UVA Rector John Wynne welcomed Teresa Sullivan to the University community on Monday, January 11 as the eighth UVA president. Sullivan succeeds current President John Casteen, who announced his retirement last June after 20 years at the helm of the University.
Teresa Sullivan was unanimously selected by the Board of Visitors as the eighth president of UVA on Monday, January 11. She hails from the University of Michigan were she serves as the provost, executive vice president for academic affairs and chief budget officer. “I bring my dedication, extensive experience, and above all my passion for the task ahead of us,” she said. “I welcome this wonderful opportunity to be a part of the University of Virginia as it contributes to the progress of Virginia, the nation and the world.”
In a sense, there is no escaping Casteen’s legacy. “The University of Virginia has enjoyed strong leadership in John Casteen for the past two decades. We have achieved a great deal in John’s time,” said Wynne. The thought hasn’t escaped Sullivan, either.
“He will be a hard act to follow, yet I venture to say that he would prefer that we pursue the course that he has charted, rather than try to march in his footsteps,” she said in her remarks.
Yet, by all accounts, Sullivan will likely steer the University in her own way.
“We have been extremely fortunate to have presidents here who have been exactly right for their time in history,” says UVA COO Leonard Sandridge via e-mail. “Each provided leadership that met the needs of their term in office. President-elect Sullivan will be that leader for the next chapter in our history.”
Sullivan, 60, who is a leading labor force demographer, currently serves as provost, executive vice president for academic affairs and chief budget officer at the University of Michigan. She is also on the board of the college’s health system. Sullivan is a graduate of James Madison College at Michigan State University and received her doctorate in Sociology from the University of Chicago in 1975.
Prior to joining the ranks in Ann Arbor in 2006, Sullivan spent 27 years at University of Texas at Austin, where in 2002 she was named executive vice chancellor for academic affairs for the university system.
In a statement, University of Michigan President Mary Sue Coleman says that Sullivan is “both a distinguished academic and stellar administrator, known for her sparkling intellect as well as her superb people skills. She has won the utmost respect of the faculty and the administration for her inclusive management style and her strong leadership. Working with her has been one of the highlights of my career, and although we will all miss her, we take pride in knowing that she will preside over one of the nation’s great public universities.”
Click here for a comparison of Sullivan’s old position versus new.
Sullivan is also a prolific scholar. “Leading a public university is a hard challenge,” says Faculty Senate Chairwoman Ann Hamric. “And she’s got experience in every facet of what we do here at UVA, which is really quite extraordinary.”
Sullivan will also be the first female president at UVA. Hamric says that her selection was a statement that the University was looking for the “very best person to lead UVA,” she says. “I think she is going to bring changes by force of her personality and her style of leadership, because she will bring her own way of doing things and that’s probably more important than any gender-related change.”
In August, Sullivan will inherit a capital campaign, ever-declining state support and tuition increases. It may not, however, be an unfamiliar situation. Just as she joined Michigan six years into the school’s $2.5 billion “Michigan Difference” campaign (which ultimately raised $3.2 billion), Sullivan, as provost and chief budget officer, dealt with a decrease in state funding that has amounted to 10 percent in 10 years.
UVA, in its own right, is facing a first: This year, for the first time in the history of the University, “an in-state student is now paying more to come to the University of Virginia than the state is supplying in terms of assistance,” said Colette Sheehy, UVA vice president for management and budget, at a November Board of Visitors meeting.
Casteen, who was not present on the day of the public announcement, welcomed Sullivan in a letter. “So welcome and godspeed in this beginning,” he writes. “May your years here be times of success and satisfaction. May you and your family find here generosity, goodness, and human talents to make the exertions of your position worthwhile, and much more.”
Last Thursday, six days before the third anniversary of the Unite the Right rally, the Albemarle County Board of Supervisors voted 6-0 to remove the statue of a Confederate soldier, known as “Johnny Reb,” which stands outside the county courthouse. The Board of Supervisors vote comes after the
A chorus of “We gon’ be alright” bounced out of DJ Flatline and DJ Double U’s speakers, signaling the beginning of Saturday’s Black Joy Fest. The festival was the first event hosted by the newly formed Charlottesville Black Youth Action Committee. Young people tossed beanbags back and forth at
As the number of coronavirus cases continue to rise in our area, life has become increasingly dangerous for those who do not have a place to call home. To protect these vulnerable community members, local shelters have pivoted from their usual operations and redoubled their efforts over the
Comeback kids? On August 4, UVA announced that move-in and the beginning of in-person classes will be delayed by two weeks, meaning face-to-face instruction will start on September 8. University President Jim Ryan released a video August 7, explaining that the decision to delay was made in
Building bridges After nearly two decades of municipal hiccups and mishaps, the city’s plan to replace the Belmont Bridge is finally coming to fruition. On Monday evening, City Council conducted a first reading on an allocation for the project: The state will pay $12.1 million, the federal
By Claudia Gohn University administrators around the country have expressed concern about whether students would show up for a non-traditional school year (and, accordingly, pay tuition). UVA’s incoming freshmen have shown that they’re so eager to begin their halcyon college years, they’ll do
By Emily Hamilton On August 1, residents of Charlottesville and Albemarle became subject to a new set of coronavirus restrictions: in-person gatherings of more than 50 people are banned; restaurants and other venues such as wineries, breweries, and distilleries can operate at only 50 percent
In June, State Senator Jennifer McClellan announced her candidacy for governor of Virginia. McClellan is a 14-year veteran of the Virginia legislature who grew up in Petersburg. In this year’s session, she was a sponsor of significant clean energy and abortion access bills, as well as
Millions of people hike a portion of the Appalachian Trail annually. Thousands take to the trail in Charlottesville’s own Blue Ridge backyard. But only a few hundred ambitious adventurers make the full 2,190-mile trek between Georgia and Maine. Last year, longtime Charlottesville resident Jesse
On July 5, Dominion Energy abruptly canceled the Atlantic Coast Pipeline, an $8 billion project that would have carried natural gas 600 miles from West Virginia to North Carolina. Environmental activists of all persuasions spent six years fighting the project before finally prevailing over the
Just a quick drive from the most urban sections of Charlottesville is a unique wild environment—acres of boulder forests, sunny woodlands where blueberries grow, and a creek with architectural ruins along its banks. It’s all part of a 144-acre property called the Heyward Community Forest,
Since the violent arrest of an unhoused man on the Downtown Mall earlier this month, Defund Cville Police—along with numerous other activists and community members—have continued to call for the creation of a local mobile crisis unit, which would respond to emergency calls that the police are
Closing the loop The Rivanna Trail has encircled Charlottesville for more than 20 years. Earlier this month, the trail became a little more complete, when a 140-foot-long pedestrian bridge was lowered into place over Moores Creek, closing one of the few remaining gaps in the trail’s 20-mile
Second chance City Council approves Flint Hill development After nearly an hour of discussion, and midway through a meeting that lasted until 2:30am, City Council voted July 20 to move forward with the Flint Hill housing development, a set of new homes to be constructed in Fry’s Spring. Last
By Sydney Halleman Amy has a lot of school spirit. A third-year at the University of Virginia, she’s been active in the UVA community since her first year. She holds leadership positions in multiple clubs. “I go to all the football games,” Amy says. “And I love wearing my UVA gear.” But her
It’s been nearly two months since the murder of George Floyd, but protests against police violence continue around the country, including here in Charlottesville. Over a hundred protesters took to the streets July 17 to amplify Black women’s voices and struggles, and demand justice for those
By Claudia Gohn The latest addition to IX Art Park’s medley of flowery, psychedelic art is a series of circles, painted six feet apart from each other on the ground. The new paint is one part of IX’s plan to begin holding in-person concerts, after the coronavirus pandemic rendered them
Statue disposal Many of Richmond’s Monument Avenue Confederate statues are gone, but debate over their removal continues, and people have wondered where the toppled statues are being stored. This week, some sharp-eyed Richmonders noticed a large collection of monument-shaped tarps standing
In normal times, one in six Charlottesville residents—nearly 8,000 people—lack adequate access to affordable, healthy food. That’s 6 percent higher than the statewide food insecurity rate. And with thousands of citizens newly unemployed due to COVID-19, our food insecurity numbers have
Broker Charles Almy’s wife Katharine was involved in one of Albemarle’s longest—and most bizarre—lawsuits. She sued author John Grisham, St. Anne’s-Belfield development director Alan Swanson, and his wife Donna for emotional distress from accusing her of writing anonymous letters and for going