Sullivan becomes first female president of U.Va.

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January 29, 2010

2:21 AM

The University of Virginia has chosen its first female president. U.Va.’s Board of Visitors unanimously elected Teresa Sullivan, provost and executive vice president for academic affairs at the University of Michigan, to the position Jan. 11.

Sullivan will take office Aug. 8.

“Their selection is a wonderful choice for the students there, and we look forward to working with her,”
College of William and Mary spokesman Brian Whitson said.

Current U.Va. President John Casteen III is stepping down at the end of this semester after 20 years as president.

“The University of Virginia has enjoyed strong leadership in John Casteen for the past two decades,” U.Va. Rector John Wynne said in a press release. “The board is confident that in Terry we have found an excellent successor to lead the University as we work to elevate our teaching and research capabilities and to enhance our student experience. We are pleased to have attracted a person of Terry’s integrity, experience and vision.”

Wynne chaired the search committee, which included eight other members of the board of visitors, six faculty members, two former rectors and two students.

Sullivan was chosen from a pool of over 150 nominees after a five-month search.

“She is undaunted by the challenges and has a deep understanding of the complexities,” Wynne said. “She believes in public higher education and is committed to leading our university and to building on its excellence.”

Sullivan will address the challenges outlined by the university’s board of visitors, which include increasing international outreach and improving its financial aid program.

“The quality of higher education is threatened by increasing costs and declining state support,” Sullivan said in a press release. “The best of schools — the Universities of Virginia, Michigan, Texas — are the most affected, because sustained excellence requires resources. This cannot, however, keep us from our commitment to our students and to the states and the nation we serve. We must always honor our public mission — regardless of the level of the state’s contributions to our budgets.”

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