Darden foundation boss Kiernan steps down and the plot thickens


It’s been five days since the UVA Board of Visitors announced President Teresa Sullivan’s resignation. The community is still outraged and demanding answers, and more facts are slowly being revealed.

Peter Kiernan, the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees chairman who stated in a leaked e-mail that he was aware of the Board of Visitors’ decision but sworn to secrecy, sent a letter to the UVA community yesterday announcing his own resignation.

The Washington Post recently reported that three members of the Board of Visitors were left in the dark and were not involved in the decision to oust Sullivan. Rector Helen Dragas said she had “overwhelming support” from the Board, but the 16 members never actually met or voted on the matter.  

Students and faculty seem determined to get to the bottom of this, and are outwardly expressing their disapproval of the Board’s decision. The UVA Magazine has posted faculty responses, and alumnus Bob Elkins’ petition to reinstate Sullivan as President has 1,439 signatures.  

Peter Kiernan’s letter, read by Darden Dean Bob Bruner at an open town hall meeting: 

June 14, 2012

To the U.Va. Community,

As someone who has profound respect and love for the University of Virginia, I write to apologize for my role in further complicating the already difficult situation after Teresa Sullivan’s resignation as president.

The content of my e-mail sent to the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees on Sunday, June 10, was confusing at a critical moment for the University and unfairly associated the Darden School with a situation in which it was not involved. No one from Darden — not the dean, nor the faculty, nor the administration, nor the Foundation board — was involved. The conversations about President Sullivan’s transition that I referred to in my e-mail were conducted through my own personal relationships and not in any official capacity.

So that my actions do not further impact Darden or the University community, I am stepping down as chair of the Darden School Foundation Board of Trustees and resigning from the board.

Exceptional work is happening at Darden and across the University. As evidenced in recent days, people across the community care deeply about this University and will no doubt ensure that U.Va.’s future will be as strong as its past. Once again, I apologize to Dean Bruner, and to all of my friends, colleagues and professors at the Darden School and the University of Virginia who have been affected by my actions.


Peter D. Kiernan