August 1, 2018
When my wife Katie and I first told our four kids about the opportunity I had to return to Charlottesville to lead the University of Virginia, they responded, perhaps unsurprisingly, by saying, “Wait, what?”
In some ways, I still share their disbelief that today is my first day as the 9th president of UVA – especially because today also happens to be the 200th anniversary of the Rockfish Gap meeting, where Charlottesville was decided as the location for UVA. But as an alumnus and former faculty member, I am honored and deeply grateful to serve and give back to a University and a community that have given so much to me and my family. I am equally grateful to Terry Sullivan for her leadership and for leaving the University in such a strong position for the future.
I start my tenure knowing that, while I was fortunate enough to call UVA and Charlottesville home for 15 years, I still have a lot to learn.
Since my appointment was announced last September, I have had conversations with students, faculty, staff, alumni, and members of the Charlottesville community about their hopes and aspirations for the future. And I plan to spend the next several months meeting and hearing from as many people as I can as we work to refine a vision for the next decade of UVA.
As part of that effort, I am interested in your answers to a few questions about the future of UVA, which are posted on a website that launches today, entitled “Ours to Shape.” Any vision for the University, in order to be compelling, has to be a shared vision. For that reason, I hope you will take some time to share your ideas and opinions on the website, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, using #OursToShape, or in person when you see me on Grounds.
I feel enormously privileged to be a part of this community. These are challenging and uncertain times for our University and our world. But I begin with a deep conviction that UVA is in a unique position to help meet those challenges and to be a force for good in the world for decades to come.
Thank you for all that you do for UVA. I am delighted to be back home, and I am looking forward to working with all of you to make our University the very best it can be in service of the common good.