When she took office on Aug. 1, 2010, Teresa A. Sullivan became the first woman to hold the University’s top job. But she said she wanted her inauguration to be about the University, not herself, and made this historic occasion a celebration of its values and mission.
Five days of events surrounded the April 15 installation ceremony, organized around teaching, research, public service and health care. “I wanted to make sure there would be something that reflected all aspects of our mission,” Sullivan says, “as well as activities in which every member of our community could see something for themselves.”
It’s in the spirit of how she has done business since coming to Charlottesville, says UVA Rector John O. Wynne. “Since her arrival, Terry has reached out to every University constituency—students, staff, faculty, alumni, parents, local leaders, and state and federal legislators—articulating her understanding of this place and her aspirations for it,” Wynne says.
The Friday afternoon installation ceremony on the Lawn began with an academic procession that included Board of Visitors members, College at Wise representatives, vice presidents, deans, faculty and students, delegates from nearly 100 colleges and universities, and UVA faculty members representing scholarly and governmental organizations.
With her left hand on a tattered family Bible dating from the 19th century, Sullivan took the oath of office and was inaugurated as the University’s eighth president.
“The revolution led by Jefferson and his collaborators was a political and military revolution,” Sullivan said in her inaugural address. “Our revolution is a knowledge revolution playing out in classrooms, laboratories and libraries around the world.”
They are worth comparing, she said, “because the stakes were so high then, and the stakes are so high now.”
On Sunday, Sullivan introduced the University community to one of her favorite pastimes: volksmarching (German for “peoples’ march”), a form of noncompetitive fitness walking. The UVA Inaugural Walk featured five- and 10-kilometer routes that traversed the Grounds.