Teresa Sullivan Photo by Luca DiCecco

Laying her left hand on a tattered family Bible dating from the 19th century, Teresa A. Sullivan today took the oath of office and was inaugurated as a 21st-century president of the University of Virginia.

Sullivan, 61, is the eighth person to hold the office. The ceremony, which began with an academic procession of more than 500 people in academic regalia, was held on the Lawn in glorious spring weather. It fell in the middle of a busy inauguration schedule that began Wednesday with an interfaith observance and ended on Sunday with a community “volksmarch” around the Grounds.

Sullivan’s day began with a breakfast at Carr’s Hill for family – not only immediate family, an aunt and several cousins, but also academic family from the University of Michigan, where she was provost; University of Texas, where she was a faculty member and administrator for 30 years; the University of Chicago, where she attained her Ph.D. and taught; and Michigan State University, where she earned her undergraduate degree in sociology.

“I first met Terry when she was an assistant professor at the University of Chicago,” said Barry Chiswick, a renowned economist and Sullivan collaborator. He added with a smile, “I thought then she was a special person, and the marketplace has confirmed that assessment.”

Following lunch at the Aquatic and Fitness Center, the president and her party were whisked to Rotunda to don academic regalia. Sullivan’s new robes – blue with orange trim – awaited in the boardroom.

At 3 p.m., the academic procession stepped off from the Rotunda. Among the Board of Visitors members, College at Wise representatives, vice presidents, deans, faculty and students, were delegates of nearly 100 colleges and universities – including many presidents of Virginia schools – and U.Va. faculty members representing scholarly and governmental organizations.

CONTINUE READING »