University of Virginia President Teresa Sullivan is stepping down from her position, effective August 15, according to an e-mail from UVA Rector Helen Dragas. The key bit in the letter is the statement from Sullivan, in which she says that “the board and I have a philosophical difference of opinion”; opinion about what is left unsaid. Sullivan took over on August 1, 2010, replacing President John Casteen, who had been president for two decades. Sullivan was widely seen as an interim president (perhaps to give time for the seasoning of University of Richmond President Edward Ayers to return to UVA), but the time scale most often mentioned was five years, not scarcely two. The Board of Visitors will be naming an interim president while they begin the search for a replacement.
From: Helen Dragas, University Rector
Subject: Teresa Sullivan To Step Down Aug. 15 as U.Va. President
Date: June 10, 2012 11:11:33 AM EDT
To members of the University community:
On behalf of the Board of Visitors, we are writing to tell you that the Board and President Teresa Sullivan today mutually agreed that she will step down as president of the University of Virginia effective August 15, 2012.
We express our deep appreciation to President Sullivan for her effective stewardship of the University. She is a much respected educator, as well as a visible presence in the University community and a prominent voice in higher education.
President Sullivan commented on the great honor to serve as President of the University of Virginia. She said, “Although the board and I have a philosophical difference of opinion, I will always treasure having had the opportunity to work with so many gifted faculty and staff, talented students, and loyal alumni. I am also grateful for the privilege to have worked with our extraordinary vice presidents and deans.”
For the past year, the Board has had ongoing discussions about the importance of developing, articulating and acting on a clear and concrete strategic vision. The Board believes that in the rapidly changing and highly pressurized external environment in both health care and in academia, the University needs to remain at the forefront of change.
We remain guided by Mr. Jefferson’s inspirational vision:
“The great object of our aim from the beginning has been to make this Establishment the most eminent in the United States.”
In service to that vision, the Board is committed to preserving the legacy with which we have been entrusted. At the core of that legacy is the quality and care of our faculty and staff. We have made a clear choice to act in the best interest of all concerned.
We assure you that the Board of Visitors will move expeditiously to name an interim president and to begin a search for a new leader. We hope you will assist us as we move through this time of change and strive for a smooth and productive transition.
On behalf of the Board of Visitors,
Helen E. Dragas, Rector
Mark Kington, Vice Rector
Helen Dragas, rector approved distribution of this message.