Yes, UVa has the feel of a boutique liberal art college...and they seem to promote that aura. By most state school standards, they are tiny (which helps heir selectivity score on US News college rankings). However, their research facilities (for graduate studies) are a real joke. They are pretty much a non-player in many graduate fields of study - especially in the physical sciences and engineering.
John F Kenedy, in a speech on the steps of the Michigan student union, referred to Michigan as the "Harvard of the Midwest". I don't know if I agree, but if you look at graduate school rankings, they are usually in the top 15 of every category. Very comprehensive and competitive university.