Sept. 1-7, 2000
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Melvyn P. Leffler
Stephanie Gross
Melvyn P. Leffler

Arts & Sciences dean to step down next year

Staff Report

Melvyn P. Leffler, dean of the University's College and Graduate School of Arts & Sciences, announced this week that he will resign, effective Aug. 25, 2001, to prepare for taking a visiting Harmsworth Professorship in American History at Oxford University.

He will take up the prestigious one-year post at Oxford in the fall of 2002. During the intervening year, Leffler, a noted Cold War historian, will conduct the academic research necessary for his Oxford assignment.

"Although I have mixed feelings about leaving the dean's office," said Leffler, who has held the post since September 1997, "it is a great honor to have won the Harmsworth, and I am delighted by the opportunity it presents at this moment in my academic career."

Leffler plans to return to the U.Va. history faculty at the conclusion of his Oxford appointment.

"Mel Leffler has made important contributions as both professor and dean," said U.Va. President John T. Casteen III. "His work to bring the College into a new era of excellence is as important to the future of this University as his analysis of the Cold War will be to those who study with him at Oxford and, ultimately, again at U.Va."

Leffler's deanship has been marked by notable achievements in the College, the core of the University's undergraduate academic program. "There is more scholarship, more creativity, more innovative teaching, and more intelligent dialogue than ever before," Leffler said. "And despite insufficient funding, our humanities and social science programs still excel, our fine and performing arts programs have improved greatly, and our science departments have made noteworthy progress.

"I take great pride in our collective accomplishments."

Leffler has raised unprecedented amounts of money from private sources. During his three years as dean, private contributions to Arts & Sciences have topped $90 million. Since 1995, the College has raised nearly $150 million, almost doubling the $76 million goal established for Arts & Sciences at the start of the University's seven-year capital campaign.

Leffler credits the school's graduates for great loyalty. "Our alumni," he said, "have been unbelievably generous and supportive. Their ardor and commitment have been inspiring, and their work to establish the College Foundation this year has been a highlight of my deanship."

Leffler, the Edward R. Stettinius Professor of History, joined the faculty in 1986, after teaching at Vanderbilt. He chaired U.Va.'s Corcoran Department of History from 1990 to 1995.

One of the country's leading authorities on modern U.S. foreign relations, he won the Bancroft Prize for his book A Preponderance of Power in 1993.

Leffler was a senior fellow at the Nobel Peace Institute in Oslo during 1993 and 1998, where he lectured on the Cold War. He served as president of the Society of Historians of American Foreign Relations in 1994.

In 1990, he was a member of the U.S. delegation to a joint Soviet-American symposium on the Cold War in Moscow and Washington. He served in the office of the Secretary of Defense during the Carter years, where he worked on arms control, confidence-building measures, and contingency planning as a fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations.

The search for Leffler's successor will begin this fall.

Arts & Sciences encompasses 25 academic departments and divisions, 23 academic and research centers, and 16 interdisciplinary programs. Enrollment totals some 9,000 undergraduate students annually and more than 1,800 graduate students. There are approximately 735 Arts & Sciences faculty members.


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