President Teresa A. Sullivan
Teresa A. Sullivan began her tenure as the eighth president of the University of Virginia in August 2010. In her first year, she began to address many of the University’s greatest challenges as identified by the Board of Visitors: focusing on a financial model that will ensure the University’s long-term health; strengthening academic excellence; enhancing the student experience; completing the current $3 billion fund-raising campaign; strengthening graduate programs and increasing graduate student financial support; increasing the funded research in the sciences, technology, and engineering; sustaining AccessUVa, the University’s financial aid program; and enhancing the University’s international outreach and reputation.
“These are many of the same issues that other leading universities—both public and private—are facing,” Ms. Sullivan said. “But when I look at the sophisticated strategic planning that has been done here, I am reassured that the University is well positioned to meet these challenges.”
Only a handful of institutions are like U.Va, Ms. Sullivan said. “It is the privilege and the responsibility of us in the University community to work together to preserve its legacy and foster its greatness.”
She hopes to equip students with the self-confidence and skills necessary to take on complex twenty-first-century challenges. “We need to have students who are not afraid to tackle problems and have the self-confidence to believe they have the skills to do it,” she said. “Virginia is uniquely poised to produce that kind of student.”
During her first year as president, Ms. Sullivan led a transformation of the University’s executive leadership team. She named a successor to Leonard W. Sandridge, executive vice president and chief operating officer, who had served the University for 44 years. Michael Strine, formerly of Johns Hopkins University, joined the president’s leadership team in July. In September, Ms. Sullivan named a successor to executive vice president and provost Tim Garson, who continues to serve the University in other capacities. John Simon, formerly of Duke University, completed the president’s executive leadership team.
Ms. Sullivan came from the University of Michigan, where she was provost and executive vice president for academic affairs as well as the university’s chief budget officer. Prior to her time at Michigan, she rose through the ranks in the University of Texas System from instructor and then assistant professor of sociology at UT-Austin to executive vice chancellor for academic affairs, serving as chief academic officer for the nine academic campuses within the Texas system.
She is a respected scholar in labor force demography, with particular emphasis on economic marginality and consumer debt. The author or coauthor of six books and more than 50 scholarly articles, she has focused most recently on who files for bankruptcy and why.
Ms. Sullivan is a graduate of Michigan State University’s James Madison College, and earned her doctoral degree in sociology from the University of Chicago. She is married to Douglas Laycock, a professor in the University’s School of Law. They have two sons, Joseph and John.
See the President’s website.
Watch highlights from the inauguration dinner, featuring President Teresa A. Sullivan and student speakers.