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Longtime University Of Virginia Leader, Ernie Ern, To Become Interim Chancellor Of U.Va.'S College At Wise

April 14, 2004 -- Ernest H. Ern, who has served the University of Virginia in many important capacities during his 38-year career in Charlottesville, will become interim chancellor at the University's College at Wise, President John T. Casteen III announced today.

Ern, who begins his new role in May, will serve a yearlong term while the University conducts a search to replace the college's outgoing chancellor, Steven H. Kaplan, who leaves next month to become president of the University of New Haven.

"I am delighted Ernie Ern has agreed to take on the chancellorship at Wise," Casteen said. "He will provide steady leadership that will ensure that the College continues its progress during this year of transition. I am committed to supporting him in every possible way, and I look forward to working alongside him in the coming year."

Kaplan said that he is especially pleased that an interim chancellor of Ern's stature has greed to lead the Wise campus. "People all over Virginia know and respect Mr. Ern," he said. "It would be hard to imagine a better leader for this time when the College will be pursuing reaffirmation of its accreditation, approval of its new software engineering program, and additional progress with regard to the physical development of the campus."

Casteen said Ern, who will come out of retirement to take the position, has a long history of dedicated service to the University and to schools and colleges generally. The depth and breadth of Ern's experience in higher education, Casteen said, will be key in keeping the College of Wise moving forward with its current initiatives.

Reporting directly to Casteen, Ern will be charged with leading the College's administrative team in overseeing academic programs, fiscal matters, campus life, private fund raising and local and state relationships. While he will be the liaison between the College and the University's Board of Visitors, he also will work closely with James M. Gott, chairman of the Wise board, and all of its members.

"Throughout my various administrative assignments in Charlottesville, my personal and professional associations with faculty and staff at the College at Wise and with friends in Southwest Virginia have been especially meaningful, productive and enjoyable in every way," Ern said. "Accordingly, my wife and I very much look forward to serving the College and the University during this transitional period in the most effective way possible."

Ern retired from the University in 2000, having served for the last nine years as senior vice president. He joined the University in 1962 as an assistant geology professor. His scholarly work included analyses of geological conditions related to mining in the Appalachian region, as well as detailed analyses of rock formations in central Virginia and the Appalachian region.

Three years after joining the U.Va. faculty, he became assistant dean in the College of Arts & Sciences. He then served as dean of admission from 1967 to 1973. For the next 20 years he was vice president of student affairs. In 1993, the same year he became senior vice president, the Board of Visitors established the Ernest H. Ern Distinguished Professorship in Environmental Sciences and named him a University professor, U.Va.'s highest academic rank. University professors have the capacity to teach in any of the University's schools and colleges.

In 1998, Ern received the Algernon Sydney Sullivan Award for excellence of character and service to humanity.

Ern, with his wife Petie, will move to Wise in June, working first from Charlottesville to prepare for the transition. His appointment is pending approval of the University's Board, which meets April 15 in Charlottesville.

Contact: Carol Wood, (434) 924-6189

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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