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Email from Architecture Dean Kim Tanzer to Architecture Alumni

June 13, 2012 — By now, you have probably heard the news that President Teresa Sullivan is stepping down as president of the University of Virginia as of August 15, 2012. If you missed the initial announcement by BOV Rector Helen Dragas, you can find it—and additional, official details—here. As you can imagine, the news has generated significant attention on a national scale and here in Charlottesville.

This news came to us as a complete surprise here at the A-school, as it no doubt did to you. In addition to her good work on behalf of the entire University, President Sullivan has been a great advocate and partner for the School of Architecture. In so many ways she partnered with and supported the School, such as when she invited an A-School studio to her home on Carr’s Hill to propose sustainability upgrades, and more recently when she hosted a luncheon with key partners in Beijing to celebrate the School’s China program. She has demonstrated a commitment to our disciplines, our research and teaching methodologies, and our unique role as a catalyst of interdisciplinary, engaged scholarship. We are truly thankful for her leadership.

Even as we reflect, it is vitally important that we not allow this decision to deter our forward focus and momentum. An institution as rich in accomplishment and promise as the University of Virginia is able to endure, indeed prosper, in the midst of changes--even those at the highest levels of its leadership. The A-school in particular remains as committed as ever to our mission of providing our students the very best education and our faculty a first-rate environment for teaching, design, research, and service. We will also continue to play an important institutional role in ensuring U.Va. maintains its longstanding excellence and preeminence.

In the coming weeks, I will continue to work closely with all parts of our A-school and University communities so that, together, we can forge the best possible future for our School and our University. Open dialogue and interdisciplinary collaboration—hallmarks of the U.Va. A-school—will be vital to these conversations. Higher education is at a turning point but our community is poised and ready to provide valuable leadership in the context of the broader University of which we are a part.

Your encouragement, support, and participation are, as always, warmly welcome. I know many of you have questions and as I learn more, I will share additional information with you. Thank you for all you do to make our School and the University strong.

Sincerely,
Kim Tanzer, Dean and Edward E. Elson Professor

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