The UVA Board of Visitors has named Teresa A. Sullivan the new president of the university. The sixty-year-old woman is currently the Provost and Executive Vice President for Academic Affairs at the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where she’s been since 2006. From 1975-2006, she taught sociology in various capacities at the University of Texas at Austin, with four years in there spent teaching the same thing at the University of Chicago. Her particular expertise is on labor demography, a topic on which she’s published many papers. She has no prior connection to the university, making her the first such president of the school since the very first president, Edwin A. Alderman, who took office in 1904. 10:45 PM Update: Also, Bob O’Neill also had no prior connection.
There were a great many candidates whose names were bandied around in the past couple of days, some reasonable (e.g., Gene Block, Ed Ayers), some just bizarre (e.g., Condoleeza Rice). But “Terry Sullivan” was not a name that anybody uttered—nobody saw this coming. One note about today’s announcement: It came during the winter break, a time when students and teaching faculty are away from the university, on a day when even President Casteen is out of town. It’s an odd bit of timing, which may be coincidental, or it may have been deliberate.
President John Casteen will end his twenty-year run as president on July 31; Sullivan starts the next day.
Disclaimer: I work in the president’s office, but obviously I’m not writing here in that capacity.