporters of UVA Athletics and the College of Arts & Sciences. Their commitment to Athletics reaches throughout the department and Juli currently serves as the Virginia Athletics Foundation 2020 Board President. Her service is just one example of how Juli gives back to her alma mater.

Juli attended the University on an athletics scholarship and competed on the women’s swimming and diving team. The McLean, Va., transplant continues to give back to her alma mater out of gratitude for the opportunity she was given to attend one of the finest universities in the nation.

“Brian and I feel a great connection to the University, particularly since both of our daughters are graduates,” Juli said. “Knowing that our contributions to the UVA community make a real difference to students and athletic programs is the reason we continue to give back.”

They have been VAF members since 1998.

The 2020-21 academic year is a special one for the O’Reillys as it is the first year that The Juliana Schulte O’Reilly and Brian T. O’Reilly Bicentennial Scholars Fund has been awarded. Jessica Nava, a third-year student-athlete on the women’s swimming and diving team, is the first recipient of this endowed scholarship.

“We are truly fortunate that we are able to provide this opportunity to someone like Jessica, because someone once provided that same opportunity to me,” Juli said.

Juli and Brian are thrilled that they had the chance to meet Jessica this past spring on a Zoom call to congratulate her for all of her accomplishments. The O’Reillys are excited to see Jessica’s college career continue and to help make her dreams possible.

Juli and Brian are not only avid women’s swimming and diving supporters, they are also huge fans of the women’s soccer team. They look forward to attending games at Klöckner Stadium every fall.

During her time on Grounds, Juli felt lucky to be part of the UVA swimming and diving family. She was surrounded by dozens of student-athletes striving to be the best in the pool, the classroom and in the community. Her friendships with her teammates continue today. She looked up to the upperclassmen the most during her early college days.

“Beth O’Connor Baker was captain when I first joined,” Juli said. “Beth was a terrific leader who made a significant impression on me and I’m grateful that we still keep in contact now, decades later. That is what makes UVA so special. The connections you made in the past are still meaningful and will hopefully continue into the future.”

Three lessons that Juli learned as a student-athlete that she still applies in her everyday life are persistence, humility and that it’s okay to lean on your teammates.

“It is important to learn from your mistakes and to ask your team for help,” she said. “I learned that early on during my swimming days.”

Juli and Brian have a passion for UVA Athletics and are invested in making a difference in the lives of student-athletes. She encourages all fans of UVA Athletics to become supporters.

“Our athletics family plays a vital role in the overall UVA experience and the impact that student-athletes have when they leave Grounds is testament,” Juli said. “If you have been thinking about supporting UVA Athletics, and especially if you can give a Bicentennial scholarship, we recommend that you do it.

“It’s been one of the most rewarding accomplishments we’ve achieved.”