Teresa Sullivan

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Teresa Sullivan
Teresa A. Sullivan

8th President of the University of Virginia
Term Start August 1, 2010
Term End August 15, 2012
Preceded by John Casteen III
Succeeded by James E. Ryan
Term End August 1, 2018

Biographical Information

Spouse Douglas Laycock
Residence Carr's Hill
Alma mater B.A. from James Madison College at Michigan State University (1970)

Ph.D. from University of Chicago (1975)

Profession University president
Website UVa profile
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In 2010, Teresa A. Sullivan became the University of Virginia’s eighth president and its first female president. In January of 2017 she was expected to step down in the middle of 2018.[1]. Sullivan's eight-year tenure as president of the University of Virginia ended on August 1, 2018.

On Sept. 15, 2017, the University of Virginia Board of Visitors selected James E. Ryan to succeed Sullivan.[2]

On June 8, 2018, the University of Virginia Board of Visitors passed a resolution honoring outgoing President Teresa A. Sullivan for her leadership at the University and officially electing her president emerita, effective upon the end of her term on Aug. 1, 2018.[3]


Prior to being named to the position by the the UVa Board of Visitors, Sullivan served as the University of Michigan's provost and executive vice president for academic affairs. She graduated from the James Madison College at Michigan State University in 1970 and received her doctoral degree in sociology from the University of Chicago in 1975. She and her husband Doug Laycock have two sons[4].

Sullivan was honored by the Daily Progress in 2012 as part of their Distinguished Dozen. [5]

Sullivan takes over

On August 29, 2010, Sullivan delivered a sermon at St. Paul's Episcopal Church in which she discussed recent tragedies at UVa[6].

Sullivan immediately brought new ideas to the table. In September, she raised the possibility of offering a three-year degree to high achieving students in order to save resources. Sullivan also said the University might not be able to support radically expanding the number of first-year students, an idea that had been raised at the end of Casteen's tenure[7].

In 2010, Sullivan floated the possibility of adding 1,500 undergraduate students, and claimed that there was enough physical space to accommodate such an expansion. At that time, she noted that there was not enough faculty to do so[8]. No matter the number of additional students, Sullivan has said the university will try to be a "good neighbor" to the community[9].

Resignation and Reinstatement

In early June 2012 it was announced that Sullivan would resign after a two-year tenure at the urge of the Board of Visitors.[10] Following an outcry from the University community,[11] Sullivan was unanimously reinstated.[12]


Upon taking office in 2010, Sullivan made a major change by having athletics director Craig Littlepage report directly to her rather than Leonard Sandridge or his replacement[7].


  1. Web. Sullivan Stepping Down as President of UVA In 2018, Nora Neus, News Article, WVIR NBC 29, January 20, 2017, retrieved January 21, 2017.
  2. Web. A Leader to Start our Third Century James E. Ryan, The Rector And Visitors Of The University Of Virginia, retrieved January 19, 2019.
  3. Web. Teresa A. Sullivan (2010-2018), The Rector And Visitors Of The University Of Virginia, retrieved January 19, 2019.
  4. "Teresa A. Sullivan (2010-), Carr's Hill Centennial Celebration, U.Va." University of Virginia. Web. 06 Aug. 2010. <http://www.virginia.edu/carrshill/sullivan.html>.
  5. Web. Dozen: Sullivan epitome of grace under fire, Bryan McKenzie, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, January 1, 2013, retrieved January 7, 2016.
  6. Kates, Tasha. "UVa President Preaches, Answers Questions | Daily Progress." Home | Daily Progress. 30 Aug. 2010. Web. 30 Aug. 2010. <http://www2.dailyprogress.com/news/2010/aug/29/uva-president-preaches-answers-questions-ar-478826/>.
  7. 7.0 7.1 Web. UVa President Suggests Three-year Bachelor's Degree, Brian McNeill, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, September 14, 2010, retrieved September 14, 2010.
  8. Web. Sullivan finishes eventful fall term, Mike Lang, Cavalier Daily, December 6, 2010, retrieved December 6, 2010.
  9. Web. Thoughtful growth at UVa, Teresa Sullivan, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, December 12, 2010, retrieved December 14, 2010.
  10. Web. UVa ousts Sullivan as president, Aaron Richardson, Daily Progress, Lee Enterprises, June 10, 2012, retrieved June 11, 2012.
  11. Web. University of Virginia students feel betrayed after ouster of Teresa Sullivan, Jenna Johnson, June 22, 2012, retrieved July 12, 2012.
  12. Web. U-Va. board unanimously reinstates Teresa Sullivan as president, Jenna Johnson, Anita Kumar, & Daniel de Vise, June 26, 2012, retrieved July 12, 2012.

External links

Official site