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Invitation to Comment

Aug. 6, 2009

As you know, President Casteen announced in June that he would retire next summer at the conclusion of his 20th year.

We have been fortunate to have John Casteen's extraordinary leadership, and as a result I believe we are well positioned to find an able successor who will continue the work of further distinguishing the University.

It is the responsibility of the Board of Visitors - and, in fact, its most important task - to find the very best person to take over the helm of our great institution.

We have assembled a talented search committee ready to assist us in meeting this challenge. The Special Committee on the Nomination of a President includes nine members of the Board, six faculty members, two prominent alumni, and two students. The 19 members bring a deep understanding of the University's history, traditions, culture, strengths, opportunities, and challenges.

To complete our search successfully, we must act in the best interest of all those who care deeply about the University. Listening to the ideas, viewpoints, and opinions of members of the University community is vital to the process. In the coming weeks, the committee will hold a series of open forums in order to hear what members of the University community believe are important qualities and considerations for our next president.

We are posing the same three questions in all forums to all those interested in offering input. They are:

  1. What opportunities and challenges do you see facing the University of Virginia in the next 10 years?
  2. What qualifications/personal leadership characteristics should the next president possess to take advantage of the opportunities and address the challenges?
  3. What other considerations should the committee bear in mind as we initiate this search process?

While forums are designated for specific groups, all sessions are open to anyone who wishes to attend, including members of the local community. The dates, times, and locations for the forums follow:

  • Forum primarily for students: Aug. 25, 10 a.m.-noon, Newcomb Hall ballroom.
  • Forum primarily for staff: Aug. 25, 3:30 p.m.-5:30 p.m., Zehmer Hall auditorium.
  • Forum primarily for Health System personnel: Sept. 1, 7:30 a.m.-9:30 a.m., McLeod Hall auditorium.
  • Forum primarily for faculty: Sept. 1, 4 p.m.-6 p.m., Newcomb Hall ballroom.
  • Forum primarily for alumni: Sept. 12, 11 a.m.-12:30 p.m., Alumni Hall ballroom. (Co-hosted with Alumni Association.)
  • Forum primarily for the College at Wise: Sept. 29. (Time and location to be announced.)

Because we seek the broadest participation possible, we have created three additional ways for people to communicate with us if they are unable to attend one of the forums.

I hope you will take a few moments to share your thoughts as we embark on this important milestone in the University's history - the selection of the University of Virginia's eighth president.

With kind regards,

John O. Wynne
University Rector
Chairman, Special Committee on the Nomination of a President