CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. (WVIR) - The University of Virginia has kicked off a $5 billion 'Honor the Future' campaign. The goal is to make UVA the nation's best public university.

The campaign began on Saturday afternoon with a panel of distinguished alums including former NFL player Chris Long and UVA president Jim Ryan sharing his thoughts on the university's past, present, and future.

"I'm glad to say that we are in a process of honestly accessing our past. We've had a commission to explore the university in the age of slavery and are, as I write, constructing a memorial to enslaved laborers to honor the contributions and sufferings of those individuals," Ryan said. "A university that has worked to protect and promote democracy through our teaching, research and actions. A university that has done the same to help the world ameliorate and adapt to climate change."

The university has already raised $2.75 billion towards its overall goal.