Ayers named Richmond’s president

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Ayers named Richmond’s president

Update to story appended

As of 9 am, July 2, Edward L. Ayers’ face beamed from the University of Richmond’s website, extending a welcome to students as the private university’s new president. Ayers’ Web presence was manifold that morning, his lively photo still lingering on UVA’s site as dean of the College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences.


Ed Ayers, former dean of Arts and Sciences, started his new gig as president of the University of Richmond on July 1, leaving one of UVA’s largest schools temporarily deanless.

Since Ayers announced in November 2006 he would be leaving July 1 to take Richmond’s head seat, finding a permanent replacement at UVA has proved elusive. The job description, that of the College’s chief administrative and academic officer, has included more fundraising in recent years. Ayers, dean since 2001, was known not only for his rigorous academics and approachable demeanor, but also his role in promoting and raising money for the South Lawn Project, which includes a new 110,000-square-foot Arts & Sciences building.

As of press time, University Relations staff confirmed an interim dean would be announced soon, but President John Casteen was still deciding. The offer is being extended to a current member of UVA’s faculty or administration, but a name could not be confirmed. The interim appointment will extend for one year, or until a permanent dean is found.

Ayers also could not be reached for comment: The family man and father of two was out of the country through the end of June.

UPDATE: Karen Ryan named interim dean

On the morning of July 3, UVA named Karen Ryan to fill the interim dean of Arts & Sciences position, effective immediately. Up until her appointment as dean, Ryan was associate dean for the arts, humanities and social sciences in the School of Arts & Sciences.

“Now that phase one of the South Lawn project is largely funded, [Ryan] will be free to focus on expanding the range of goals in the campaign and to address the Colleges urgent needs for support of all its academic departments and programs,” said President John Casteen, in a press release.

Ryan, a full professor as of 2002, joined the faculty in 1989 as an assistant professor of Slavic languages and literatures. Much of her academic focus has been on Russian satire.
UVA continues to search for a permanent replacement.—Will Goldsmith

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