President John T. Casteen III Peggy Harrison

John T. Casteen III came to the University of Virginia at the age of 17—the first member of his family to attend college. He would go on to earn three degrees in English from the University, become UVA’s dean of admission in 1975 and, in 1990, its seventh president. Now 65, Casteen announced in June that he will step down at the conclusion of his 20th year as president on Aug. 1, 2010.

“These years have been all but magical for my family and me,” Casteen said. “We have had the pleasure of living and working among students, staff members, faculty members, alumni, other backers of the University and the women and men of a community that we see as America’s best.”

His legacy will include his unwavering commitment to diversity, his aggressive agenda for achieving excellence, his fundraising acumen and his work to position the University as a leading national and global institution of higher education.

“John Casteen will be remembered as the person who understood Jefferson’s vision of this place and catapulted it into the 21st century,” says W. Heywood Fralin, former UVA rector. “He will leave an indelible mark and will be remembered as the father of our modern University.”