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Rue leaves Georgetown to join U.Va.
Innovative Educator/Student Champion To Become Dean Of Students

April 8, 1999 -- After a national search, the University of Virginia has chosen a creative educator and champion of students as its new dean of students, President John T. Casteen III announced today.

H. E. "Penny" Rue, 46, senior associate dean of students at Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., will take her new post at U.Va. in late July.

At Georgetown, Rue holds the No. 2 position in the office of the dean of students, directs several departments, and manages special projects. In this capacity, she led an initiative to redesign Georgetown's student orientation program, working to increase faculty involvement and develop a strong academic component that focuses on the school's intellectual community. She created a sexual assault committee, a group she continues to chair, to develop improved programs and services for prevention, awareness, and response to sexual assault.

"Penny Rue is widely respected among her peers, and has the proven capabilities as an administrator to make her an ideal choice to lead the Dean of Students office into the next century," Casteen said. "This is a critical position for the University. Penny's track record shows strength in all the necessary areas of experience that we were seeking -- student, faculty, and operations."

Along with solid academic credentials in the field of counseling and student personnel services, Rue's career has included three years at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, six years at the University of Maryland, and 12 at Georgetown. She joined Georgetown in 1987 as director of student programs, became associate dean of students in 1995, and senior associate in 1997. She holds both a master's and a Ph.D. in counseling and student personnel services from Ohio State University and the University of Maryland, respectively, and an undergraduate degree in English literature and religion from Duke University.

Rue succeeds Robert T. Canevari, who as dean for the past 29 years helped lead the University through an era of dramatic growth and diversification. Canevari announced last year that he planned to retire when his current appointment ends June 30.

Casteen lauded Canevari's dedication. "He has been sympathetic, wise and generous in representing student interests in the University's ongoing discussion about how to be a better university and a better community. He stands for excellence and decency within the University." Rue is well aware of the Canevari legacy and said that she will approach her new job with care and sensitivity. "To follow Bob Canevari, who has been so deeply a part of the institution, is going to be a challenge. There are many things about his tenure -- his deep student-centeredness, for one -- that are crucial to what makes this University unique, and that one must preserve," she said. "I will have to balance continuity versus change."

Her first priority will be to build relationships with students, faculty and colleagues. "Being a dean of students is really about relationships," she said. These, she said, she will forge wherever she goes -- at meetings, social functions, or athletic events.

Rue has a history of strong relationships with academic faculty, and has made every effort to pull them into dean of students' projects. "It's important to know what motivates faculty. They have substantive ideas about student life and we need to be able to partner with them."

The new dean must be able to share a solid vision for the Dean of Students office, a strong mission that suits a wide array of constituencies -- students, faculty, and parents -- in a world that is continually changing and growing, said Senior Vice President Ernest H. Ern, search committee chairman and himself a former vice president of student affairs. "Our committee interviewed four strong, highly qualified candidates from across the country. They all were exceptional," Ern said. "Penny brings an outstanding record of accomplishment to U.Va. Her collaborative style, breadth of experience at top-notch institutions, and high aspirations for student affairs make for an especially good fit."

At Georgetown, Rue worked to strengthen the school's student services and programs while supervising the areas of volunteer and public services, student programs, health insurance and public safety. She also chaired a staff development committee to meet the needs of a diverse staff, and started a technology assessment committee to generate appropriate technology support for student affairs programs and services.

In 1994, she received the Georgetown University Student Affairs Distinguished Service Award, and in 1997 was awarded the Scholarship Award from the Jesuit Association for Student Personnel Administrators. She is active in the National Association of Student Personnel Administrators and the National Association for Women in Education. She was recently appointed by Duke University President Nannerl Keohane to serve on the school's Council on Women's Studies.

"Penny Rue brings a broad perspective of a dean of students' operation that will benefit the University of Virginia," said William H. Harmon, vice president for student affairs. "She comes from institutions not unlike our own, universities that are grounded in strong academics, ethical values, and a commitment to student self-governance."

It was these things that attracted Rue to the University. But, it was U.Va.'s ingrained sense of community building that made her write a letter of application. "Every alum I've ever known from the University has such a fond feeling about this place," she said. "Everyone, overwhelmingly, loved being here - not uncritically - but they loved the experience. It was that sense of community that intrigued me."

Finally, it was the makeup and spirit of the search committee that pushed her to want to join the University community that she had heard so much about. "I loved the way the search was conducted," Rue said of the group that included eight students. "It showed a place that took student self-governance seriously."

Contact: Carol Wood, (804) 924-6189

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: please contact the Office of University Relations at (804) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (804) 924-7550.
SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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