Students catching snowflakes

Let it snow!

January 19, 2024



A snowy welcome back to campus for our Spiders — it wasn’t much, but it sure was pretty! ❄️ #URichmond #snowday #rva #universityofrichmond

♬ original sound - University of Richmond

As winter storms gear up, see scenes from the first dusting of the 2023-24 academic year and get up to speed on campus snow facts. 

  • The biggest snowfall in UR history occurred on Jan. 22-23, 1940, when nearly 2 feet fell on campus, followed by six straight days of below-zero temperatures. Yearbook photos from this era show a horse-drawn snow plow on campus.
  • The blizzard of 2000 dumped 12 inches on the city and campus. Students went sledding on cafeteria trays. After the fun, Dee Hardy, then-director of Dining Services, wanted them back. “I understand that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity,” Hardy told The Collegian. “And there will be no questions asked when the sleds are returned.”
  • Cities often pretreat their roads with salt before a big storm. As chemistry professor Julie Pollock recently told Scientific American, here’s why: Snow and ice will freeze on the roads if the ground is 32 degrees Fahrenheit. But if water is mixed with salt, the freezing temperature drops. “It basically disrupts the crystal structure that forms in the freezing of the ice,” she said.
  • Pollock is one of nine faculty and staff experts who answer weather-related questions from the media, including liberal arts instructor and longtime TV meteorologist Jim Duncan.
  • On Dec. 9, 2018, more than a foot of snow fell on campus, the same day the Lessons and Carols service was scheduled.  “Given the quantity of snow we had no choice but to cancel, and yet there were still people who trudged their way through the snow to the Chapel with the slight hope the service might be held,” Chaplain Craig Kocher said. “That’s how much this service means to the Richmond community.”
  • UR’s snow team is made up of 65 Facilities staff members who work in two 12-hour shifts to offer 24-hour coverage in storms. Their equipment includes five truck-mounted plows, four golf cart snowplows, four ride-on brushes, two truck-mounted salt spreaders, three snow blowers, and two walk-behind brushes.